February 7 - 13, 2016: Issue 250

MC38 Australian Championship Hosted by Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club 

2016 MC38 Australian Championship 

Hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater, February 5-7, 2016

The 2016 MC38 Australian Championship began on Friday February 5 and runs for three days, offering northern Scotland Island and Clareville waterfront residents, plus those out boating on the weekend a unique spectating opportunity. 

Racing begins daily from midday and up to four races are scheduled for Friday and Saturday and three on Sunday. David Tallis is the series’ principal umpire.

Harken is supporting the MC38 class once again, as sponsor of the final presentation BBQ on Sunday afternoon at RPAYC. North Sails at Mona Vale is ‘boat of the day’ sponsor, Lejen Marine is contributing an umpire RIB and McConaghy Boats at Mona Vale is hosting crew drinks after racing on Friday and Saturday. McConaghy Boats’ managing director Jono Morris will present the championship’s perpetual trophy his business donated when the national title was first founded back in 2012.

See Straight back to work for MC38 class as national title looms by Lisa Ratcliff -  MC38 class: Australian Championship hosted by the RPAYC for the 2016 MC38 Australian Season Championship regatta dates 

 2016 Australian Champion Ginger - photo by Bob Fowler

 Ginger’s MC38 Australian Championship trifecta

7 February 2016 

Event: 2016 MC38 Australian Championship hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater, February 5-7, 2016

The comeback king and kid climbed back from an almost insurmountable five point deficit yesterday to deliver Ginger a trifecta of Australian Championship titles, decided on the finish order in the last race. 

Leslie Green, Ginger’s owner/driver, is this evening the king of the comebacks and, once again the MC38 class. His young tactician David Chapman is the kid who helped engineer a remarkable fightback thanks to today’s two wins. The rest was decided by how the cards fell in a patchy race 10.

In front of a chasing spectator fleet on Pittwater, Ginger, Howard Spencer’s Menace and John Bacon’s Dark Star wrapped up their title pointscore first, second and third overall respectively, each on 31 points, the epitome of one design racing. 

Menace’s win and Dark Star surrendering its commanding fleet lead chasing a vaporising breeze, then finishing behind Ginger in sixth place completely rearranged the top order.  Ginger went from second to first, Menace went from fourth to second and cruelly Dark Star went from being on the verge of a second national title to third. 

“I’ve got the most fabulous crew,” Green told the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club crowd and MC38 crews, enjoying Harken’s end of regatta feast, having accepted McConaghy’s perpetual Australian Championship trophy. “This is our third time and I have a debt of gratitude to all the boys on our boat. 

“Former PM Paul Keating once said ‘this was the sweetest victory of all’, for me this was the sweetest. Now we’ve won it three times in a row I don’t think it’s unreasonable that we keep the trophy,” he put to the room. 

Like Ginger’s crewman with the broken finger from an on board accident in Friday’s heavy air, Chapman said he felt “mentally fractured” by their comeback. “We tried to stay in phase as much as we could; sometimes we were behind the eight ball. The great thing about asymmetric boats is when you are back in the train you decide when to go, you pick your moment.”

From five MC38 Australian Championships, Chapman has been on four winners, beating Ginger from on board Voodoo Chile four years ago. “We shanghaied him after that,” joked a proud Green. 

Second overall Australian champion Menace (NZL) scratched out a mixed series, tactician Will Tiller suggesting, “We sailed like a pack of dogs from race 2; it was unbelievable we were in with a chance to win, nothing went our way. We practiced our tacks between race 9 and 10 and found that extra 10%. It was great to see Leslie get it again, he’s a very popular winner.” 

The crowd momentum was with Dark Star in race 10, and then they watched the fleet slowly close the gap and Bacon and his crew split off from the fleet to follow Menace. It turned out Menace carried a private breeze with them to the finish, leaving Dark Star out wide and alone. 

“We had to beat Ginger and it couldn’t have gone worse for us,” Bacon recounted. “We followed Menace but didn’t get the puff he got. That’s the way it goes, that’s Pittwater in light air. We had opportunities all weekend, one better result in one race and we could have won. We are still wrapped to be up there on equal points with the winner.”

To his tactician Cam Miles and his RPAYC crew, the Australian MC38 class president paid tribute.

Fourth by two points was Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan (RPAYC).

On a tricky final day, Sunday February 7, 2016, PRO Steve Merrington and his team managed to run four races in 6-10 knot swinging east to sou’east winds with plenty of course adjustments and even more holes on the track to fall into. “It was a race officer’s nightmare,” he offered. “We managed to run all but one of the scheduled races over three days and we watched superb racing. There wouldn’t be a fleet that can pull a spectator flotilla like the MC38s and the RPAYC is delighted to host the class again,” Merrington commented, scanning the packed clubhouse.

Next stop for the MC38s is Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Sydney Harbour Regatta, March 5-6, where the fleet will race in its own division, then in April the class begins a three-part season championship pointscore.

Results - MC38 Australian Championship 2016

Series Results [One Design ET] up to Race 10

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

1 1.0S 38011 GINGER         Leslie Green       31.0        5.0      1.0   1.0        4.0    7.0          5.0     2.0 1.0     3.0 2.0

2 2.0S NZL38014 MENACE         Howard Spencer      31.0        1.0      6.0   4.0         5.0    3.0          2.0     4.0 3.0     2.0 1.0

3   AUS38002 DARK STAR John Bacon       31.0        6.0      3.0   3.0         3.0    1.0          4.0     1.0 2.0      4.0 4.0

4   AUS521 HOOLIGAN Marcus Blackmore   33.0        3.0      2.0   5.0         1.0    5.0          6.0     3.0 4.0      1.0 3.0

5   403         GHOST RIDER Ross Hennessy       49.0        7.0      5.0   2.0         6.0    4.0          3.0     6.0 5.0       6.0  5.0

6   HI101 VINO                 Chris Hancock       51.0        2.0     4.0   6.0         7.0    6.0          1.0     5.0 7.0      7.0  6.0

7   AUS9999 ASSASSIN Clare Crawford       56.0        4.0     8.0F   7.0         2.0    2.0          7.0     7.0 6.0      5.0  8.0F

Adventures of a Sailor Girl Video Link


Lisa Ratcliff

Australian MC38 Association media

 Menace & Dark Star final day web - photo by Bob Fowler

 Hooligan & Menace (background) - photo by Bob Fowler

 The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - RPAYC race management team running the MC38 racing & other fleets on Pittwater, photo by Saltwater Images

  MC38 Australian Championships 2016 - Day 2 - The Fleet downwind - photo by Saltwater Images

 MC38 Australian Championship super tight at the top

6 February 2016

Event: 2016 MC38 Australian Championship hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater, February 5-7, 2016

Six races into the MC38 class’ 2016 Australian Championship the pointscore is tighter than a tenor’s trousers. 

Howard Spencer’s Menace (NZL) leads John Bacon’s Dark Star (RPAYC) by one point four races shy of the series’ conclusion tomorrow, Sunday February 6, 2016, and the top Aussie tactician grants it would be “extremely annoying” if the Kiwi team were to add their name to the perpetual trophy. 

So far the national title has, rightly, been won by nationals; Dark Star, Voodoo Chile, and Ginger, twice. Last year’s Australian Season Champion Menace was always going to be tough to keep out, now they have a fight on their hands. 

“We are up there again with Howard,” nodded Dark Star’s tactician Cameron Miles adding, “and yes it would be extremely annoying if they were to become Australian champions. We are going to try and not let that happen.” 

Dark Star’s crew turned an average day one yesterday into a ‘boat of the day’ deserving performance. “We had to start really well and make sure we were in touch at the top, and we did that three out of four races and that’s kept us in the game,” Miles said. “We know we are quick enough to win with the new sail program, we are sailing upwind quicker and higher. We’ve also changed the way we tack the boat and that’s working well, we’ve just got some spinnaker hoist and drop work to do. Tomorrow should be good fun; it’s very tight at the top.”

After a poor final race that began with a daring fly-by the committee boat just a smidge too early, two-time defending champion Ginger faces a seemingly insurmountable five point gap to the lead boat.

“Five points….we are still in it,” said Ginger’s optimistic tactician David Chapman. “We know what we are good and bad at, we’ve got to come out and get four bullets tomorrow and hope other things go our way. Tomorrow should be lighter, we like the light air. A couple of other boats had a really good day and that’s great for them.”

Playing the Pittwater shifts and solid crew-work delivered race victories to Chris Hancock’s Vino, Leslie Green’s Ginger and the double to Dark Star on a lighter second day. Sou’easters averaging 8-12 knots and flatwater on the racetrack between Morning Bay and the eastern side of Scotland Island provided terrific conditions with none of yesterday’s spoilers.

Hancock’s settling a new crew in and says after being out of phase yesterday, today they found their mojo. “We haven’t been on the boat since the last regatta and we have a lot of new crew including a new tactician, Murray Gordon. It’s a matter of getting everyone settled down. We are doing well enough to feel comfortable and confident and over the next few regattas we’ll press them. The fleet is so competitive now, you get on the wrong tack and it’s pretty much game over in this company.”

He thought the race management team led by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s Principal Race Office Steve Merrington did an outstanding job running successive starts using the same line for the MC38s then Etchells and lastly the sports boats. “It all worked out well with the other fleets, Steve did a really good job of marshalling and the whole thing was very well governed.”

Race 5 kept the umpiring team of David Tallis and Richard Slater busy blowing whistles and pointing flags at the infringers. A dramatic top gate hook up between Hooligan’s protruding bowsprit and Ginger’s stern looked worse than it was with only some paint scraped off Ginger after the two crews separated the boats. As Hancock pointed out back at the dock, it’s the on-water umpiring that’s helped build the class’ strong camaraderie.

Tomorrow’s forecast for Sydney closed waters is south to sou’east 10 knots. To make up for the shortened opening day, four races are planned with the first due to start at 1100hrs in the same vicinity. Harken Australia is hosting a crew BBQ at RPAYC after racing, part of the final trophy presentation where McConaghy Boats managing director will present the perpetual trophy to the new New Zealand or Australian Australian champion MC38.

North Sails boat of the day went to Dark Star thanks to two bullets.

Results MC38 Australian Championship 2016

Series Results [One Design ET] up to Race 6

Place Ties Sail No Boat Name          Skipper                   Sers Score Race 6 Race 5 Race 4 Race 3 Race 2 Race 1

1   NZL38014 MENACE          Howard Spencer         15.0           3.0           2.0           4.0           3.0          2.0           1.0

2   AUS38002 DARK STAR         John Bacon                  16.0   1.0           4.0          1.0           2.0          4.0           4.0

3   38011         GINGER                 Leslie Green                  20.0    7.0   5.0           2.0           1.0          3.0           2.0

4   AUS521         HOOLIGAN         Marcus Blackmore  22.0    5.0   6.0           3.0           4.0          1.0           3.0

5   403                 GHOST RIDER Ross Hennessy          29.0    4.0   3.0           6.0           5.0          6.0           5.0

6   HI101         VINO                 Chris Hancock          32.0    6.0   1.0           5.0            7.0  7.0           6.0

7   AUS9999 ASSASSIN         Clare Crawford          35.0     2.0     7.0    7.0     6.0   5.0           8.0F


Adventures of a Sailor Girl Video Link


By Lisa Ratcliff

Australian MC38 Association media

  MC38 Australian Championships 2016 - Clare Crawford's Assassin - photo by Saltwater Images

 MC38 Australian Championship day one on the edge 

5 February 2016

Event: 2016 MC38 Australian Championship hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater, February 5-7, 2016

The MC38 owner/driver who best hung onto the tiller and the crew that kept the boat on its feet in the screaming downwind rides survived and outshone the fleet on an action-packed day one of the class’ Australian Championship. 

During the first upwind work following the 1230hrs start of race one, Assassin crewman Tom Brewer lost the tip of his pinkie finger in an accident and was immediately taken off the boat by RIB to a waiting ambulance. 

In race two a cruising boat found itself dangerously mixed in with the tightly-packed fleet at the top gate, with nowhere to go but with them around the mark. The small crew on board surely learnt a few new choice words.

While trying to avoid a collision amid the chaos, Chris Hancock’s Vino clipped the gate mark which then wrapped around their keel. In the same race Ginger’s crewman Peter Bourke suffered a broken finger and was taken ashore once the boat crossed the finish line. 

At that point a postponement was called and the fleet sheltered in Morning Bay from the winds, 20-25 knots out of the sou’east gusting up to 27 and whitecaps right across Pittwater, waiting to see if the breeze would abate. Consistently high live readings at Sydney Airport to the south and the day’s dramas were prudent reasons for Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club PRO Steve Merrington to call it a day. 

New Zealand MC38 Menace (Royal Akarana Yacht Club) was boat of the day, tactician Will Tiller and skipper Howard Spencer’s team turning an OCS (On Course Side = breaking the start) in race one into an epic comeback and win. Tiller’s on the crew list in place of regular Ray Davies who had work commitments this weekend.

“We had good pace in that race, it came down to the boat-handling at that top end of the wind range,” Tiller said. “Howard did a nice job on the first down-winder and kept the boat upright to make us some big gains. We got the split at the bottom gate and used our wheels from there. I have no idea of our top speed today, we were too flat out. They are busy boats!”

Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan (RPAYC) scored the race two bullet, their first since the class’ national title last April on Pittwater. Tactician Adam Beashel reckoned the day was won and lost on the downwind runs. “It was whoever who kept their boat on its feet, and we managed to do that.  We wouldn’t have had the top speed but we stayed upright and moving in the right direction. It was a tricky day.”

Blackmore was delighted with Hooligan’s opening scores of third and first, and though he and the crew were on form and keen to continue after two races, they supported the PRO’s decision. “Once it gets to consistent 25 knots you are hanging on the edge, and a couple of people hurt isn’t good,” Blackmore said.

Today was a poignant reminder of a lesson super-coach Mike Fletcher once shared with him.  “I remember years ago Mike telling me ‘when you race one design and all the boats are the same and one boat finishes so far in front of the others, in the end it’s he who makes the least mistakes wins’. We made mistakes today and I bet the guys who finished in front of us made less. It was a good day for the class,” Blackmore added.

Hooligan is second overall to Menace by a point and a point off them is Leslie Green’s Ginger (CYCA), trying to piece together a trifecta championship win and tonight interviewing for a replacement to fill Bourke’s spot.

Clare Crawford and her Assassin team had repairs to make this afternoon, and they weren’t the only ones. Multiple bowmen were hoisted up MC38 masts at the RPAYC after racing, sorting out halyard issues.

Crawford’s first concern back on dry land was for Brewer, then reviewing the damage. “We had a few things go wrong, a lot of things are broken including the tiller,” Crawford said. “Despite what happened in the first race it was the first time this team has sailed together and actually we came out alright.” Not one to back away from a white-knuckle ride, she added: “I do like it when it’s fast, but maybe not that fast.”

The forecast for day two, Saturday February 6, is south-easterly winds 15-20 knots decreasing and Sunday is looking light, south to sou’east 10 knots. The usual Pittwater weekend traffic will be out tomorrow adding plenty more spice to the mix. Racing will start at 1100hrs rather than midday to capitalise on the breeze.

North Sails boat of the day went to Menace.

Adventures of a Sailor Girl Video Link

Results  MC38 Australian Championship 2016

Series Results [One Design ET] up to Race 2

Place Ties     Sail No      Boat Name     Skipper                      Sers Score Race 2 Race 1

1               NZL38014      MENACE             Howard Spencer         3.0                    2.0 1.0

2               AUS521      HOOLIGAN     Marcus Blackmore         4.0                   1.0          3.0

3               38011              GINGER             Leslie Green                 5.0                    3.0  2.0

4               AUS38002      DARK STAR     John Bacon                 8.0                    4.0  4.0

5               403              GHOST RIDER     Ross Hennessy               11.0                    6.0  5.0

6         5.0S   AUS9999      ASSASSIN     Clare Crawford                13.0                    5.0  8.0F

7              HI101              VINO                     Chris Hancock                13.0                    7.0  6.0



By Lisa Ratcliff

Australian MC38 Association media

 MC38 Australian Championships 2016 - John Bacon's Dark Star - photo by Saltwater Images

   MC38 Australian Championships 2016 - Ghost Rider - photo by Saltwater Images

                                 MC38 Australian Championships 2016  Leslie Green's Ginger - photo by Adventures of a Sailor Girl

Reports and Video by Lisa Ratcliff - Photos © Saltwater Images,  Bob Fowler and Adventures of a Sailor Girl, 2016.