With only one race remaining in the 12-race series, octogenarian Leslie Green and his Ginger crew are on the verge of being crowned the MC38 Australian champions for 2014, following two windward/leeward races at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week today.
Winning Race 10, and finishing second in Race 11, has sealed the deal for CYCA member Green, who has an unassailable 11 point lead over John Bacon’s Dark Star from the RPAYC and 18 points over class newcomer, Marcus Blackmore (Hooligan) who has moved up into third place overall.
Second and third places are still for the taking, as the scores are close and the seven boats are moving from windward/leeward courses to an island race tomorrow, which could change up the board.
Ginger, runner-up at both Hamilton Island and the Australian Championship last year, does not need to sail in tomorrow’s final race, such is her lead, but her owner has elected to compete.
Green, an avid yachtsman in his eighties, was unavailable for comment this afternoon, but his tactician, David Chapman described the day. “It was blowing 12-15 knots and the sea was very lumpy in Race 10 – it was hard going and places changed a lot before we won.”
Ginger got the better of Dark Star by 40 seconds, with Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan (RPAYC) just six seconds behind in third place in that race.
“In the last race we didn’t get the best of starts, but we got back into the mix. At the last mark we gybed and over took three boats on the way to the finish line,” Chapman said.
Things clicked into place for class newcomer Blackmore today. After third place in Race 10, he decisively won Race 11 from Ginger, with Ross Hennessy’s Ghost Rider (RPAYC) third.
Back ashore, Blackmore said: “We should have won both races, but we hit the top mark in Race 10 and the penalty turn cost us time.”
The Northern Beaches yachtsman said a couple of things had made the difference to their performance. “Victor (friend Victor Kovalenko, who has coached Australian crews to multiple Olympic gold medals) said we should sail the boat like a skiff and to concentrate on our VMG (Velocity Made Good).
“Richie (Allanson, from North Sails who is sailing on Ginger) told me our sails needed more twist, so we tried a bit of that and the advice from Victor.”
Blackmore conceded they still had a way to go. “Today was quite windy; up to 20 knots and 10-12 knots, it varied a bit. I’ve always sailed better in heavier winds. I’m still not happy with our light air sailing.”
Macquarie Bank co-founder Robin Crawford struggled in the heavier conditions in Race 10, having to retrieve two people who fell overboard from his Assassin. The cost was seventh place, but the crew were uninjured.
Following Vino’s (Chris Hancock) request to re-open protest hearing No. 3 (Assassin versus Vino); Vino is reinstated in Race 6 in her original finishing position, while Assassin was scored DSQ in Race 6.
In Race 9 yesterday, Dark Star protested Vino. The latter accepted a mediation penalty which allowed Dark Star to withdraw her protest. Full findings are available on the official race website in the ‘Protest’ section.
Tomorrow’s short island race with a 10.25am start in Dent Passage will finalise the 12-race MC38 Australian Championship.
Full results for the MC38 Australian Championship will be available at: www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au/
Di Pearson, MC38 media