Short-Handed Sailing in Autumn Airs

Come autumn and many keen Hobart yacht owners find they don’t have the problem of rounding up a full crews to help them race on the Derwent.

It’s now all about two-handed racing with just two sailors on board (in some divisions three) as against summer racing crews of between three and ten crew, depending on the size of the boat.

The Combined Clubs Two-Handed Long Race Series ended on Sunday, unfortunately restricted to two races because of bad weather on the first scheduled sailing day.

The series attracted 17 entrants, and although only nine boats contested Sunday’s race they nevertheless provided a colourful spinnaker start in a light northerly off Bellerive Yacht Club’s Victoria Esplanade starting box.

Both divisions went down the eastern shore to a mark off Tranmere, returning to finish off Victoria Esplanade.

Luckily for the fleet a light NE breeze developed along the eastern shore for the return leg with no wind in the middle of the River Derwent.

BYC member Mark Ballard’s 42 South won the Division 1 AMS category of the final race while Planet X (Jory Linscott) won PHS.

Overall, Off-Piste, Paul Einoder’s Beneteau Oceanis 34 Off-Piste from the RYCT won Division 1 AMS with a 1-3 score on a countback from Whistler (David Aplin) also from the RYCT, which had two seconds, third place going to 42 South.  The PHS overall trophy went to Whistler from 42 South and Planet X.

Off-Piste’s racing record is certainly versatile:  first overall in the 2015 Launceston to Hobart Race, first in AMS in the 2018 Bruny Island Race and now first in AMS in the Combined Clubs Two-Handed Long Race Series.

In Division 2, Graham Hall’s Serenity took out the series with place on Sunday following a win in race one.  Second overall went to Sunday’s winner, Whoop De Doo (Thomas Macdonald).

Next Sunday, 15 April, will see the start of the Derwent Sailing Squadron’s popular Autumn Two-Handed Series, also known as ‘Gilbert’s Two-Handed Series’ in honour of club stalwart and life member Gilbert Leitch who introduced this concept of yacht racing on the river.

The DSS Autumn Two-Handed Series comprises five races through to 13 May with the individual clubs’ Winter Series starting with Bellerive Yacht Club on 27 May.

Early entries for the DSS Autumn Two-Handed Series range from the SB20 Mind Games to the Sydney Hobart racer Oskana.

Over the winter, BYC, Derwent Sailing Squadron and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania will conduct their Winter Series, sailing on alternative Sunday mornings.

Words:  Peter Campbell

Photos:   Peter Watson

9 April 2018

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