Dark Starís triumph at MC38 Spring Regatta
08 October 2014
New Australian champion Leslie Green and his Ginger crew may have fired off the first two bullets at the MC38 Spring Regatta at Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron over the three days of the long weekend, but it was payback time, and John Bacon's Dark Star crew responded with two wins of their own and kept the pressure on to claim the winning trophy.
Then Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan (RPAYC) stole a march on Ginger (CYCA), winning the last two raced to finish second overall, one point adrift of Dark Star (RPAYC), with Ginger third overall four points behind Hooligan.
New president of the MC38 One-Design class, John Bacon was thrilled to climb out of his bridesmaid role (the most recent in the Australian Championship at Hamilton Island), and into the winner's circle.
"We had a really nice regatta - it's good to finally win - we've been training hard for a long time," Bacon said ashore this afternoon. "We wanted to peak at Hamilton Island, but we were second again there," he added.
"We had a couple of temporary crew this weekend, including Murray Gordon calling tactics in place of Cameron Miles and he did very well. We pretty much sailed a faultless regatta," said Bacon, who was pleased to see old faces mixing it with the newer ones of Marcus Blackmore and Lang Walker, who sailed his first event in the class with his latest Kokomo this weekend.
"There are some great amateurs and great professionals in this growing class, and I'm sure it will get even better from here as we are pushed by the likes of Marcus," said Bacon, who went on to thank the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and PRO, Rob Ridley for a great regatta.
Marcus Blackmore, at only his second regatta in the class, is already proving a threat and came close to whipping the winning trophy from under the nose of John Bacon and crew in the last two races of the regatta, a windward/leeward and a Passage race that took the fleet from Kirribilli to Manly and return in fresh conditions.
"We had a problem in Race 6 today; there was something wrong with the headsail lock and the headsail looked like a doona! I watched as three boats sailed through us - frustrating," Blackmore said, going on to congratulate John Bacon and crew.
"It was pretty exciting hooting down the Harbour at 16 knots in the last race. The guys called out ‘gust', I asked them where it was, because the boat was going as fast as the wind," he said.
"The on-water umpiring worked very well too," said Blackmore, adding "It's a great class, it's run by the boat owners who make all the decisions, so it works. We made the decision as a group not to race on Sunday in the fickle conditions, so we weren't stuck sitting around all day wasting time."
Leslie Green took Ginger's slide from first place into third resignedly: "We had a few wins and we had a few losses - it was democratic," he said smiling. "I'm not a religious person, but what the good Lord give, he also taketh away," said Green, who explained dropping their spinnaker in the drink Race 7 meant a costly dead last in that race.
The Spring Regatta was not without it dramas. In the final race today, Vino's owner, Chris Hancock, lost the top tip of a finger while going through a tack in the freshening wind. He was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital where he will spend the night.
Vino crew member Josh Whittaker told how Hancock, the Robert Oatley Vineyards Deputy Executive Chairman, was more concerned about not finishing the series than he was about his finger.
"We had the boat going really well today and were fighting for third place overall. Chris was much more upset about pulling out than he was about his finger. He could hardly believe it could mean an overnight stay in hospital," Whittaker said.
Yesterday, Day 2 of the event, all attempts at racing were abandoned as fickle conditions and glass outs kept the fleet ashore, resulting in the regatta being shortened from an intended 11 races to eight. Racing consisted of three windward/leewards and a Passage race on Saturday and the same on Monday.
On Saturday the six boats enjoyed a light to moderate sea breeze that peaked at 13 knots. Today was a different kettle of fish, with a light 7 knots quickly increasing to 16-20 knots from the north/north-east.
Property Developer Lang Walker had a first hit-out in the class with his brand new Kokomo, launched just prior to the event start on Saturday. Coming from the Farr 40 one-design class, Walker is no novice, but his new MC38 is a different beast.
Walker was not well today, so was replaced by Geoff Bonus on the helm of Kokomo, with Australia's only double Olympic gold medallist, Malcolm Page, calling tactics.
Bonus was effusive in his praise of the boat. "I leapt at the chance - the boat is extraordinary - it's great to sail. In the last race on the last leg there were only a handful of boat lengths between Hooligan, Dark Star and Kokomo My wife is going to buy me an MC38 for Christmas. Do you think it will fit in a Christmas stocking?"
The next class regatta will be held at Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater on 29-30 November and will be sponsored by Blackmores.