St Helena Cup 2018
The St Helena Cup is nigh on Moreton Bay’s longest running regatta, hosted by the Wynumn Manly Yacht Club. It’s springtime and a new season lies before the fleet.
Jumping at the chance to join Rushour for day two, a promising 10/15kt south east breeze fills in over Waterloo Bay. “We love the St Helena Cup because they set the same course every year and can’t muck it up by turning it into some windward/leeward thing!” says Drew Carruthers, steering his powerful 50’ catamaran out to the start line west of Green Island.
Day one, Saturday, October 6, had been a testing light wind affair, overcast and fickle. The Berg family on Allyacht Spars Indian Chief managed to build the best momentum and apparent wind to lead the fleet home, showing their transom to several more fancied rivals. Chris Wren’s Nacra 36 Catalyst came home 8 minutes later, fending off Gary Saxby’s Boss Racing by 2 minutes, with Mike Peberdy’s XL2 a further 5 minutes adrift. On performance handicap, it was the lower rating boats that shone, with Tony Eppell’s Corsair 36 Spook claiming the bullet from the Multi Marine McMillan boys on Purple Haze. Ted Kerr’s intriguing tri, the Wavelength 780 New Horizons, claims third, with John Dowling’s F22 Endorphin in fourth and Peter Hackett’s F-28R, Trinity rounding off the small boat domination.
Mac Jack, the Diam 24, sporting her European heritage flies upwind. Photo Andrew Stransky
On Saturday night, while sailors party at the homely Wynnum Manly Yacht club, the Top Yacht System computer is hard at work, crunching numbers and churning out heavily adjusted handicaps, based on the day one results.
A classic spring south east breeze on day two drives the 13 strong multihull fleet off the start line and down the first beam reach. It’s multi heaven with many boats cracking 20kts on this short glamour ride. Out in Moreton Bay proper, pushing into a nice head sea and ebb tide the multis begin to chew through the huge variety of 68 monohulls, all enjoying the warm sunshine and cooling breeze.
Catalyst reacts perfectly with the conditions, burning up the course and beating home Indian Chief by 13 minutes. Boss Racing sneak past Rushour on the final leg to claim third with XL2 threatening from behind. Of note all the top six finishing multis post a better time than the winning IRC mono, a new highly optimised Judel and Vrolijik 42, Not a Diamond. Once the big boats finish the breeze swings more to the north east and falters, ensuring the high raters clinch the honours. Catalyst takes the double with Rushour in second, pipping Lachlan MacFarlane’s Diam 24 Mac Jack into third. Boss Racing, XL2, Indian Chief and Cutsnake round off a virtual reversal of day one results.
Trinity, the F28R, pursues the port gybe on an overcast day one, whicle Catalyst and Endorphin press in towards Green Island. Photo Adrian Relf
With the racing done a relaxing Sunday afternoon stretches before our competition sated sailors as they slowly trickle around to the club. At the presentation, one of the race sponsors, Phil Day from Multihull Solutions, announces that the combined score winner is Tony Eppell’s excellently sailed Spook and a very happy skipper collects the trophy to generous applause from the crowded clubhouse. The overall results are remarkably close, showing just how important consistency is and attention to every step of the race, which can save those vital seconds. With a pair of sixths, the Allyacht Spars team on Indian Chief take a well earned second overall. Tied on 13 points are Purple Haze, Boss Racing and XL2, so by dint of their second in race one, the Multi Marine team, who sailed with three generations of McMillans aboard, take third. All the podium winners receive generous cash prizes from the sailors’ treasure trove, Muir Marine in the heart of seaside Manly.
Rob Dean's Stealth 12.7m, Cutsnake was fast to windward under her all carbon North working sails. Photo Andrew Stransky
The St Helena Cup, bastion of easy going spring racing, leaves behind it pleasant memories for another year.