This article features some great photographs by Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing from the 1983 SORC series, as well as some commentary based on a postscript article by Bruce Kelley in Seahorse magazine following the series.
|Scarlett O'Hara leads Brooke Ann and Glory during the 1983 SORC|
The 1983 edition of the SORC was given added significance being in an Admiral's Cup year. Amongst the US Admiral's Cup team hopefuls, the Soverel-designed Locura and Peterson 43 Scarlett O'Hara were the outstanding performers. The pair led the SORC from start to finish both overall and in Class D, with Locura leading up until the last race, the 26-mile Nassau Cup final off the Bahamanian capital.
|Scarlett starts ahead and to weather of Thunderbolt (Nelson/Marek 40, fifth Class D and sixth overall)|
Before the first gun for the Nassau Cup race, Locura and Scarlett circled each other each looking for an opening that would give an important jump at the start. A general recall brought the fleet back for a re-start, where Scarlett manoeuvred herself crisply to break out of the pack into clean air. Locura found herself in front of Thunderbolt, who was coming in on starboard, and had to gybe twice, first to keep clear and then to get back on course. Scarlett went on to sail a flawless race to take first in Class D and third in fleet, while Locura, starting virtually last, did come back up the through the class but could only manage fifth, and 12th in fleet, by far her worst race of the series. This was however enough to take the win in Class D, while Scarlett finished second in class but first overall, and winner of the Governor's Cup. The share of the class and overall fleet wins by these two yachts was just the way to end a great series between these two yachts who proved themselves to be a notch above the rest of the fleet in every area that counts: boatspeed, crew-work, preparation, strategy and tactics.
|Scarlett O'Hara getting a strong start in one of the races in Class D|
Locura was genuinely quick and her crew had both the talent and depth to put her speed to good use. Scarlett was an interesting winner. She and her near sisterships (Louisiana Crude amongst others) started life as a stock, five-year old Serendipity 43, built by New Orleans Marine with a relatively unsophisticated hull layup, but despite a minor disadvantage in terms of weight distribution she was extremely well sailed by Chris Corlett and Dee Smith (of Horizon Sails at the time).
|Celebration (Cook 40), fifth in Class E and 29th overall|
|Mea Culpa, a Frers 41 and skippered by Tom Blackaller, had a strong series to finish third in Class D, and third overall|
|Carat (ex-Retaliation), a Frers 51, took out overall honours in Class B (22nd overall)|
|A tightly packed bunch in Class D|
|Artemis (Peterson 51) chases Carat on a tight reach in Class B racing|
|The stampede at a Class A start, with Running Tide ahead of Windward Passage, Boomerang and Condor|
The win in Class A by Kialoa IV was achieved through a combination of good speed and tactics and few gear failures, and she prevailed over Windward Passage after two years of disappointment. The Pedrick-designed Nirvana, while less well placed in the results, nevertheless showed comparable speed upwind and down with perhaps a touch less ability upwind in a breeze. The two boats were closely matched with Jim Kilroy's experience and determination being the deciding factor.
The new Midnight Sun scored a third and fifth in the two races she sailed or completed.
Midnight Sun made an impressive showing in the two races that she completed particularly in light of her newness. Her performance and numbers made sense: she was by far the stiffest of the Maxis and carried the smallest rig relative to her displacement, and as might be expected she shone particularly in a breeze with the wind forward of the beam. Downwind Kialoa IV and Nirvana had an edge, but upwind, even in the light, the Peterson design had an advantage.
|Midnight Sun |
The US team of Secret Love, Thunderbolt and Scaramouche, which was selected in a two-day series prior to the Boca Grande Race, beat the Canadian and Swedish teams to win the SORC team racing championship.This performance also gave the US the lead in the inaugural World Cup competition sponsored by Champagne Mumm. That series, which included the 1981 Southern Cross Cup, the 1982 Sardinia Cup and the 1983 SORC, would conclude with the 1983 Admiral's Cup, with the US and British teams in the front running. Locura and Scarlett practically selected themselves, and Shenandoah was picked as the third boat. They went on to finish third in the Admiral's Cup that year, but were well ahead of Britain in eighth, and so won the inaugural World Cup.
|One of the US team yachts for the 1983 SORC, Bright Finish (Peterson 42) finished fourth in Class D and fourth overall|
|Morning Star (Frers 46), winner of Class C and fifth overall|
|Zero (Frers 51), finished third in Class B and 31st overall|
|Nice graphics, but boat name unknown (can anyone assist?)|
|Start of the Miami-Nassau race, Thunderbolt to weather and Scarlett can be seen half way down the line|
|Canada's Amazing Grace VI (C&C 45) finished fifth in Class C and 19th overall|
|Evergreen (Frers 45) finished third in Class C and ninth overall|
|Stars & Stripes (Nelson/Marek 39), 16th in Class E and 58th overall|