Cracking the Jackpot in Gascoigne Cup

Adrian Van Bellen and his wife Maree scored the first big win of their relatively short yacht racing career when their J122, Jackpot, took out the Squadron’s historic Gascoigne Cup short ocean race last Saturday.

Jackpot outsailed a strong fleet of leading offshore racing yachts to win the race, sailed in a light south-easterly breeze.

Dutch born Van Bellen was somewhat overawed by his win with the J122. “It was a bit of a surprise, but it shows that we finally know how to tweak the boat,” he said.

Adrian Maree have been sailing for only seven years, firstly with a Compass 28 and then a Bavaria 33, two-and-a-half years ago “taking a big step to this wonderful J122.”

Jackpot is on the register of the CYCA but also races with the Squadron’s Friday twilights.

Jackpot won the Gascoigne Cup by just 15 seconds on PHS corrected time from RSYS entrant Ultreya (Rod Pearse) and Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race entrant Brannew, Chris Bran’s Beneteau First 40.

The Gascoigne Cup is one of three short ocean races on the summer program of the Squadron which also count towards the Perseverance Trophy for RSYS yachts.   After the Cup, King Billy (Phil Bennett) leads from Limelight (Alan Husband) and Ultreya (Rod Pearse).

The Cup is also part of the CYCA’s Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore and drew a fleet of 38 yachts from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Middle Harbour Yacht Club.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race entrants Brannew an impressive but close win in the IRC division. Brannew won by just nine seconds on corrected time from another Beneteau First 40, Phil Dash’s Justadash, third place going to line honours winner,  Bob Steel’s TP52 Quest.

“It was an ideal day for the Beneteau First 40s, anything over 14 knots and they really go well to windward,” said owner/skipper Chris Bran.  “Today we sailed in a 12-17 knot sou’easter…just the thing.”

 “We had a close duel with Justadash throughout the race,” Bran recalled. “They finished about two boats lengths in front, but they have a bigger rig – and rating.”
Discussing the race, Bran said the start at Watsons Bay had been congested, but once clear of the Heads, Brannew had been able to power to windward in clear air. “Some new sails helped too,” he added.

Bran bought the Bruce Farr-designed Brannew with the prime object of competing in the Sydney Hobart, notching up a division second place last year. “This year we hope to go one better and so far this year we are having a good run, winning the Sydney Gold Coast Race in July.”

In Division 2 of the Gascoigne Cup, also decided on PHS, first place went to Matthew Brown’s Orbit, a Shaw 10 from New Zealand. Crosshaven (Justin Pelly and Sean Rahilly) finished second, third place going to King Billy (Philip Bennett).

Saturday’s winners in the Squadron’s Harbour racing divisions were Duende (Damien Parkes) in Division 1, Ambitious (David Matthews), Division 2,  Wallop (Bryan Collis), Division 3, and Kirsten II (Ken Chase) in Division 4.

By Peter Campbell