SPORT — Soundtrack hits right chords in Gascoigne Cup

SPORT - Soundtrack hits right chords in Gascoigne Cup

The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (RSYS) conducted its historic Gascoigne Cup last Saturday with victory going to prominent Squadron member and yachting administrator Tim Cox in his J35 Soundtrack, with son Edward on the helm.

Tim Cox, a retired senior RAN officer, is well known as the long-serving chairman of the Race Committee for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA). He is also a member of the Sailing Committee of the RSYS.

This was the 101st Gascoigne Cup conducted by the RSYS, although today's race marked 124 years since it was first presented to the RSYS in 1886 — it was not contested during the war years.

Many famous yachts have won this iconic short ocean race off Sydney Heads, including Norn, Caprice of Huon, Apollo and Margaret Rintoul II. The first winner in 1886 was Sir James Fairfax's Magic, one of the crack gaff-riggers sailing with the Squadron in the 1880s.

The winner of the Gascoigne Cup is the yacht in the combined Divisions 1 and 3 with the lowest corrected time under Performance Handicaps. Soundtrack won by a comfortable 2 minutes 39 seconds on corrected time from two other Division 3 boats, the Nymph 33 Zephyer (James Connell and Alex Brandron) from Balmain Sailing Club, and the RP36 Lisdillon (Desmond Fagan). Only 21 seconds separated second and third.

The race started in a light but steady southeasterly breeze of 8 to 10kts, with RSYS race officer David Reid setting a short course of 14nm in view of the expected continuation of light winds during the

Two boats broke the start but quickly returned and re-started, with the fleet heading out through the Heads from the Watson Bay start line on a course of 140 degrees.

Leslie Green's Swan 60 Ginger led the fleet around the windmark for the first time, followed closely by Matthew Short'sTP52 Shortwave. Then came Broomstick and Edake, with Jackpot, AFR Midnight Rambler and Balance in a close bunch astern.

Ginger held her lead throughout the race to take line honours from Shortwave, Michael Cranitch's Open 60 Broomstick and Jeff Carter's Farr 40 Edake. Soundtrack finished 17th in the fleet of 28 yachts.

Under IRC ratings for Divisions 1 and 3, provisional first place went to Ray Entwistle's consistent J/122 Jackpot from Jeff Carter's Farr 40 Edake with Ginger third and Soundtrack fourth.

The Gascoigne Cup was also the third race in the CYCA's Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore, with Jackpot winning IRC Division 1 from Edake and Ginger.

Jackpot's win will provisionally lift her to the top of the leader board in the SOPS, displacing AFR Midnight Rambler, which placed seventh on the weekend.

Soundtrack won IRC Division 3 from Zephyr and John Taylor's Allegro, which also lifts the J35 to equal first in the SOPS pointscore with Crosshaven (S. Rahilly and J. Pelly).

Under PHS results for the Grant Thornton SOPS, Edake won Division1 from Jackpot from Ian MacDiarmid's Hell Razor while Division 3 saw another victory for Soundtrack. Zephyr again took second place, third going to Lisdillon.

— By Peter Campbell

Photo: Tim Cox.