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Tough opening day predicted in the MC38 Australian Championship

by Lisa Ratcliff on 4 Feb 2016 5-7 February 2016
Start off Scotland Island during the 2015 MC38 Australian Championship © Bob Fowler

Forecast 20-25 knot southerly winds on local waters, the aftermath of a front that hit Sydney overnight, are going to sort out the MC38 crews on day one of their Australian championship which starts tomorrow, Friday February 5th 2016, on Pittwater.

Top tier crews can manage the high performance one designs at these strengths but as always when it comes to separating out the compact fleet and minimising breakages, crew handling will be paramount.

The Bureau of Meteorology has a strong wind warning out for today but so far Friday is clear of warnings. MC38 owners, class technical advisor Richard Slater and the regatta host, the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, are monitoring the weather and at tomorrow's 0915hrs briefing the club's principal race officer Steve Merrington will consult owners on the best action plan if conditions are dicey.

By Saturday winds are likely to decrease to southeasterly 10-15 knots and Sunday's forecast is S-SE less than 10 knots.

Most of the MC38s have been spotted this week singularly fine tuning or practising windward/leewards in smaller groups for the first event of a new season. John Bacon's Dark Star, winner of the inaugural national title, has been prowling around on Pittwater in the late afternoon tuning the boat's new mainsail before going toe-to-toe with two-time defending Australian champion, Leslie Green's Ginger, and defending 2015 MC38 season champion Menace (NZ). Regular tactician Ray Davies isn't on the Menace crew list for the long weekend, his replacement yet to be named.

Clare Crawford, who will again skipper dad Robin's MC38 Assassin, agrees the weather looks "large". On their run into the season opener Clare said, "We've been racing a few twilights; it was most fun when Ginger was also out playing. It looks like our planned full-team training session this afternoon might be cancelled."

The 2016 MC38 Australian Championship begins on Friday February 5 and runs for three days, offering northern Scotland Island and Clareville waterfront residents, plus those out boating on the weekend a unique spectating opportunity.

Racing begins daily from midday and up to four races are scheduled for Friday and Saturday and three on Sunday. David Tallis is the series' principal umpire.

Harken is supporting the MC38 class once again, as sponsor of the final presentation BBQ on Sunday afternoon at RPAYC. North Sails at Mona Vale is 'boat of the day' sponsor, Lejen Marine is contributing an umpire RIB and McConaghy Boats at Mona Vale is hosting crew drinks after racing on Friday and Saturday. McConaghy Boats' managing director Jono Morris will present the championship's perpetual trophy his business donated when the national title was first founded back in 2012.

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