Victoire, the overall winner of the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, will begin her final tune-up for this year’s 70th edition with a sprint race tomorrow, contesting the historic Morna Cup off Sydney Heads.
The Morna Cup is the second of three short ocean races conducted each season by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and has attracted more than 40 entries for tomorrow’s event.
The race is also part of the Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore and has drawn boats contesting this series as well as a strong line-up of RSYS Division 1 boats.
While the 20-30 nautical mile race is very short compared with the 628 nautical mile Sydney Hobart, skippers and crews enjoy the fast sail handling and close racing tactics of the Morna Cup as they tune-up for the blue water classic.
Victoire’s owner/skipper Darryl Hodgkinson is anxious to get in as much sailing after being forced to retire with a broken steering cable from last weekend’s CYCA Ocean Pointscore Port Hacking Race.
Until them Victoire has been concentrating on the Blue Water Pointscore with the boat in third place in standings after four races this season, including a second in the Newcastle Bass Island Race.
Saturday’s Morna Cup has drawn an impressive fleet, including a number of other Rolex Sydney Hobart Race entrants as well as Victoire. Division 1 has attracted 24 boats specifically entered for the Morna Cup and 18 in Division 2 which is competing for the G.Carter Trophy.
In addition to Victoire, there are eight other Sydney Hobart entrants in the Morna Cup fleet, including Ariel (Ron Forster), Balance (Paul Clitheroe), Imagination (Robin Hawthorn) and Pazzaz (Rob Drury).
In addition to the season entrants in the Grant Thornton SOPS, the Morna Cup fleet includes an increasing number of boats from the Squadron’s Division 1 fleet which normally race within Sydney Harbour.
These include the winner of first of the Squadron’s offshore races this season, Rod Pearse’s Ultreya and top harbour racers Hell Razor (Ian MacDiarmid), John and Michael Stephens’s Much Ado V and Philip Grove’s Huntress.
– Peter Campbell