Main photo: Nine Dragons in surfing mode. Photo Andrea Francolini, SSORC

The 2022 Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship (SSORC) concluded with two out of the three windward/leeward races completed; the final Race 4 abandoned as the light breeze fell away to nothing before a thunderstorm arrived.

Although he didn’t win a race, local sailor Bob Cox was the most consistent performer in Division 1 of Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s (MHYC) annual event. Cox and his DK46, Nine Dragons, scored a third yesterday. Today’s second and third places helped him to the top of the podium following the abandonment of Race 4. 

Two Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC) yachts filled the other podium places. LCE Old School Racing, one of three DK46’s in Division 1 and skippered by Mark Griffith, won Race 2. The victory handed him second place overall on countback to clubmate, Keiran Mulcahy’s King 40, Soozal.

MHYC Commodore, Rob Aldis, won the second race of the day with his DK46, Khaleesi, to finish fourth overall. Soozal stopped the top three results from being an all-DK46 party.

Cox could not wipe the smile off his face: “We were trying to win a race but we also wanted to minimise risk to pull out the best result we could. It was very fluky today,” he said.

Marvelling at being able to race against two sisterships in LCE Old School and Khaleesi, Cox recounted, “Yesterday the three DKs were side by side and pretty much stayed like that all the way to Lion Island. We had to cross the other two to get closer to shore. That was good racing.

When we got around, we were obviously aware of the other two.

“Getting into the Harbour was difficult though. We put the Code Zero up, then tried the running kite and ended up putting the Code Zero up again. We got second to Victoire. She was very quick.”

Cox said he was appreciative of the good contingent of boats from the RPAYC. “We’ll return the favour by going to their Pittwater Regatta early next year. Khaleesi came to the fore later in the regatta and it was good to see Ian Box’s new set up on Toy Box has worked – the boat is faster. Overall, it was a very good fleet.

“The DKs are aging and so am I – I’ll be 78 in March. I’ve had a bad leg, so the crew had to help me get from side to side this weekend. Full congratulations and thanks to the crew – they were very focussed,” Cox finished.  

Second placed Mark Griffith said today was light and hard work with a bit of chop. “It made it difficult to keep the boat moving and that was the key to winning. Three DK46s. It was very close, but Nine Dragons was more polished. We look forward to racing against them all again at our Pittwater Regatta in February.” 

Griffith continued, “Middle Harbour Yacht Club put on a great regatta. The best is the fantastic camaraderie between the DK46 crews and the rest. We’ve loved every minute of it.”

Division 2 went to the always well-sailed Stormaway, a Sydney 36 owned by Jack Stening and Colin Gunn. The pair’s 2-3-2 results gave them a one-point final advantage over Peter Sorensen’s Advanced Philosophy after the latter won Race 1 yesterday and Race 2 today. Peter Farrugia’s Bull 9000, Bullwinkle (RPAYC) placed third overall after victory in Race 3.

Gunn commented, “Sorro and Conspiracy (which sailed in ORC) sailed fantastically well this weekend. We feel so sorry for Sorro – there was some confusion and I’m sure he would have won had he not retired from the second race today. We were working so hard to stay anyway near them.”

Gunn said he and Stening were surprised and happy to pull the win out of the hat: “Just shows that sometimes sailing is a bit of a lottery. You can’t stop until the race is over,” he said. “We had a wonderful weekend. Yesterday was just glorious.

“We express our gratitude to all the boats that came down from the Alfreds, making it a good competition. And we have great appreciation for the organisers at Middle Harbour Yacht Club,” he ended.

Division 2 looked likely to go to Sorensen’s Sydney 38, Advanced Philosophy, however, he retired from the shortened race amid some confusion.

Racing was away from 11am on the Manly Circle with three windward/leeward races planned. The day looked like it was going to be a good one breeze-wise, but as the first race progressed, the breeze lightened. 

The second race was shortened for Division 1 and then Division 2 and race officials were given no alternative but to abandon their efforts to hold the third race.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club is next looking forward to the Nautilus Marine Insurance Sydney Harbour Regatta to be held on the first weekend in March. The Notice of Race has been published and online entry will open in early December at: 

All information on SSORC, including full results here 

Di Pearson
MHYC media