Festival Dates 26-28 January, 2018

A Cunning Plan

A chat with the Skipper.

Skipper Jon Lechte explain a little of the ACP story.
A group of friends decided that we are all getting older and wanted to try our hand at completing a Sydney-Hobart race, so I agreed to buy a boat we thought would be suitable and build the required crew. A number of the crew are long-time crew members on Mark’s classic boat called “Fair Winds”, they have done countless ocean miles together. A few others are buddies of mine, we soon got to the requisite crew size of ten and we competed in the 2014 race. Unfortunately equipment failure saw us pulling out near Bruny Island so we did almost all of the work without completion. We might still have another go at it, time will tell.
The name “A Cunning Plan” seemed appropriate given the boat was purchased to complete this plan – and also the boat’s previous name was Blackadder, so it was in keeping.

Festival of Sails: What is your best memory/achievement sailing on this boat?

A Cunning Plan: Most memorable achievement would have to be that S2H race, despite not quite making it, we had quite a trip. The best achievement though was with a slightly different crew as the crew has changed over time a little, Mark skippered the boat in the Melbourne to King Island race this year and ACP won line honours and IRC/AMS as well.

FOS: What do you love most about your boat?

ACP: The boat is really nice to sail, she is very nimble being only 5 tonne and is responsive in a frisky breeze. It is really well made (Cookson boats are) and we have maintained it without hesitation so she is almost like new to look at and in many ways, she is better than new given slight modifications over the years.

FOS: How many times have you sailed in FOS?

A Cunning Plan: Just last year. We won the passage race on Performance handicap but performed rather poorly after that, we are back to improve this year after a fair amount of training.

FOS: Why have you chosen to compete in FOS 2017?

A Cunning Plan: It is a fun event, we were challenged last year by the bay sailors as our focus has been on offshore racing to date, but hopefully we can improve this year.

FOS: Do you have your crew confirmed? If so, mention them here!

A Cunning Plan: Not 100% confirmed but pretty much.

Mark Chew as mentioned owns Fair Winds and is a keen participant on ACP. Chris Clapp has been a long time crew member on Fair Winds and is navigator on ACP, very involved in the setup on ACP. Antony Perri is another Fairwinds sailor and is responsible for the headsails on ACP. Heather Aldridge has lived on Hamilton Island for 20 years but has moved to Melbourne to run the Henri Lloyd star in Sandringham and needed a crew, she has been great helping on the foredeck and is a keen sailor.  Sue Bumstead has been sailing with us often but she is training for the Melbourne to Osaka race in 2018 so I am not certain if she will be sailing with us or Trybooking for FOS. Andrew Read is a life time friend of mine and keen sailor, he sailed S2H with us and I am pretty sure he will be there for FOS. Adrian Reek is another long time friend and S2H sailor, he is a devoted ACP sailor and shares the helm, so will be there i am sure. Brendan Fafiani is reasonably new to the crew although was on the King Island and Stanley races, he is a gun on the foredeck (youth is wonderful) and will be at FOS. John Donati is a legend of Australian sailing having competed in (literally) countless S2H and other epic journeys on many boats. JD is building a house on the Great Ocean road and so has not been sailing as often, but loves FOS hopefully we have his expertise along.

A Cunning Plan is a Cookson 12 competing in the Rating Series. We wish the crew and skipper Jon the best of luck! 

ORCV Winter Series 2014