It’s the race that ends the season. The Arch Logan Memorial for the highly competitive M Class fleet who race from Royal Akarana Yacht Club in Auckland, New Zealand.
The three hour “marathon” can make or break any sailor and it has been know to mess with your mind for years to come if you pick the wrong shift, or let your guard down for just a second.
The 75th race was a mixed bag of everything and could have ended dramatically different if there wasn’t a general recall for the first start. The top boats were over and in the light conditions, would have had a very hard time fighting to get back the early lost distance.
After a 20 minute delay, the race got underway. A clear start was called, and it was Mach One that made the early bail tacking onto port into clear air and taking the first puff of breeze into the lead.
The front pack of Mach One, Monsoon, Matapan, Marquita and Marksman made their way from Orakei to Rough Rock. Further back and Maverick, Masquerade, Matara and Menace were fighting their own battle.
Mach One held onto the lead from the start, round Rough Rock and then to Bean Rock, however on the leg from Bean Rock to Orakei, and it was Monsoon and Matapan that rolled Mach One and took the lead.
Around the Orakei mark and it was Mach One who got back in front. Playing in the sandpit now was Marksman and if the conditions stayed in their favour, they would have taken the lead.
But Mach One was still holding on. A tacking duel under North Head between them, Monsoon and Matapan was intense to watch, but Mach One was just too strong and when the breeze increased to 12 knots, they took off.
Then Marquita was out. A broken side stay forced them to limp back to RAYC with their dreams of winning the 75th Logan over.
Mach One screamed out in front and took the line honours win and the 75th Arch Logan Memorial in style finishing over 5 minutes ahead of Monsoon who was second and Matapan who crossed in third.
Mach One skipper Howard Spencer was overjoyed to have won the Logan again.
“Firstly the crew, James (Dagg), Nick (Nicholson) and Stu (Dodson), were awesome!” said Spencer.
“The Logan was it typical self, more than a little random and threw us a few curve balls, it was anyone’s race, no respect for the form book
“After building a lead, the first bottom mark was a complete restart as the chasing pack mowed us down. Both Monsoon and Matapan crossed in front at the start of the 2nd beat and we had to work hard to regain the lead, then the breeze filled in and we had a nervous few legs covering the fleet.
“Great to get the name on the trophy on the 75th occurrence of this race!” continued an rather pleased Spencer.
The M Class fleet will now take a break over the winter months whilst the sailors jump on other boats during the colder seasons. The 76th Season of M Class racing will commence in August 2015.
1st – Mach One (Howard Spencer) 16:39:44
2nd – Monsoon (Hamish Milne) 16:44:24
3rd – Matapan (Paul Snape) 16:44:27
4th – Marksman (Jon Andrews) 16:47:37
5th – Menace (Danielle Bowater) 16:50:49
6th – Matara (Nick Hanson) 16:56:08
7th – Masquerade (Neale Dearlove) 16:59:00
8th – Maverick (Stewart Dorman) 16:59:32
1st – Matapan
2nd – Monsoon
3rd – Menace
4th – Marksman
5th – Mach One
6th – Masquerade
7th – Maverick
8th – Matara
The M Class was formed in 1922 after designs by Arch Logan were adopted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Since that time the boats have raced continuously on the Waitemata Harbour with this coming 2013/14 season marking the 91st year of the class. At 18ft long, Ms are the largest unballasted centreboards sailing in New Zealand, and the ‘restricted development’ rule structure means the boats have progressed to carry modern sailing equipment while adhering to their classic heritage.
The appeal of the M Class lies as much in the handling of the boats as the camaraderie of the Class. M Class yachts are easily enough sailed in moderate conditions and the four man crew means that a lessor experienced crewman can be carried in almost all conditions. In higher wind strengths the downwind rides are to be savoured as the Ms provide a true test of seamanship and sailing skill. Conditions aside, it is the skilled sailors that come to the fore when exacting the best speed from the boats.
While two new boats were launched last season many boats date back as far as the 1950s. Lovingly restored, these boats remain highly competitive and a glance at the recent winners of the ‘Logan Memorial’ trophy will bear testament to this fact. Last season 7 different boats had a line victory to their name with Handicap honours equally spread.
Boats aside, the class is comprised of sailors of all experience levels who have a love of pure competitive sailing. On the water we compete at the highest levels while maintaining a healthy respect for the boats; ashore all hands are communally involved in recovering the boats after racing to the collective storage area on the ramp at “The Landing” in Okahu Bay. This ‘gathering of the crews’ serves as the catalyst for a strong social bond within the class. Royal Akarana Yacht Club is now the home for the M-Class fleet.