Gascoigne Cup - Brannew gets fired up for Hobart

Sydney Gold Coast Race winner Brannew showed her ongoing form in yesterday’s Gascoigne Cup short ocean race
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race entrant Brannew and her crew are all fired up for her second race south this year, scoring an impressive IRC win in yesterday’s Gascoigne Cup short ocean race off the Heads.

'It was an ideal day for the Beneteau First 40s, anything over 14 knots and they really go well to windward,' said owner/skipper Chris Bran. 'Today we sailed in a 12-17 knot sou’easter…just the thing.'

However, the Gascoigne Cup itself, one of Australia’s oldest yachting trophies, conducted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron since 1885, is decided on PHS corrected times and Bran had to be content with a third place in Division 1.

The Gascoigne Cup winner for 2013 is another CYCA yacht, Adrian Van Bellen’s J122 Jackpot which also enjoyed the offshore conditions, winning the race by just 15 seconds on corrected time from Ultreya (Rod Pearse) and Brannew.

The Gascoigne Cup is one of three short ocean races on the summer program of the Squadron, better known for its racing for international one-design yachts and harbour racing cruiser/racers.

The Cup is also part of the CYCA’s Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore and today drew a fleet of 38 yachts from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Middle Harbour Yacht Club.

Under IRC scoring, Brannew won by just nine seconds on corrected time from another Beneteau First 40, Phil Dash’s Justadash, third place going to line honours winner, Bob Steel’s TP52 Quest.

'We had a close duel with Justadash throughout the race,' Bran recalled. 'They finished about two boats lengths in front, but they have a bigger rig – and rating.'

Discussing the race, Bran said the start at Watsons Bay had been congested, but once clear of the Heads, Brannew had been able to power to windward in clear air. 'Some new sails helped too,' he added.

Bran bought the Bruce Farr-designed Brannew with the prime object of competing in the Sydney Hobart, notching up a division second place last year. 'This year we hope to go one better and so far this year we are having a good run, winning the Sydney Gold Coast Race in July.'

Gascoigne Cup winner Adrian Van Bellen was somewhat overawed by his win with the J122 Jackpot. 'It was a bit of a surprise, but it shows that we finally know how to tweak the boat,' he said.

Adrian and his wife Maree have been sailing for only seven years, firstly with a Compass 28 and then a Bavaria 33, two-and-a-half years ago 'taking a big step to this wonderful J122.'

In Division 2 of the Gascoigne Cup, also decided on PHS, first place went to Matthew Brown’s Orbit, a Shaw 10 from New Zealand. Crosshaven (Justin Pelly and Sean Rahilly) finished second, third place going to King Billy (Philip Bennett).