Matador triumphs

David Doherty’s Matador wins the Pallas Capital Gold Cup Act 2.

Written by Nic Douglass
Photography by Nic Douglass @SailorGirlHQ

10 April 2024


The second act of the Pallas Capital Gold Cup wrapped over the weekend as part of SailFest Newcastle and the IRC Yachting Championships.

The eleven strong TP52 fleet completed two races off Nobby’s Beach in light breeze and a much more settled sea state than the previous day’s racing.

The overall (TPR) results saw David Doherty’s Matador extend their day-one lead to finish eleven points ahead of Geoff Boettcher’s Secret Mens Business (SMB), and Craig Neil’s Quest. The win makes it two from two for Matador in this year’s Pallas Capital Gold Cup, the perfect start setting them as the team to beat at the halfway point of the series.


“We’re really happy with our performance this weekend, tricky conditions but we were able to keep the boat rumbling. The speed team were really locked in and moding the boat well, especially in the lighter air today,” Alice Parker, navigator on Matador said.

“The team is feeling good. We felt we had some cobwebs to shake at the last event after a few months off, but we’ve really got back into it and were able to refine some of our manoeuvres and Comms this weekend. The team’s been really stable with plenty of the same guys onboard as we had last season so the mood is great and everyone knows their roles. We always have a laugh and get along well, but work hard when we’re racing,” she continued.

“Two from two is a great result, and it’s been awesome to be sailing with eleven 52’s on the track – great racing, great fun, can’t wait for the next one,” Parker concluded.

The final day’s racing consisted of two windward leewards, race four and five of the series.

Live start of Race 4

The first race of the day commenced in a variable easterly set at 070 degrees for a 1.5 nautical mile course.

With many in the fleet looking for a reset after Saturday’s racing start line positions were hard fought. Hooligan went off the line closer to the pin, Matador the middle, and SMB started right at the boat.

All three boats had a clean start, but it was Matador who got the best of it and headed right early with SMB. Smuggler sailed an exceptional beat to be in the mix with the big guns at the top mark, as did Highly Sprung. Matador, Smuggler, SMB and Highly Sprung were the top four on TPR at the end of the tricky easterly course.

Live start of Race 5

The fifth race of the series was set at 080 degrees and slightly shorter at 1.4 nautical miles. The line became quite pin biased during the last few minutes of the starting sequence, and Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan had worked into prime position to take advantage. They led the race from there finishing with almost 40 seconds back to Matador on line honours.

Finishing Act Two with big results on TPR were Andy Kearnan’s KOA and Peter White’s First Light with a second and third place respectively which led to First Light winning the Corinthian award in Newcastle.

Testament to the validity of the TPR handicap as a leveller, Quest, who also sailed a great final race for their boat, finished with an identical corrected time to Hooligan in the final race of the series.

“It’s like having the Super Series, but here in Australia,” said Geoff Boettcher of SMB on joining in on the Pallas Capital Gold Cup racing for the first time at this event. “Having twelve TP’s on the line will just be incredible at Port Stephens.

“That boat that is now Matador was the old SMB, and it is just a glamour boat. Doherty has tweaked it, and taken it to the next level, and we will all just have to sail really well to have a chance of knocking him, and the great crew that he has put together, off the perch in any of the remaining events of the series,” he finished.

Matador was also first in Division One on IRC taking out the Australian Yachting Championships, with last year’s winners Secret Men’s Business in second. Hooligan took third place, a strong reflection of their performance on IRC over the weekend.

The next act of the Pallas Capital Gold Cup will be run as part of Sail Port Stephens on 26 to 28 April, and with 12 TP52s set to enter Australia’s premier grand prix class will no doubt put on another brilliant show of racing.

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement