For the second consecutive year, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron member Rod Pearse’s Dehler 41 cruiser Ultreya, has won the Squadron’s historic Gascoigne Cup short ocean race.
In a second good result for Squadron boats, John Maclurcan skippered Morag Bheag to victory in Division 2, winning the Thelma Plate.
Sailed off Sydney Heads in a light to moderate east to north-easterly seabreeze, a fleet of 25 yachts contested the Cup, with the winner decided on PHS handicap.
The race was also race two in the CYCA’s Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore, with yachts from the CYCA joining a strong contingent of Squadron boats.
For yachts entered through the RSYS, it was also race one of the Perseverance Trophy series of short ocean races.
The Gascoigne Cup dates back to 1886 when Colonel F.G.F. Gascoigne presented a Challenge Cup to be competed for annually by yachts over 5 tons, until won three times in succession. The course was to be at least 30 miles, including an ocean stretch. The first winner of the Cup was a famous yacht called Magic, owned by RSYS Commodore J.R.Fairfax. Saturday’s race was shorter but did include an ‘ocean stretch’ with the start and finish within Sydney Harbour.
In Division 1, the RSYS entrant Ultreya took first place from Peter Franki’s Saltshaker and syndicate-owned The Goat, both representing the CYCA.
Combined clubs handicapper and RSYS life member John Maclurcan sailed an excellent race with the veteran yacht Morag Bheag to win PHS Division 2 from Shibumi (P. Thompson and B. Moore) and Chris Ryan’s Next Light.
“For over 40 years, we have tried to win the Gascoigne Cup in Morag Bheag”, Maclurcan recalled today.
“A few years ago, I suggested to the RSYS that due to the enormous spread of yachts (handicaps that is) in the fleet, maybe the club could drag out one of the older trophies no longer awarded and give it to Division 2. So, on Saturday, we finally had the lowest corrected time of the fleet after a day of champagne sailing conditions, but Morag Bheag won the Thelma Plate, not the Gascoigne Cup, damn it".
“My sister said affectionately, 'John, you’re a loser. Hoisted by your own petard!'” he added.
Division 1 IRC went to Saltshaker from Stormaway (Jack Stening/Col Gunn) and Khaleesi (Andrew and Pauline Dally) while RSYS entrant King Billy, a John King custom-designed 11m sloop and an entrant in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, turned in an impressive IRC Division 2 win from Soundtrack (John Amos) and Next Light.
Swish led the fleet around the course to finish just over a minute ahead of Nine Dragons (Bob Cox) with Khaleesi, another Sydney Hobart entry, just 11 seconds astern at the finish.