November 28 - December 4, 2021: Issue 520


Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship 2021

Bushranger and Nine Dragons heading to sea. Photo: Tilly McKnight Media

Victoire, Nine Dragons and Mille Sabords take SSORC top honours

November 28, 2021

Paul Jenkins and his Sydney 38 crew onboard Mille Sabords won their first ever regatta on a wild and wet Sydney weekend racing for the host club in the annual Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship that drew 55 mixed keelboats boats from various New South Wales clubs.

SSORC2021 Prem Div 2 winner Mille Sabords. Photo: Andrea Francolini

“Persistence in Saturday’s offshore race and a reasonable Sunday gave us our first regatta win after buying the boat in January,” a delighted Jenkins said. “The youngest in the crew is 50 – we keep saying where are the 25-year-olds who used to be us? – and everyone had three jobs today with only a broken winch handle to replace. We’ve been together as a team for a long time and did the 2019 Hobart race together – they are a great group of guys.”

After a punishing coastal passage race on Saturday in strong southerlies, the Middle Harbour Yacht Club crew of Mille Sabords fronted six-up for Premier Division 2’s three windward/leeward races on Sydney Harbour, the race management team adjusting the program prior to day two racing and electing to keep all fleets inshore, out of the nasty swell.

Bob Cox’s DK46 Nine Dragons saved the best for last, sneaking through the two RPAYC boats in Premier Division 1, Gerry Hatton’s Bushranger and Mark Griffith’s Old School Racing, on handicap in the final short course race of three to add another SSORC trophy to the Dragon’s impressive collection. 

SSORC2021 Nine Dragons Prem Div 1 victor. Photo: Andrea Francolini

Amazingly, it was the first time the boat had lined up after more than a year out undergoing extensive repairs from hitting South reef during a Short Ocean Pointscore race. “It’s pretty amazing we were able to come back so strong to take it by one point,” said the surprised skipper. “Special thanks to the crew who never gave up, in particular Billy Sykes and Will MacKenzie.”

Second in Premier Division 1 was Bushranger, the Mat 1245 from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and third on a countback to second was clubmate Mark Griffith’s DK46. “I’d say those two RPAYC boats are the best in the country on IRC; for the old girl [his boat] to comeback like this is incredible,” Cox added as the beer flowed down at The Spit where MHYC hosted the trophy presentation after racing.

Full SSORC results.

Darryl Hodgkinson’s Carkeek 40 Victoire (CYCA) narrowly wrapped up top honours in the Super 40 Spring Regatta series of four races that constituted one of the Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship pointscores – a countback with Indy Beck’s MC38 InfoTrack separating the top two teams. Full Super 40 results.

“It was an exciting weekend and it’s always great to race against the MC38 teams,” Hodgkinson said. “We love doing Middle Harbour regattas and we really enjoyed the racing. Earlier I thanked my wife, who loves gold things, for the new yellow A4 kite which made it very easy to spot us on the harbour on a dull and rainy weekend.”

Though there were some nervous moments, Hodgkinson managed to keep Victoire on its feet for Saturday’s Seven Islands Race and Sunday’s two inshore passage races. 

SSORC2021 Super 40 Spring Regatta 1st Victoire. Photo: Andrea Francolini

Conditions moderated on Sunday November 28, 15-25 knots out of the S-SE compared to Saturday’s rolling rain squalls, step seas and blasts of southerly wind which peaked around 35 knots offshore.

The SSORC is held in conjunction with a Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Ocean Pointscore race.

MHYC is grateful for the support of CYCA race management and thanks key SSORC sponsors Club MarineSail RacingRobert Oatley Wines and Short Marine for their generosity.

How to follow the SSORC:


Facebook: @MiddleHarbourYachtClub

Instagram: @middleharbouryachtclub

by Lisa Ratcliff

Bushranger holds up to brutal SSORC day one

November 27, 2021

Big seas and strong winds offshore for the Premier Divisions contesting Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s annual Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship put the stress test on crews over the 24 nautical mile course, described as “brutal” by the Division 1 winning tactician.

Michael Fountain from Gerry Hatton’s Mat 1245 Division 1 IRC, ORC and PHS corrected time winner, Bushranger, said: “brutal is the only way to describe it….very tough conditions with constant 27 knot southerlies gusting to 33 and seas 4 metres.”

Video highlights thanks to @Tillymcknightmedia

John McConaghy and Steve Coates helmed the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club boat, Coates hitting a record downwind boat speed of 20.2 knots with a poled-out number 4 headsail. Fountain added: “We got a good start at the right end of the line, and we were up there getting out of the harbour into clear air and weather the boat likes. It’s handy going into day two on top and in fact, we are better suited to windward/leewards.”

Second on IRC was Bob Cox’s DK46 Nine Dragons (MHYC) and third and the line honours victor, Seb Bohm’s JV TP52 Smuggler (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia) made the most of the heavy weather outing a month out from the Rolex Sydney Hobart start.

Philosopher in big seas at Sydney Heads. Photo: Tilly McKnight Media

In Division 2, Paul Jenkins MHYC-based Sydney 38 Mille Sabords captured the treble of top boat under the three handicap systems and Neil Padden’s Beneteau 40.7 Wailea had to be satisfied with second.

Conditions heading south to the waverider buoy off Kurnell proved too much for some – six withdrawals were recorded from a starting SSORC fleet of 16, due to low-level gear and sail damage. 

Super 40 Spring Regatta entrants completed the Seven Islands Race, Indy Beck’s MC38 InfoTrack gaining a 32 second edge over Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire on corrected time as those crews enjoyed calm waters laced with rolling showers and wildly shifting cool breeze west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Super 40 results.

Super 40 Seven Islands Race. Photo: Tilly McKnight Media

The fleet in the annual Seven Islands Trophy Race also headed up the Parramatta River to try their luck, pursuit handicap wins going to Rob Reynolds’ Exile, Tracey Richardson’s and Brendan Smid’s Artemis and Frank Milner’s Pinta Bay in the Jeanneau Cup division. Seven Islands Race results.

SSORC Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson said there was some rejigging of the weekend series program, given the strong wind warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, however all fleets completed their full course on Saturday. The tough conditions are associated with a high south of the continent pushing a southerly flow up the New South Wales coast. 

Winds are expected to moderate on Sunday November 28, 15-20 knots for the second and final day of the 44th edition of SSORC when the Super 40s take on two short passage races and the Premier fleet switches to short course racing either on the Manly or Macquarie Circles outside Sydney Heads.

The SSORC is held in conjunction with a Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Ocean Pointscore race.

MHYC is grateful for the support of CYCA race management and thanks key SSORC sponsors Club Marine, Sail Racing, Robert Oatley Wines and Short Marine for their generosity.

How to follow the SSORC:


Facebook: @MiddleHarbourYachtClub

Instagram: @middleharbouryachtclub

by Lisa Ratcliff

SSORC21 damp but happy crew. Photo: Tilly McKnight Media
SSORC21 grey Sydney Harbour on day 1. Photo: Tilly McKnight Media