Shaun Lane and Quentin Stewart’s MC38 Lazy Dog from Middle Harbour Yacht Club, Australia have proven themselves as worthy winners of their first Australian Championship this year.
For Shaun Lane, he counts himself as someone relatively new to sailing, growing up in landlocked Johannesburg, South Africa before moving to Sydney in 2004. Now that he lived so close to the water, it was his goal to spend as much time as he could on it and quickly bought a cruising boat. From there Shaun continued to dip his toes into the proverbial water of Grand Prix racing where his obsession for sailing began.
After sailing together on the Sydney Harbour multiple times, Shaun and Quentin Stewart became friends, and it was only then Quentin revealed his plans for a new Infiniti 46 that he was building offshore, Maverick. Once Shaun realised the level of project that Quentin was planning, his interest was well and truly peaked and when Shaun was given the opportunity to sail with Quentin and his team for the Fastnet, he was quick to accept.
The MC38 class is amongst some of the most competitive class/One Design racing in the world and certainly in Australia, and initially neither Shaun nor Quentin knew what they were getting themselves in for with the class. After spending a bit of time working on the boat and figuring out what they needed to go sailing, they entered their first nationals three years ago – they broke everything and didn’t finish a race. From there, the whole team went back to the drawing board and reassessed the entire boat, which has led to several significant improvements over a few years. Shaun was quick to credit the Lazy Dog boat captain Steve Thomas for implementing these changes to perfection, who doubles as Tactician when racing “Steve is an absolute perfectionist, he continues to push us hard and makes sure that the boat is ready to go in the best shape possible whenever we are on the water, he is a great asset to our team”.
One non-negotiable was the switch to Doyle Sails. Quentin Stewart continues to be a long term supporter of Doyle Sails with a full inventory aboard Maverick and his message to Shaun was clear “our sails will be Doyle”. Drawing on the experience and service Quentin had received from the team of people that had worked with him over the years meant it was an easy decision to make.
“When Quentin and I entered the MC38 scene, the whole fleet was blindly buying North Sails. We didn’t just want to follow them; we wanted to be better and faster so we broke the mould there and it has paid off. We’ve gelled with the whole of the team at Doyle Sails from Chris Nicholson to Daniel Fong, and Justin Ferris and our sails have just got better and better” said Shaun.
Shaun and Quentin credit their solid crew for their 2020 National Championship title. “Overall we have some excellent sailors, that have been together for a very long time. We believe that the more time we are together and on the water, the better we get”. The majority of their crew is made up of amateur sailors who have all been through the Australian Sailing team at some stage, alongside three professional sailors (the maximum the class rule allows). “The best part of my sailing career was winning the nationals by such a big margin; we’d already won before the last race. It also showed our true grit and determination. We weren’t always at the top mark fist, but we worked hard to pick the right shifts and minimise any mistakes. We had a lot of fun”.
Shaun Lane and Quentin Stewart share the helming responsibilities 50/50 with one day on and one day off. It works well. Shaun says “allowing you to get in the groove for an entire day, plus you have a lot of pressure on you to keep the performance consistent”.
For a team like Lazy Dog, the pull of competition, adrenaline and real One Design racing is something that keeps them all coming back to the water. The ability to measure yourself purely on skills is something that the entire Lazy Dog crew hold in high regard. The MC38s produce some of the most competitive racing in Australia with limitations around the rules of the class, ensuring that every decision that is made must be considered and well thought out.
With racing as intense as it is, Shaun and Quentin enlisted the Doyle Sails team to ensure that they not only have fast sails but to act as an extension of their team, offering coaching and sail analysis. By having the ability to tap into expert knowledge from world-class sailors like Chris Nicholson, Justin Ferris and Stu Bannatyne, this allowed the Lazy Dog crew to continue tweaking their sails during each race and learn how to perform at their peak, 100% of the time.
For now, the focus of the Lazy Dog focus is on the 2020 Rolex Sydney to Hobart, with the entire crew heading south on Quentin Stewart’s Infiniti 46 ‘Maverick’. With travel restrictions expected to still be in place for 2021, Shaun, Quentin and his team are looking forward to continuing their MC38 journey locally with a strengthening class.
Doyle Sails has become a world-leader in racing sails through a combination of practical on-the-water experience and continual product development. Whether rum racing on a Friday after work or racing around the world non-stop; Doyle can give you the edge you need to win.