MHYC Short Ocean Racing Championship
28 & 29 November, 2009
By louise Bashford
Entries for the 32nd edition of Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Sydney Short Ocean Pointscore Championship (SSORC) have closed with another significant show of support for the two-race passage series and a quality line up of Rolex Sydney Hobart IRC contenders looking to sharpen their crew work.
The crew of Stephen Ainsworth’s in-form Reichel Pugh 63, Loki, has their own clear-cut reason for coming to the start line – to try and win what international yachtsman and sailing master Gordon Maguire considers one of Sydney’s three major inshore regattas.
“All our racing so far this season has been offshore. This is an opportunity to work with our full Rolex Sydney Hobart crew on our inshore program. It’s an integral part of the season and we take it very seriously. We don’t treat it as a training regatta, we are turning up to try and win.”
Bob Steel’s 2008 Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner Quest, with sailing master Mike Green in charge of the Farr designed TP52 for the weekend, will also race in their Rolex Sydney Hobart configuration. “We will have our full Hobart crew aboard and we’ll be in race mode. We are using the regatta to build on our crew work and crew systems in the lead up to Boxing Day,” said Green today.
Geoff Ross’ Reichel Pugh 55, Yendys, is bringing some new weaponry to the fray this weekend. A brand new keel, incorporating Reichel Pugh’s latest design technology, has been fitted and the boat’s rig upgraded. The SSORC will be the first opportunity for the crew, including New Zealand’s Rob Salthouse from the Volvo Ocean Race’s PUMA Ocean Racing team, to test the feel of Yendys’ latest modifications.
Ross is looking for ways to close the gap on the lighter TP52s and he’s hoping a lighter and longer keel will give the boat a chance to claw back some of the TP52’s natural advantage, that is, the ability to plane in downwind surfing conditions.
The IRC and PHS racer/cruiser offshore fleet of 46 will line up in Sydney Harbour, near Shark Island for their 1155 hrs warning signal on both Saturday and Sunday.
The IRC windward leeward fleet of 17, including the Sydney 38s racing in both One Design & IRC mode, will race a maximum six races on the Manly Circle over two days commencing with a 1055 warning signal under the watchful eyes of race officers Denis Thompson and Phil Yeomans and their four race management vessels.
Principal Race Office John Hurley, who will oversee the race management for the two passage races, says the strength of the regatta is once again the club racers. “The fashion has changed slightly this year with an even greater move from IRC round-the-cans to passage racing.
“Those club racers have always been the backbone of the regatta. It’s about getting club boats out on the water for steady sailing that requires less crew, but equally there is a still a demand for the windward/leewards for those gearing up for the great race south on Boxing Day,” added Hurley.
For the second year running a number of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Ocean Pointscore entrants will use the Saturday passage race of the SSORC as race four in their series.
Regatta website http://www.ssorc.mhyc.com.au/
List of entries http://www.ssorc.mhyc.com.au/framed-link-sheet2.cfm