Botany Bay Race - Warwick Sherman retains Series lead

Occasional Coarse Language 2 sailed well to retain the OPS lead.
David Brogan, www.sailpix.com.au
Chris Bran has followed up his overall victory in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July with a win in the second race of the Club’s Ocean Point Score this afternoon, but it’s Race one winner, Warwick Sherman (Occasional Coarse Language two), who retains the Series lead after finishing fourth today.

Bran (Brannew) was a casual entry, so does not figure in the Ocean Pointscore Series, and from next week will sail in the CYCA’s Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore Series (SOPS) in the lead-up to his second Rolex Sydney Hobart campaign. Today Bran beat Paul Clitheroe’s Beneteau 45, Balance, Tim Cox’s DK43 Minerva and OCL2, all of which are OPS contenders.

Balance in light air leaving the Harbour this morning.
Brett Hemmings, www.sailpix.com.au

The Botany Bay Race got off to a shaky start when the wind Gods held the 28 boat fleet over a barrel, dishing up nothing but a dying westerly for their 10.00am start this morning.

Denis Thompson, Principal Race Officer, takes up the story: 'We got them away on time - but in a 2 knot dying westerly – they went about 200 metres slowly and found a glassy patch,' he said.

'Then they restarted about 500 metres from the start line in a north-easterly of about 8 knots, and it was building quite quickly,' he said.

Bran said his Beneteau First 40 Cruiser Racer got off the line well: 'The good start helped us get an early lead on time,' he said. 'Three of us got a bit of a jump; us, Occasional Coarse Language two and Kerisma.'

Of their race tactics, Bran said: 'We stayed close to shore, because we can sail square under spinnaker, while most of the others have asymmetricals – and we ran all the way to the mark in a nice nor’ easter.'

It was a quick ride down to Botany Bay, as the fleet benefitted from the sea breeze, which averaged around 12 knots, before preparing to beat into the breeze on the way home to the Rushcutters Bay finish line.

'There was a bit of current to deal with' admitted Bran.

For Warwick Sherman, fourth place today to maintain his series lead was appreciated. The CYCA yachtsman won the Lion Island Race in September, but it was not declared until after several protests had been heard and 12 boats subsequently retired from the race.

Casual entry Brannew took the honours today.
Brett Hemmings, www.sailpix.com.au

'We had a lovely race,' Sherman acknowledged. 'We were first out the Heads and just tried to keep it going. On the way home, Mahligai (the Sydney 46 owned by Murray Owen and Jenny Kings) kept us honest. We dumped on them a few times – we didn’t have much choice,' he said.

Sherman said that despite the 15-16 knots reached once they rounded the Botany Bay mark, 'the seaway was OK – it was a pleasant sail.' He described the racing as 'very close,' which is evidenced in the corrected finish times, with little more than 10 minutes separating the top four overall.

About Time, Julian Farren-Price’s Cookson 12 which has won the last three OPS’ in succession, finished sixth today, after being one of those to retire from the first race of the series. It leaves her 11th overall, and Sherman knows he is in a good early position to do the impossible, already having an early 16 point lead over their foe.

'We are in hope of beating About Time. I’ve grabbed a bunch of newish guys to sail the boat and we’re really a group of good people now – today was the proof of the pudding. As we get more used to each other, we’ll sail even better,' he explained.

Sherman and his OCL2 lead the OPS by six points from Noel Cornish’s St Jude, with Grant Dawson/Brent Lawson’s Kerisma third, a further two points behind.

Race three in the Ocean Pointscore Series is the Port Hacking Race on November nine, starting at 10.00am

For full race results and provisional Ocean Point Score standings: Click here