What more could a Hobart sailor ask for on an early autumn day – a spinnaker run down and back up a sparkling River Derwent in mostly 10 knots of breeze, 25 degrees of temperature and a clear blue sky.
That was how the crews of 47 yachts would have enjoyed yesterday’s Combined Clubs long race, the penultimate summer pennant event of the 2017-2018 racing season.
The breeze could have been stronger, firstly from the nor’nor’west and then a sou’easterly sea breeze for the run home, and there was a windless ‘hole’ in Bull Bay.
Race official Mick Hocking described conditions ‘like glass’ before the sea breeze kicked in to replace the dying northerly.
Looking ashore to Bruny Island, crews could have seen the ruins of James Kelly’s whaling station of the early 1800s.
Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania race officer ‘Biddy’ Badenach sent the Group A fleet down to Bull Bay on the northern end of Bruny Island, a distance of 25 nautical miles.
With the likelihood of a fading breeze, Badenach kept the other groups within the river, rounding marks at Pigeon Holes and Blackman’s Bay, a course of 19 nautical miles.
Mike Pritchard’s Cookson 50, Oskana took line honours in Group 1, but only by one minute and 40 seconds from Scott Sharp’s Melges 32, Crusader with The Fork in the Road (Gary Smith) a further one minute and 53 seconds astern.
On corrected times, Crusader won Group 1 PHS category from The Fork in Road and War Games (Wayne Banks-Smith) but Don Calvert outsailed them all in the AMS and IRC, setting up his Castro 40 Intrigue for yet another summer pennant victory on the Derwent.
Intrigue won AMS from the two Mumm 36s, B&G Advantage (Jeff Cordell) and Madness (Gavin Adamson) and IRC from War Games and Madness.
With one Combined Clubs summer pennant race to sail, Intrigue now heads both AMS and IRC rating categories with Ian Stewart’s TasPaints retaining a narrow lead in PHS.
In Group 2, Peter Haros’ Northshore 38, Wings Three, won line, AMS and PHS honours, winning AMS from 42 South (Henry Finnis), PHS from Pirate’s Pride (Peter Masterton) and the syndicate-owned Twitch.
Group 3 also saw a double win for Andrew Wise’s Madman’s Woodyard, taking AMS from Silicon Ship (Gordon Clark and David Wyatt) and PHS also from Silicon Ship, third going to Footloose (Stewart Geeves).
Steve Chau’s Young 88, Young Lion retains the overall pointscore handicap leads in Group 3, finishing fourth yesterday.
In Group 4, first home was Neville Georgeson’s Hornet, but on corrected time Wayatih (Allan Morgan) placed first from Cool Change (Chris Bobbi) and Ingenue (Nigel Johnston).
Wayatih’s win places it just half a point behind Peter Alcock’s Kindred Spirit going into the final Combined Clubs summer pennant race on Saturday, 17 March.
Words and photos: Peter Cambell
4 February 2018