Tasmanians on top in McConaghy 38, Melges 32 regattas

Tasmanian yacht 2Unlimited won the Melges 32 East Coast championship
Tracey Walters
Andrew Hunn and Greg Prescott have again shown their outstanding helming and tactical skills in two grand prix Australian championships sailed in Sydney water last weekend.

Fresh from their Farr 40 wins in the Queensland championship and the Audi Showdown in Hobart, the Voodoo Chile team headed north again for their first regatta in the new McConaghy 38.

Racing a chartered boat MC38 for the first time, Hunn and his team won the Australian championship on a countback from prominent Sydney yachtsman Leslie Green, helming Ginger.

The championship was conducted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club, with a 13-15 knot breeze on Saturday, building to 16-22 knots for Sunday’s passage race.

MC38 OD class starting a race of their nationals
Ellen Pragnell-Raasch

Voodoo Chile won the first three races of the championship, followed by a second, but two fifth places and a race six win by Ginger put the Sydney boat head by one point. In extraordinary tight race, Voodoo Chile’s winning margins in the first three races were all less than ten seconds.

The final race turned into a match race between Voodoo Chile and Ginger with the Tasmanians fighting back to finish second with Ginger third, the margin this time 18 seconds.

'The MC38 class is a fully carbon 38-footer which is emerging as a successor to the Farr 40,' Hunn said back in Hobart. Built in China by the Australian company, McConaghy Boats, the MC38 is already being raced in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Europe.

Voodoo Chile won on a countback from Ginger, both finishing the seven races, no discard, regatta on 17 points. Third place overall went to Vino (Chris Hancock) on 20 points which also won two of the seven races.

On Pittwater, Greg Prescott and his 2Unlimited team dominated the Melges 32 East Coast championship sailed on Pittwater. Conditions were similar to those to the south on the Harbour, but at times swung through all points of the compass.

The Melges 32 racing was also incredibly close, with the boats planing downwind under their large spinnakers in 20 knots of breeze. Gains made downwind by staying in pressure and looking for the next shift.

Voodoo Chile (left) and Ginger match racing to decide the winner of the MC38 OD class nationals
Ellen Pragnell-Raasch

The Tasmanians were able to successfully defend that East Coast championship, with international tactician and expat Tasmanian Darren Jones joining Prescott and his crew from Hobart.

2Unlimited won the first four of the six races to take the series by two points after Sydney boat Easy Tiger III (Chris Way) won the last two races, with 2Unlimited finishing second and third in those races.