February 15 - 21, 2015: Issue 202

 Hornets swarm Pittwater

 Mark action off Scotland Island, Vino, Hooligan & Dark Star - photo by Ellen Pragnell-Rasch.

 Hornets swarm Pittwater

14 FEBRUARY 2015

Event: 2015 MC38 Australian Season Championship & first event, the MC38 Summer Pittwater Regatta, February 14-15, 2015 at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club at Newport, Sydney

Boats boats everywhere. Saturday afternoon on Pittwater and weaving through the MC38 Spring Pittwater Regatta race track to the north of Scotland Island are classic Couta boats, Etchells, and a fleet of keelboats contesting a Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club inshore race. 

One inshore race skipper who had to clear a path through the amped-up one design fleet in order to make a mark of his course later described the MC38s whizzing past as “like hornets buzzing around”.

Sharing the compressed area of water made it an exciting debut for first time MC38 helmsman Anthony Bell on Kokomo and just added another layer of enjoyment to the boat of the day, Howard Spencer’s Menace sailing for New Zealand and in first place tonight by six points to Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan. 

Spencer’s big name tactician Ray Davies, part of the Emirates Team New Zealand sailing team, said “it’s my second time racing on Pittwater; I really enjoy it. A lot of the guys call it a name similar to Pittwater starting with an ‘s’, but I’m well happy with it and how we went. It’s very shifty, very difficult; I really enjoy that side of sailing.”

Back at the RPAYC Davies publicly thanked his ETZ teammate Adam Beashel, who coached the Menace crew on the waterway’s vagaries. “Adam was our coach the last time we were at Pittwater. He really helped us out with some local knowledge; I have to thank him for that.” Cheeky fella that Ray.

As Hooligan’s tactician, Beashel finished second on the progressive pointscore to Davies. “About this time last year I gave Ray a lot of knowledge on this place. Now I’m regretting it,” Beashel smiled, playing along with the joke.

Menace powered up downwind - photo by Ellen Pragnell-Rasch

Hooligan (RPAYC) opened poorly with a sixth in race one then did an about-face in the next three to finish the day second to Menace and ahead of the last regatta winner, John Bacon’s Dark Star (RPAYC) in third. “We definitely improved each race. Our aim is to consolidate from the last regatta, there’s still lots to be learnt,” says Beashel. “They are a great class. I’m trying to get the fleet up to Lake Macquarie where I live these days. They are well suited to lake sailing and a more open race track, where you can really send them.”

Three windward/leewards and one passage race in puffy north easterly sea breezes 10-15 knots kept the eight boat fleet hard at it. Ross Hennessy’s Ghost Rider sized up with Menace in the opening two rounds before their early momentum petered out. Ginger struggled with a mast track problem, Leslie Green and his crew claiming points in only half of today’s races to be last on the grid. Tonight they set up a temporary repair that is good enough to get them back out racing tomorrow.

On the level of the Sydney based MC38 fleet, with another year gone, Davies points out, “it’s early days. It’s the start of the season when people are ropey with their crew work. Everyone will start to get their rhythm going.”

Menace’s acceleration on the upwind work is without doubt a mark of difference. Of course so is having one of the world’s most talented tacticians onboard. A new set of Doyle sails is doing the trick for the tightly knit Kiwi crew who like to poke fun at each other, but any cashed up owner can shout themselves a new sail wardrobe. 

One of the primary deviations for this particular MC38 is the mast set up, Davies shares.  “Our mast is a lot more upright. We are definitely on our own there, but we feel our speed is really good upwind. I wouldn’t be surprised if the other boats started experimenting.” 

The forecast for day two is a repeat of today, Saturday February 14, 2015, 10-15 knots out of the north east for the three remaining races to constitute a full series. Racing commences at midday.

The Pittwater regatta is the start of a new five-part circuit for the MC38s called the 2015 Australian Season Championship. At its conclusion a half model donated by McConaghy Boats that is mounted on a plaque and painted in white with a single black stripe will be presented to the winner as a giveaway, the idea being that the hull is painted to match the winning boat’s livery.

MC38 Summer Pittwater Regatta 2015

Updated:  14/02/2015 4:06:31 PM

Series Results [OD] up to Race 4

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

1 NZL38014 MENACE          Howard Spencer          RAYC 6.0                 1.0         2.0         2.0          1.0

2 AUS521         HOOLIGAN          Marcus Blackmore  RPAYC 12.0                 2.0         1.0         3.0           6.0

3 AUS38002 DARK STAR          John Bacon                  RPAYC 15.0                 3.0         3.0         4.0           5.0

4 403                 GHOST RIDER  Ross Hennessy          RPAYC 16.0                 7.0         6.0         1.0           2.0

5 HI101         VINO                  Christopher Hancock  MHYC 19.0                 4.0         5.0          6.0           4.0

6 AUS38883 KOKOMO          Anthony Bell                  CYCA 25.0                 6.0         7.0          5.0           7.0

7 AUS9999 ASSASSIN          Clare Crawford          CYCA 26.0                 8.0         8.0          7.0           3.0

8 38011         GINGER                  Leslie Green                  CYCA 27.0                 5.0         4.0          9.0S   9.0F


Follow the MC38s via Facebook www.facebook.com/MC38Class  

Report by Lisa Ratcliff

Photos by Ellen Pragnell-Rasch

 l-r Kokomo, Hooligan & Vino - photo by Ellen Pragnell-Rasch.

 Ghost Rider upwind - photo by Ellen Pragnell-Rasch.

 Ray Davies (looking at camera) on Menace- photo by Ellen Pragnell-Rasch

 Menacing on and off the water

 Summer regatta winner Menace - photo by Bob Fowler.

 Menacing on and off the water

15 FEBRUARY 2015

Event: 2015 MC38 Australian Season Championship & first event, the MC38 Summer Pittwater Regatta, February 14-15, 2015 at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club at Newport, Sydney 

Howard Spencer’s Menace sailing for the Royal Akarana Yacht Club in Auckland opened its 2015 MC38 Australian Season Championship with a decisive 10 point break at the Summer Pittwater Regatta that wrapped up today, Sunday February 15, 2015.

Victory was always the intention and the owner is delighted said boat captain Chris Reid this afternoon as those not on a flight back to New Zealand tonight packed up Menace for delivery back to Woolwich Dock. Sydney Harbour. “It’s a nice little jump to start with. We were expecting it to be a tightly fought battle, this fleet is packed full of great sailors. 

“We have a very good group on Menace. When you get into situations it’s not a big deal; there’s no yelling…it’s a happy boat.” As the Australian fleet lay idle over Christmas, Menace campaigned the Auckland summer. Time on the water combined with the talent and tactical nous of Ray Davies from Emirates Team New Zealand and other world class sailors delivered fat gains to the foreign entry. 

Second by 10 points was John Bacon’s local Dark Star, a win and a second bringing them up from yesterday’s third overall on progressive points, and the final placegetter in the seven-race series was Royal Prince Alfred clubmate Hooligan, skippered by Marcus Blackmore. 

A full U turn for Leslie Green’s Ginger (CYCA) started with them in a wretched place yesterday, forced to send the rigger on board aloft to make temporary repairs on a mast track problem that cost two full race scores, and boat of the day today, owing to a win and two seconds. 

On their stunning comeback Ginger’s tactician David Chapman said, “it was great the boys re-grouped. Will Parker from Sydney Rigging did a terrific job to get us racing again yesterday. We would have liked a top three finish overall but that wasn’t realistic after what happened with the mast track. We are happy with fifth.

“Menace is a bit crisper than us. It’s time on the water and they’ve had a full summer racing in Auckland. They menaced us on and off the water,” Chapman added, hinting at the team’s customary après racing bonding sessions, one of the key reasons the Menace crew perform so well when the gun goes, according to Davies. 

Ginger is the reigning Australian class champion and last season’s stand out MC38. If only the championship series concept began a year sooner rues Chapman. “We had a great year last year; hopefully we can come back and replicate that. You never know how much time you have at the top of this fleet.” 

Prominent offshore yachtsman Gordon Maguire’s first try out of an MC38 came as tactician of Chris Hancock’s Vino (MHYC) which finished fourth on the table. Maguire has oodles of cred, but on this tickled-up one design there’s a lengthy breaking in period to get the high-strung beast to cooperate. “Gordon did a really really good job; he also had to start to learn the boat while we were racing,” said Hancock.

On where the Vino program is at this point in time Hancock sums up, “we are on an improvement cycle. We have several new crew and new sails so we have to re-learn. These boats are stimulating to sail, it’s not hard to get good crew. The more top sailors who race on them and the more positive things they say, the more chance the class has to grow.” 

Hancock reckons one of the best additions to the current regatta format is having international umpire Richard Slater in charge of the on-water umpiring. “It’s changed the attitude of the owners towards racing, and each other, in a totally positive way. Instead of spending two hours in the jury room at the end of the day, it’s a whistle then one turn on the water, which is a significant penalty in these boats.” 

Principal Race Officer Steve Merrington and his team hosted another superb series for the eight boat fleet over two days in tricky nor’easterly sea breezes up to 17 knots yesterday and lighter today, up to 10 knots and fluky.

They’ll be back out next weekend for the Sydney Yachts Pittwater Regatta incorporating the Sydney 38 Australian Championship starting Friday, February 20th. “It’s great to see so much one design racing back on Pittwater being run by the RPAYC. Next weekend will be even bigger with 20 Sydney yachts entered,” Merrington promises. 

A decision will be made shortly on whether the MC38s are to be listed on Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Sydney Harbour Regatta program next month. If not then the standalone Australian title on Pittwater over the weekend of April 10-12 will be the class’ next gathering. 

MC38 Summer Pittwater Regatta 2015 final scores

Series Results [OD] up to Race 7

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

1 NZL38014         MENACE            Howard Spencer RAYC 14.0           4.0         1.0         3.0         1.0          2.0         2.0         1.0

2 AUS38002         DARK STAR    John Bacon         RPAYC 24.0           1.0         6.0         2.0         3.0          3.0         4.0         5.0

3 AUS521         HOOLIGAN    Marcus Blackmore RPAYC 27.0           7.0         4.0         4.0         2.0          1.0         3.0         6.0

4 HI101         VINO                    Christopher Hancock MHYC 30.0           3.0         3.0         5.0         4.0          5.0         6.0         4.0

5 38011         GINGER            Leslie Green         CYCA 32.0           2.0         2.0        1.0         5.0          4.0         9.0S         9.0F

6 403                 GHOST RIDER     Ross Hennessy RPAYC 35.0           5.0         7.0        7.0         7.0          6.0         1.0         2.0

7 AUS38883         KOKOMO            Anthony Bell         CYCA 42.0           6.0         5.0        6.0         6.0          7.0         5.0         7.0

8 AUS9999         ASSASSIN    Clare Crawford CYCA 50.0           8.0         8.0        8.0         8.0          8.0         7.0         3.0

Follow the MC38s via Facebook www.facebook.com/MC38Class

Report by Lisa Ratcliff

Photos by Bob Fowler

Start off Scotland Island - photo by Bob Fowler

 Ginger boat of the day  Day Two - photo by Bob Fowler.