Entries in Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s (MHYC) 2023 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship (SSORC), are taking shape, so far attracting past winners, regulars and new contenders.
Taking place from 25-26 November, the SSORC, now in its 46th year, is a lead-in to other major offshore events each year.
Reigning champion in Premier Class Division 1, Bob Cox returns with his DK46, Nine Dragons. He says, “We’re looking forward to defending our title, but there are no guarantees, as we know we’ll face strong competition.”
Cox is again enthusiastically looking forward to challenging fellow MHYC member, Ian Box and his XP44, Toybox 2, along with Gerry Hatton’s latest Bushranger, a Mat 1245 from RPAYC.
“Toybox has markedly improved its performance since Ian gave the boat a significant upgrade. Gerry had teething problems with the new Bushranger, but they have it sorted and will be a real force at this event. We envisage great racing with her and don’t expect to pace them downwind. Our sistership, Khaleesi (owned by MHYC commodore, Rob Aldis), will be another contender.”
Cox concedes there are others in the division that will give him a run for his money. Among them are Michael Smith’s Tempo and Jambo, a newcomer owned by Rob Carr.
Tempo, a Kernan 44, finished third overall to win Division 1 in July’s Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, so is set to give Division 1 a red-hot crack.
Carr is a keen supporter of MHYC events and is best known as the previous co-owner of Mortgage Choice Rumba. This time, he and wife Stephanie Cook bring the former CheckMate, a Summit King 40, to the start line.
“We purchased the boat out of Fremantle where she had performed successfully in offshore races in the past four or so years,” Carr said.
On renaming the boat Jambo, he explained, “It means ‘hello’ in Swahili. Stephanie and I upgraded to this 40 foot yacht. We’ve had four spinnaker races with it so far. We’ve had it for four months, but we spent time putting the boat together before racing it.
“We’re absolutely enjoying the boat. It’s a steep learning curve because it’s more of a racing boat than the other one. There’s much to learn, but we’re moving up pretty quickly,” Carr said.
“Jambo is a sistership to Soozal. It would be fun if Soozal entered. We could have great competition between us,” he said, adding, “This is my 22nd year racing with Middle Harbour Yacht Club. I’ve done all the Sydney Harbour Regattas and a heap of SSORCs and Seven Islands Races and will continue to do so with the new boat.”
Division 2 entries to-date include locals in Sebastian Hultin’s Farr 36, Georgia Express and Neil Padden’s Beneteau First 40.7, Wailea. Joining them is Matt Wilkinson’s Foreign Affair from the CYCA. Wilkinson and his Farr 30 took out the division in 2021 and has finished runner-up in the past. Also expected is Peter Farrugia’s Bull 9000, Bullwinkle, from RPAYC, which placed third in the division last year.
Featuring a combination of a passage race to Lion Island (in a northerly) or Cape Baily (in a southerly), the opening SSORC race is also an inclusion in the CYCA Ocean Pointscore (OPS). On Sunday, there will be two short offshore windward/leeward races with Sydney Harbour starts and finishes to complete the Championship.
Standard entries close on Friday 17 November at 2359 hrs with late entries accepted up till 2359 hours on Wednesday 22 November and are subject to a Late Entry Fee.
The Seven Islands Race will again be held alongside the SSORC and attracts a wide variety of designs whose crews prefer the cut and thrust of inshore round the buoys racing. This event starts and finishes at MHYC and rounds some of the most famous islands on Sydney Harbour.
For entry and Notice of Race, please go to: www.ssorc.mhyc.com.au
Di Pearson/MHYC media