Final points from this weekend’s MC38 Open Regatta on Sydney Harbour will decide the first-ever MC38 Australian Season Championship victor, and the one point gap between first and second forebodes a fiery showdown.
Howard Spencer’s Menace, sailing for Auckland’s Royal Akarana Yacht Club, and John Bacon’s Dark Star representing the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Sydney’s northern beaches, went into last month’s MC38 Spring Regatta with the same margin. The pair finished behind Ginger when Leslie Green’s crew of current national champions pieced together an outstanding series on the fickle waterway that put them third on the points table, four points off the front-runners.
Based on a 1,3,1,2 scoresheet from the MC38 Summer Regatta back in February, the Autumn Regatta in May, Winter Regatta in June and Spring Regatta in October, Menace sits on the lowest score of four points, counting one drop. Dark Star recorded 2,1,2,3 to be on five points having discarded their lowest third place.
Double points from this weekend’s Open must be carried and season ties will be resolved in favour of the owner or charterer who finishes highest, making it the requisite event of the class’ inaugural Season Championship.
A solid 20 southerly change is due to hit Sydney Friday evening. The seven MC38s may catch the tail end of it on Saturday before it peters out during the afternoon and into Sunday when 8-9 knots of sou’east breeze is forecast for the final windward/leewards and harbour passage race.
Light air sailing usually adds weight to a tactician’s mental load though Dark Star’s Cameron Miles seems unfazed. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge. The other guys are sailing really well and we feel like the underdog. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve plus we’ve been working on a few manoeuvres,” Miles warns.
The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron on the foreshore at Kirribilli will host the scheduled seven race decider for confirmed starters Menace, Dark Star, Ginger (CYCA), Robin and Clare Crawford’s Assassin (CYCA), Ross Hennessy’s Ghost Rider (RPAYC), Chris Hancock’s Vino (MHYC) and Hooligan with RPAYC owner/skipper Marcus Blackmore back on the helm.
Owners have agreed that the 2016 MC38 Australian Season Championship series will be a three round event in the first half of the year and the 2016-17 series will begin the second half of 2016 and continue through summer into 2017. The 2016 MC38 National Championship is scheduled for February 5-7 on Lake Macquarie.
– Lisa Ratcliff