Photography by Lisa Ratcliff / Tilly Lock
20 November 2017
Hooligan’s unquestionable victory in the MC38 Summer Series act 2 and Steve Barlow’s second overall with Lightspeed could mark a new chapter in the class’ lifecycle, as the standard across the super competitive one design fleet continues to rise.
Marcus Blackmore recalled what he believes was his last regatta win, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week back in 2012 with his TP52 also called Hooligan. Now the monkey is off his back. “It’s my first win in a long time and my first MC38 win after three years trying; it’s very satisfying. Most of the crew have sailed with me for some time and that consistency helps a lot.
“It’s a great pleasure to have Tom Slingsby at the back of the boat and Will Ryan on main,” the skipper added. “It’s intense sitting between two Olympians and having them both on my case. I had more on than the first settlers in 25 knots on day one. The class is more even now, and that makes for really good competition. I don’t think there’s any better one design racing than the MC38s.”
At the trophy presentation Blackmore thanked class president John Bacon on behalf of the other owners for the effort he puts in behind the scenes to secure the host clubs, prepare the regatta documents, book the on-water umpires and respond to technical questions. “I’m sure we wouldn’t have the class and the racing we do without John Bacon,” Blackmore said to appreciative applause.
Easterlies 8 – 12 knots and tricky 30-40 degree shifts at the top gate of the windward/leeward course made it another tough day for the tacticians trying to read the wind.
“It was really shifty out there and Seve (Jarvin) was on it; he called some stuff I couldn’t see on the water. I’ve never seen anyone who tries as hard,” said a delighted Barlow of his tactician.
“Seve just won the Silver Goblets in the Etchells and I’ve got Sam Newton (Oracle Team USA) doing main.”
On upping the ante in terms of his crew program Barlow said, “I’ve got some pretty good troops. I don’t want to come last. If everyone else is doing it you’ve got to lift your game and have the best guys and gear, otherwise you are off the pace.”
Lightspeed finished second on the rung, six points off the leader with Neville Crichton’s Maserati third, five points from second and split by a countback with Leslie Green’s Ginger in fourth overall at the end of seven races.
Prior to racing on Sunday November 19, the two new owners of MC38 Lazy Dog, Shaun Lane and Quentin Stewart from Middle Harbour Yacht Club, met the owner’s group at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club at Newport.
For the MC38 class president and owner of Dark Star, John Bacon, and his Dark Star and Melbourne to Osaka race compatriot, David Sampson, it was a hugely satisfying introduction. The pair purchased the boat from Puerto Rico, where it was sitting idle, and shipped it to Sydney prior to Cyclone Irma’s devastating effect on the region, in particular its boating community. They banked on finding a new enthusiastic owner who would buy into the dynamic class and instead they’ve found two!
Lane is a bluewater and club racer who sold his share in a race boat and was looking for something competitive and fast when Stewart suggested looking at the MC class. Lane came across Lazy Dog and put the idea forward, and the response? “It sounded like a lot of fun,” Stewart said.
“We aim to get out next weekend and then start working up,” Stewart added. “We need to build a crew plus put time into a sail development program. It will take us six months to get the markings on the boat and understand the settings, but by the time the nationals come around in February we should have a boat and crew. In 12-18 months hopefully we’ll be doing a good job.”
The next time the class meets will be at their MC38 Australian Championship February 23-25 on Sydney Harbour.