Wednesday, March 6, 2013

J/122 MARTA JEAN Loves Sydney-Newcastle Race

j/122 Marta Jean sailing Sydney Newcastle race(Sydney, Australia)- There are times when the obvious is not so obvious, even in sailing.  Even for our amazing sailing friends Down Under in Oz.  And that is, how does a "cruising spec" J/122 even feel a need to compete, for starters.  Then, secondly, how does it then go about deciding to do a race, then crushes the fleet!?  Just seems to be one of those remarkable traits of the J/122-- yes, the obvious, not being so obvious, indeed a "wolf in sheep's clothing" as so many of its owners have attested to over the course of time.

Here's a wonderful story of the J/122 MARTA JEAN and the crew who sailed on her for the Sydney-Newcastle Race recently.  "It’s becoming a recurring story in Australia when a J/owner decides to compete in a offshore race and puts together some friends, family and a few ring inn’s at short notice. This particular story is from one of those rings inn’s and tells how the J/122 MARTA JEAN in complete cruising trim shone in the recent 70 mile Sydney to Newcastle Race on 16th Feb 2013.

It all started when Steve Rae, the owner of MARTA JEAN, rang me and said asked whether I was available to do the race. Any way this is how it went-

We had a conservative start not far from Clark Island in Sydney harbour dogged by fluky wind, lulls and light airs but we managed to pick the shifts and by the time we hit the open ocean we had already passed 4 or 5 boats. With  the 155 sq meter running spinnaker now pulling we started to extend even further on the boats passed in the harbour. Keeping close to the rhumbline and risking the edge of the EAC (Eastern Australian Current) running from half to over knot against us in places, MARTA JEAN was moving well with good VMGs so that even the larger  competitors were not catching us. By the time we reached Pittwater over 25 miles north of Sydney in this great 70 mile dash, MARTA JEAN had already consolidated a good position in the competitive fleet consisting of Sydney's top offshore race boats, some 50 footers, First 40s, X 43, Santa Cruz 50’s, DK 43’ and Cookson 12s to name a few.

By the halfway mark with the large running kite still pulling MARTA JEAN at over 10 knots at times we were able to work the small variable wind shifts. A major consideration was to change modes to cover the fleet behind us, therefore enabling us to consolidate and steadily extend our lead on some of the competition.

Close to Newcastle the wind shifted to the north a little and we had to drop the big running kite. By this stage we knew we'd done OK as one of the Cookson 12s was in hailing distance and they owed us a lot of time. Turning West to head down Newcastle estuary and again with the large running kite up, MARTA JEAN surged towards the finish line in her home port and a great reception from the club as the first Newcastle boat home!  We were very pleased to learn we had won on PHS by 13 minutes and finished 4th on IRC.

All in all a great days racing with a great bunch of people, thanks to Steve and his wife Maude for another great race on their superb J/122 MARTA JEAN!"  Thanks for the contribution from Ray & Sandra Entwistle from Sydney.  For more J/122 sailboat information.