April 19 - 25, 2015: Issue 210

  “Marvellous” win for Ginger at 2015 MC38 Australian Championship

 2015 MC38 Australian Champion Ginger - photo by Bob Fowler

 “Marvellous” win for Ginger at 2015 MC38 Australian Championship

12 APRIL 2015

Event: 2015 MC38 Australian Championship, April 10-12, 2015 at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club at Newport on Sydney’s northern beaches

For the second year running Leslie Green’s MC38 Ginger sliced and diced the one design pack contesting the class’ Australian Championship on Pittwater to the north of the Sydney CBD.

A follow up boat of the day performance of three wins and a second added to their progressive tally after yesterday’s points bonanza gave Ginger the national title by a margin of eight over Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan, representing the host Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. John Bacon’s Dark Star (RPAYC), a former national champion, finished third overall.

Accepting the championship trophy in front of his classmates Green repeated the words of the late great Richie Benaud in character: “‘It was marvellous’. I had a great time and I’ll be back again next year, God willing. Today was a special win because we were defending. Over the series we stuck to the fundamentals; it was ‘steady as she goes’” said a grinning Green. He speaks often of the harmony on board and reiterated this afternoon, “we are a very happy team, we have fun and that is part of the reason we win.” 

Practice is the other reason. The full race crew train every Monday night with the Cruising Yacht Club’s Monday twilight series.  “We train as if we are racing and it’s really helped us,” said tactician David Chapman.  He says the momentum shift came following a fifth in the last race on day one, Friday April 10, 2015, their only non-podium placing. “We had a really good debrief about what we needed to do from that point.” Today’s victory is the third consecutive national MC38 title for Chapman, two with Ginger and one with Voodoo Chile. 

Green thanked the RPAYC race committee for a great job in very trying conditions, and his boat manager John Flannery for Ginger’s thorough preparation. 

Adam Beashel, tactician on the runner up Hooligan said, “we came here to win and we set ourselves up on day one for it but Ginger found second gear in the last two days. Hats off to them, they gave us a lesson at times. We’ll go back and study a bit harder. Credit to our guys too, the crew is coming together and pulled us out of a few tricky situations.” 

John Bacon congratulated Leslie and his crew for a brilliant job. “We didn’t make it easy on ourselves getting a seventh this morning. Still, we had a great time,” the class President summed up. 

Weather-wise finals day threw plenty at the eight crews and the owner-drivers. As the breeze clocked left from south to sou’east then back to south Principal Race Officer Steve Merrington switched the race track left then right and back to left to accommodate.  Races eight and nine ran in balmy conditions and 6-8kt south to sou’easters and by the closing race 11, a cold 20kt plus southerly howling down Pittwater had the fleet on the edge and the spray flying. 

“Some of the time it was exhilarating, other times it was a bit dodgy and some of us were expecting the carbon on carbon crunch,” said Robin Crawford, skipper of Assassin, reflecting on his series. Daughter Clare who is doing the hard yards on the bow added, “it’s moderately depressing to come last in almost every race. Our aim was not to be last, and we did achieve that. We are a bunch of mates who go sailing. There’s a huge amount to learn,” she acknowledged.

MC38 Australian Championship 2015 final results

Series Results [OD] up to Race 11

Place Sail No            Boat Name                 Skipper                        From Sers Score Race 11 Race 10 Race 9 Race 8 Race 7 Race 6 Race 5 Race 4 Race 3 Race 2  Re 1

1 38011           GINGER                 Leslie Green           CYCA 23.0      2.0       1.0        1.0      1.0    3.0   1.0        1.0     3.0    5.0 3.0        2.0

2 AUS521           HOOLIGAN                 Marcus Blackmore RPAYC 31.0      3.0       3.0        3.0      3.0   4.0           3.0        3.0     5.0    1.0 2.0        1.0

3 38002           DARK STAR         John Bacon                 RPAYC 36.0      1.0       5.0        4.0      7.0   2.0           2.0        4.0     1.0    4.0 1.0        5.0

4 HI101           VINO                        Chris Hancock         MHYC 40.0      5.0       2.0        2.0      5.0   5.0           7.0        2.0     2.0    2.0 5.0        3.0

5 NZL80           MASERATI                Neville Crichton         RNZYS-CY 52.0    4.0       6.0        5.0     2.0   1.0           5.0        6.0     8.0    7.0 4.0        4.0

6 403                   GHOST RIDER        Ross Hennessy         RPAYC 64.0     7.0       4.0        7.0     4.0   7.0           6.0        8.0    4.0    3.0 6.0        8.0

7 AUS38883   KOKOMO                Lang Walker                 CYCA 70.0     6.0       7.0        8.0     6.0   6.0           4.0        7.0    6.0    6.0 7.0        7.0

8 AUS9999   ASSASSIN                Robin Crawford         CYCA 80.0     8.0       8.0        6.0     8.0   8.0           8.0        5.0    7.0    8.0 8.0        6.0


It was a relief for the PRO to finish a full series with a great breeze given yesterday’s drawn-out start and another testing delay in the middle of today’s four races. “I particularly enjoyed the fabulous starts …they were all on the line. The class offers fantastic close racing and they are thrilling to watch,” Merrington said.

Harken Australian and Lejen Marine sponsored the national title and ongoing supporters of the MC38 class, McConaghy Boats and RPAYC, contributed generously to its success.

The next event for the MC38 class is the Autumn Regatta on May 9-10, 2015 on Sydney Harbour, the second of a first-time five part season championship that wraps up in November.


By Lisa Ratcliff

 Second overall Hooligan - photo by Bob Fowler.

 Third overall Dark Star - photo by Bob Fowler.

 Day 2 change of course - photo by Bob Fowler

 Nothing Green about Ginger - 2015 MC38 Australian Championship

11 APRIL 2015

Event: 2015 MC38 Australian Championship, April 10-12, 2015 at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club at Newport on Sydney’s northern beaches

‘Beasho’s’ blinder turned into ‘Chappo’s’ champion effort to move Ginger into the lead by a single point on day two of the 2015 MC38 Australian Championship. 

Ginger’s owner Leslie Green, tactician David ‘Chappo’ Chapman and crew scored 3,1,1,3 in the 5-8 knot ENE wind on a new course between Portuguese Beach on the national park side of Pittwater and Stokes Point at Careel Bay on the peninsula side. The final third was a momentous fight back by Ginger, sailing for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, after two penalty turns were ordered by the on-water judges. 

At 26 Chapman is the youngest tactician among the one design fleet and skipper Leslie is the senior of the owner’s group.  They are also the defending MC38 Australian champions and in the back of ‘Chappo’s’ mind is a third Aussie title from four attempts. 

At the inaugural title Chapman was part of the winning Voodoo Chile crew, last year at Hamilton Island Ginger prevailed and on the eve of the 2015 series’ four remaining races Green’s team is one of tight-knit trio at the head of the progressive points table. 

“This team likes the light air,” Chapman said dockside at the RPAYC. “Though it was a tricky day we kept it simple, everyone stayed calm and did their job. We backed ourselves today more than yesterday when we probably played the fleet too much. It paid off. The racing is so mentally challenging, I’ve got a headache.”

Green joked that “maybe it’s a good thing for us to get penalties, it wires us up.  Really it’s about going the right way and not making mistakes and if you do then just get on with it, then it’s not hard to win. Doors open and doors close.”

John Bacon’s Dark Star, sailing for the host Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, won the championship two years ago. Given the training regime coming into the title was light on, tactician Cameron Miles says picking up a few shifts upwind today and a good team who get on well and keep it together during the setbacks accounts for their second overall, one point in front of Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan.

“We had a couple of poor starts but scrambled back….scrambling is our speciality!” said Miles. “We had our own issues, so did everyone else and that’s the beauty of these boats. If you minimise your errors you are likely to have a consistent day. I said to the boys ‘if we practised we’d be dangerous’. Now we just have to keep our momentum going.”

Miles’ magic and Chapman chipping away plus Hooligan’s own mixed results put yesterday’s standout back into third, on equal 19 points with Dark Star. Chris Hancock’s Vino was in their good company until an OCS in race six and a fifth in race seven knocked them back to 26 points and fourth overall.

John Bacon's Dark Star

Neville Crichton’s Maserati crew carries plenty of individual sailing clout but in this fleet they are hurting due to a lack of time on the water in a new class. Race four was a nightmare, first a spinnaker tore then they hooked a top mark on the last lap and began dragging it under the boat.

Still, they pulled off a bullet in the final race seven and tactician Michael Coxon reckons “it’s better to end on a good race than the other way around, you feel a lot better. We are suffering from lack of match practice, the smooth boats have put the time in and we need to do the same to catch up to them.”

Crews were held ashore for hours under a lengthy postponement that was eventually lifted after 1pm, more than two hours after the planned first race start.

Sydney’s closed waters forecast for tomorrow, Sunday April 12, 2015 is west to north-westerly 10 knots tending south-westerly 10 to 15 knots in the morning then tending southerly 15-20 knots in the middle of the day. The first of the final four races is now due to start at 1000hrs, an hour earlier than the original schedule.


By Lisa Ratcliff 

 Day 1 fleet - photo by McConaghy Boats

 Beasho's day one blinder - 2015 MC38 Australian Championship‏

10 APRIL 2015

Event: 2015 MC38 Australian Championship, April 10-12, 2015 at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club at Newport on Sydney’s northern beaches

Vitamin kingpin Marcus Blackmore is used to winning in business and yacht racing. Nine months as the owner of his latest yacht called Hooligan, a polished black MC38, and he’s in control of the class’ Australian Championship on Pittwater. 

Hooligan leads with four points and the next three, John Bacon’s Dark Star, Chris Hancock’s Vino and Leslie Green’s Ginger sit behind, all finishing the day on 10 points.

“Credit goes to Beasho without question, he had a blinder,” Blackmore praised, referring to his tactician Adam Beashel who grew up on Pittwater and went into professional sailing at the highest level, the America’s Cup as a key Emirates Team New Zealand crewman.

Hooligan scored 1,2,1 on a changing track north of Scotland Island. “We didn’t lead these races, we just plugged away and got back in the game,” Blackmore said. “It wasn’t easy to steer today. I never once looked at the wind angle; I was fixed on the boat’s heel angle all day. Beasho has changed how we sail downwind plus we have a consistent crew; there’s no question we are faster.” 

Beashel agreed he had a good feel for downwind performance today, “things fell into place,” he smiled wryly.  In this game and this fleet the difference between opening scores and final results can be eternity. And Beashel knows it. 

Up to twenty knots of SW breeze in the second race fizzled out and delayed the start of the third race by more than two hours. The race committee and the fleet of eight MC38 one designs went chasing the wind back and forth from Clareville across to Pittwater’s western shoreline around Morning Bay with the postponement flag flying. Principal Race Officer Steve Merrington went into one sequence then abandoned that start as the wind twisted around the southerly bearing.

Further down the coast Sydney Harbour was showing consistent breeze but frustratingly it didn’t make it to Pittwater until a dark line appeared promisingly out of the sou’east corner. The committee set up a short course in anticipation and went into sequence after 3pm with the sun dropping over Kur-ing-ai Chase National Park, a relieved PRO finally able to say to crews “let’s have a crack!” 

Skipper of the third placed Vino, Chris Hancock, said “we had a good day and we are very satisfied.  It wasn’t easy racing, a lot of concentration was required. If you got on the wrong side of the course it was pretty much game over. Hooligan did a fantastic job, they were very impressive. At this stage they have taken control but there’s still seven to go. Racing as always was very tight, one misjudgement and you are back in the field.” 

Tomorrow’s forecast, Saturday April 11, 2015 is south to south-westerly around 10 knots becoming south-easterly in the middle of the day then north-easterly later. Another four races are scheduled, the first due to start at 1100hrs in what’s likely to be the day’s best conditions. 

After racing host Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club welcomed crews and their families back to the clubhouse on a Sydney stunning autumn afternoon to enjoy a snag in bread with some dead horse [Aussie slang for tomato sauce] and a well-earned drink courtesy of regatta sponsor Harken Australia.


By Lisa Ratcliff 

 Chris Hancock's Vino - photo by McConaghy Boats.

 2015 MC38 Australian Championship - thanks to Harken Australia, McConaghy Boats North Sails and The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - photo by Bob Fowler

Reports by Lisa Ratcliff, Photos by  Bob Fowlers and McConaghy Boats, 2015