Oskana powers up for West Coaster

Michael Pritchard’s canting keel Cookson 50 Oskana today gave a classic display of downwind power sailing under spinnaker in the final race of the Derwent Sailing Squadron/Battery World Winter Series.

On the first spinnaker run Oskana was hitting 20 knots-plus as she surfed across Sandy Bay, gybing downwind towards the leeward mark off the John Garrow Light.

Pritchard has been using the Winter Series to begin the preparation of Oskana and her crew for this year’s Melbourne to Hobart West Coaster ocean race.

Oskana and David Aplin’s Mbd35 Whistler are the only Tasmanian yachts so far entered for the West Coaster Race which starts from Port Phillip on 27 December.

Unfortunately, only four of the scheduled five DSS Winter Series races have been completed this year with bad weather leaving Oskana, Kindred Spirit, skippered by Alistair Douglas, and the Latham Syndicate’s J24 Another Toy the only three yachts to have sailed in at least three races.

Oskana missed the first race, but won Division 1 overall while Kindred Spirit,  a Mottle 33, completed all four  with three wins to take out Division 4.  Another Toy won today’s final race to clinch an overall victory in Division 2 with a series score of 1-2-1.

The final day of the DSS Winter Series was sailed in a 20 knot WSW wind with westerly gusts roaring down from Mount Wellington at up to 34 knots.

The squalls provided challenging conditions for the reduced fleet of a dozen boats with the two classic 8-metres, Juanita and Juana, relishing the strong breeze although forced to feather their big mainsails when hit by 30 knots and more off Maning Reef.

Although Oskana scored a comfortable line honours win,  handicap honours in the final race went to Juanita, with Jock Young on the helm.

Juanita won Division 1 today by four seconds on corrected time  from Peter Haros’ Northshore 38 Wings Three, third place going to Juana, helmed by Andrew Blakney.  Oskana placed fourth.

The Latham Syndicate’s J24, Another Toy, skilfully handled the strong breeze to win Division 2 from another J24, Zest (Matt Westland). Hot August Night (T Swann/J Pearson) placed third.

Only two boats started in Division 3 with Kindred Spirit winning a close fought match race from Cool Change (Chris Bobbi), 29 seconds across the line and 44 seconds on corrected time.

Today’s DSS/Battery World Winter Series wound up winter racing for 2018 conducted by the DSS, RYCT and BYC on the Derwent.

The first of Hobart’s spring/summer yacht racing will be the 50th Pipe Opener Series, starting with a night race from Hobart to Garden Island down the D’Entrecasteaux Channel on starting at 7.00pm on Friday week, 21 September.

Words: Peter Campbell

Photos:  Peter Watson, Peter Campbell

9 September 2018

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