Squadron’s Ceilidh wins Morna Cup

Squadron entrant Ceilidh, Peter Williams’ Oceanis 50 outsailed a crack fleet of regular ocean racing yachts last Saturday to win the historic Morna Cup short ocean racing.   A Ceilidh team member (Kevin Wong) filmed the windward and leeward legs of the race off Sydney Heads, with an edited version now available on youtube.

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Ceilidh obviously did well on the spinnaker run back to the heads in the freshening seabreeeze,  winning PHS Division 1 and the Morna Cup from corrected time from another Squadron boat Ultreya (Rod Pearse) with CYCA entrant Stormaway (Jack Gunn) third.

This year for the first time,  the name of the winner of PHS Division is inscribed on the Morna Cup while the name of the winner of Division 2  is engraved on G Carter Trophy.  PHS Division 2 went to the Sydney 36 Alpha Carinae (Damien Barker) from Velocity (Brian Carrick) and Crosshaven (Pelly Rahilly).

Ceilidh is an entry in all three Squadron short ocean races, the Gascoigne, Morna and yet-to-come Milson Cup, and a strong contender for the Perseverance Trophy series over those three races.   After two races Ultreya has 4 points, Ceilidh and King Billy (Philip Bennett) 5 each,  with the next five boats equal on 11 points.

The Morna Cup is part of the CYCA’s Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore and attracted a strong fleet.  While the Morna Cup is traditionally decided on Performance Handicaps,  the IRC results are very significant for the CYCA entrants.

The Morna Cup race could be best described as ‘beyond imagination’ for the Hawthorn family and their Beneteau 47.7 Imagination. “We are ecstatic with our win…we sailed brilliantly today,” said Campbell Hawthorn,  one of three sons of owners Robin and Annette Hawthorn who joined for their parents today for a convincing win in the IRC division of the Morna Cup.

With Ceilidh not an entrant in the CYCA’s Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore, first place in the PHS division 1 under CYCA results went to Stormaway (J Stening and C Gunn) from Wild One (Larki Missisis) and Gascoigne Cup winner Jackpot (Adrian Van Bellen), line honours winner Quest (Bob Steel) in fourth place and Imagination fifth.

Imagination won IRC Division 1 from Quest, third place going to Stormaway. “We were glad to hear over the radio before the start that the course had been changed from sailing north to mark of Long Reef to a mark that had been laid to windward in the 12-15 knot south’easter,” Campbell Hawthorn recalled after the race. “It was great to see an 11-year-old boat hold its own on height and downwind  with the newer designs,” he said, adding that new sails had “certainly helped.” “Our only disappointment,  with Imagination going so well,  is that we are not doing the Rolex Sydney Hobart this year…but we will be their next year for the 70th race,” Campbell stressed.

By Peter Campbell