The Gascoigne Cup, the first of the RSYS ‘Triple Treat’ offshore events, was held on Saturday 21 October. The Cup dates back to 1886 when Colonel F. G. F. Gascoigne presented a Challenge Cup to be competed for annually by yachts over five tons, until won three times in succession. The course was to be at least 30 miles, including an ocean stretch. The first winner of the Cup was a famous yacht called Magic, owned by RSYS Commodore J. R. Fairfax. Saturday’s race was shorter but did include an ‘ocean stretch’ with the start and finish In Watson’s Bay.
The fleet consisted of yachts from the CYCA, MHYC and the RSYS and there were 25 entrants in Division 1, competing for the cup and 20 in Division 2 competing for the Thelma Plate. The Thelma Plate was donated to the RSYS by Charles Lloyd Jones after a tragic incident in 1913 when the yacht Thelma was wrecked on the bombora off Dobroyd Head with loss of life.
The wind was a gusty, 20 to 30 knots offshore, with the expected lumpy sea. Race Officer David Ross set a masterly start line at a suitable angle to South Head to ensure the fleets were spread down its length.
A short spinnaker to the Heads and on the wind around the corner to head south east to the first mark. Many yachts overlaid the first mark, playing follow the leader. The current was running south helping the progress. The top mark was a starboard rounding gate, then a square run parallel to the coast. Many yachts did not opt for a kite on the run with the gusty conditions and confused seaway. Back on the wind for a 2.5 mile dead beat to windward, then around the top mark for a quartering run home.
The Cup was won by Matt Allen in Ichi Ban (pictured) by 2 mins 16 secs from Michael Spies in the TP 52 Fifty Two Hundred. Ichi Ban is a brand new state of the art Botin 52 and Matt has hit the water in spectacular fashion with back to back wins in his first two events. He also cleaned up the IRC division by 4 mins 39 secs, a very large margin in a race which took him merely 80 minutes to complete.
At the other end of the fleet, the 48 year old Morag Bheag won the Thelma Plate. It was great conditions for my old girl. We hit a personal best of 13 knots under spinnaker on the run home and even got back in time to whip another coat of varnish on the cabin top! Second was Foreign Affair, a Farr 30, owned by Matt Wilkinson. Matt is quoted as saying the boat hit 18 knots running home. IRC in Division 2 went to Ed Psaltis in Midnight Rambler, just holding off Foreign Affair and a keen fleet of Sydney 36s.
A vote of thanks to Rob Ridley and the team who set the marks. It must have been dreadful to do so in awful conditions but it was a perfect course.
By John Maclurcan