Hobart sailor’s medals in Melbourne and Portugal


Tasmanian men and women sailors today achieved podium finishes in prestigious yachting championship at Cascais, Portugal and on Melbourne’s Port Phillip.

On a windy Port Phillip today, Derwent Sailing Squadron member Colleen Darcey,  sailed the borrowed Melbourne yacht Absolut, an Archambault 35, to victory in the final race of the Australian Women’s’ Keelboat Regatta.

However, the win was not quite good enough to gain a first place overall in any of the three handicap divisions: AMS, IRC and EHC.

The all-women crew from Hobart’s major clubs, gained second overall under AMS and EHC scoring and third under IRC in which one point separated the top three boats.

In the AMS division,  Absolut finished two points behind the Victorian boat More Noise,  yesterday finishing the regatta with a third and a win.

Under EHC scoring, Absolut placed second overall, with a final day seventh and third, while in the IRC division three yachts finished just one point apart,  Absolut placing third and a second to take third overall.

“We sailed consistently through the regatta and finished on a high note with first across the line race 6 with winds gusting up to 30 knots,” tactician and RYCT Rear Commodore Claire Cunningham said after the final race.

“Bringing together a crew of experienced and not so experienced Tasmanian yachtswomen was quite a challenge, but we all gelled with great crew work around the course.

“Special mention must go to our helm Colleen who steered the whole day in socks and thongs after not being able to wear her sea boots!”

In Portugal, Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania director and DSS member Michael Cooper  skippered Export Roo to a close third overall in the Portuguese national championships for the SB20 sports boat class.

In a significant lead-up to the 2016 world championships, also at Cascais in August, Cooper missed second place overall on a countback to a leading British crew, with the winning crew from France.

Going into the last of nine races, Export Roo had been sharing first place overall with the French crew, but did not finish the final race... This became the Tasmanian boat’s discard, but also dropping it to third in final standings.

Export Roo’s scorecard read 8-4-4-5-3-8-2-3-DNF. Apart from the final race the Tasmanians were the only crew to finish in the top ten in every other race.

“We are very happy with our third,” skipper Cooper said after the final race. “The first two days were sailed on the inshore course and we got some great rides, although two boats broke their masts.

“We sailed well throughout and gave ourselves a chance to win on the last day…sailed offshore in 15-20 knots building to 25 knots.

“After two fantastic races (2nd and 3rd), the race committee took the final race back inshore as the wind had built.  After two failed start attempts at a start, the black flag came out and the fleet settled to get the final race underway.

“The Roo attacked the French team, but just didn’t quite execute a tack and the French just snuck through – with no way back for the Roo. “A great lesson from the world champions!” Cooper added.

The Portuguese championships attracted a fleet of 39 boats from a wide range of European nations.

The Club Naval de Cascais, which will host the 2016 world championship for the SB20 class, conducted the regatta. In addition to Export Roo, the Tasmanian fleet will be represented at the worlds by Phil Reid’s Mind Games.

Peter Campbell

13 June 2016

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