Matador makes it three from three in Act 3 of Pallas Capital TP52 Gold Cup
Matador has done it again, winning three from three Acts in the Pallas Capital TP52 Gold Cup, a shortened Act 3, sailed these past three days, was held in conjunction with Sail Port Stephens and hosted by Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club from 5-7 May.
Act 3 started on Friday with three windward/leeward races, continued on Saturday with a passage race and ended with one shortened race today. Racing was abandoned thereafter because of high winds.
David Doherty and his Matador team scored three wins from five races to win the event by seven points from Chris Townsend and Matt Donald’s Gweilo, which did not win a single race, but sailed consistently in the five races scored under TPR.
Craig Neil sailed Quest to third place, finishing one point behind Gweilo. The double Sydney Hobart winner’s victory in Race 1 sealed the deal for Quest. “Race 4 yesterday let us down, we lost a few places to finish it sixth,” Neil said of an otherwise good scorecard.
“It was very windy, so today’s race was shortened at the bottom mark. We were seeing 28 knots off the top of our mast and having some pretty fast, exciting rides,” explained Neil, who doubles as Class President.
“Officials did the right thing to shorten and call racing off for the rest of the day. It was blowing 35 knots up the river heading back to the dock. It was a good regatta otherwise, competitive between the nine boats.”
Matador also won under IRC, Gweilo finishing three points adrift of her Cruising Yacht Club of Australia stablemate, only once straying outside the top three places throughout. South Australian, Geoff Boettcher, won Race 1 and Race 4 to stitch up third overall.
Meanwhile, Peter White is celebrating his first season in the high-octane world that is TP52 racing, moving up from a Hanse 505 cruiser. The most inexperienced of the TP52 owners, he is making inroads with the former ‘Fifty Two Hundred’. White finished Act 3 seventh overall in both TPR (just one point behind Zen) and IRC.
He admitted, “It’s a big learning curve coming from the Hanse to the TP52. My wife and two kids weren’t sailing on the Hanse too much and you can’t turn a cruiser into a racer. That was the catalyst for buying the TP52 in October.”
Some of White’s Hanse crew warned him making such a big step up was too much. “Others told me to go for it. I’m not a novice, among my sailing are three Sydney Hobarts on John Low’s Shogun back in the eighties, but I got married and had kids, so I only got back in serious sailing about 10 years ago,” he said.
“Ben De Coster (an experienced sailor and sailmaker) advised me on the purchase and is sailing with me through to Hamilton Island Race Week. Mike Green (from Quest) jumped aboard for this regatta and has been a great help. They are the only two of the crew who have sailed on a TP52 before.
“We’re a Corinthian crew who get on and are friends. We’re competitive and I’m enjoying myself thoroughly. We hit 23 knots today and had an exciting round-up, but we’re on an upward trajectory. We beat two boats at this regatta, which is a natural motivator.”
White finished by saying: “I like these sort of events, sailing away from home, sharing accommodation and eating together. It bonds a crew and makes the camaraderie even better. I also race cars in Supersports Racing, so I know about putting teams together.”
One of his crew is youth sailor, Alastair Hunter, whose background is 16 foot skiffs. The 21-year-old found himself on the bow of a TP52 for the first time in mid-April.
”I’ve had some yacht experience sailing on Khaleesi (also racing at Sail Port Stephens), but I did my first TP52 regatta on First Light (in Act 2 in Newcastle) last month. I didn’t even do any training on it beforehand.
“After two days of racing, Peter told me I was on for the Winter Series and Hamo (Hamilton Island Race Week), which I’m looking forward to,” Hunter said.
“I’m enjoying the regattas – and the boat – it’s exciting. Everything is heavier, faster and wetter, but the same concept, said Hunter, who works at Bayview Marina. “Away from work, I take every chance I get, to go sailing. I love sailing yachts and skiffs,” he said, grateful for the opportunity he has been exposed to.
The the Pallas Capital TP52 Gold Cup series consists of 4 Acts. The final Act, to be hosted by Royal Prince Alfred Yacht at Pittwater from 10-11 June, will determine the overall winner, decided under under TPR. Secondary scoring is under IRC and prizes for first to third places will be awarded in both handicap categories.
Photos by Salty Dingo