Saturday 25 February made for some wet sailing, with a reasonably strong southerly storming through in the early hours of the morning, before conditions eased to allow the offshore course to be set. The rain pelted down through until the evening and wind conditions above 20 knots for racing in both the Grant Thornton Short Ocean and Grant Thornton Short Haul Pointscore Series, a far cry from the recent weeks of high heat and lack of consistent breeze!
Five boats competed in race 11 of the Grant Thornton Short Haul Series in a tight finish, with three of the yachts crossing the line close to within a minute of each other, and that’s after two hours of racing!
It was Defiant who claimed victory in the somewhat testing conditions on Saturday afternoon, co-owned by Peter McGee and Paul Billingham, who was tied up in a CYCA Board meeting on Saturday and absent from the boat. Peter McClelland’s Macscap was second on PHS corrected time, and Jon Short, Miles Bastick and Rob Hunt’s L’Attitude in third.
These three yachts are tough competitors and series contenders, with the placings in race 11 mirroring the current overall series results; Defiant on 37 points, Macscap on 40 points and L’Attitude on 45 points.
The Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore series race seven was also conducted by the CYCA on Saturday, and Howard Piggott, with his Beneteau First 40 Flying Could, dominated the tricky day’s sailing.
Flying Cloud achieved wins in both the IRC and PHS results for Division 1, to also be leading the series in both as well! Piggott is proud of his crew for the double win, in what were testing conditions.
“The wet and cold didn’t worry me too much,” the ex-Tasmanian skipper commented. “We anticipated the firm wind and challenging seaway, and made some fine-tune adjustments to the rig. We had good height and speed on board the boat, and we were very active with our trimming in the 18-22knot fluctuating breeze.”
Flying Cloud has taken a few race wins this season, which Howard believes is due to a good understanding of the boat and better boat speed through the latter half of the season. They are currently winning the overall Grant Thornton Short Ocean Series on both PHS and IRC, but the competition is tight, with only a four and three point advantage respectively over the fleet.
Robin and Annette Hawthorn’s Imagination came second on PHS and third on IRC, in what was a ‘washing machine’ lumpy sea state offshore of Sydney. Bob Cox’s Nine Dragons was the reciprocal, finishing third on PHS and second on IRC.
In Division 2, it was John Maclurcan’s Morag Bheag that won overall on PHS, followed by Crosshaven in second and Shibumi in third. On IRC, Peter Franki’s Saltshaker took out first place by just 26 seconds to Stormaway in second, and Crosshaven 30 seconds further behind in third.
Four boats retired from the cold and wet race in Division 1, plus one other in Division 2. The next race in the Grant Thornton Short Haul and Grant Thornton Short Ocean Series is March 11, with Middle Harbour Yacht Club conducting the racing.
Click here for full results.