Derwent Sailing Squadron’s unique ocean racing wins

Derwent Sailing Squadron last weekend achieved a unique tally of ocean racing victories, its members and their yachts scoring overall handicap wins in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the Melbourne to Hobart, and the Squadron’s own race, the Riverdale Estate Wines L2H (Launceston to Hobart).

DSS member’s boats also took line honours in the Melbourne to Hobart and the Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster, a club tally of ocean race wins unprecedented in Australia, perhaps internationally.

Alive, a Reichel Pugh 66 owned by Phillip Turner and skippered by Duncan Hine, became only the third Tasmanian yacht to win the Tattersalls Cup as overall winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Since acquiring the ‘pocket maxi’ four years ago, Turner and Hine have notched up a string of national and international wins, including a record-breaking Melbourne to Vanuatu race and now the nation’s most coveted ocean racing trophy, the Tattersalls Cup.

On Wednesday, the powerful Alive spreadeagled the fleet in the Derwent Boat Sales King of the Derwent, the iconic round-the-buoys race for yachts post the ocean races.

Turner and Hine are now planning an ocean racing campaign in the USA culminating with the TransPac race from California to Hawaii in March 2019.

Philosopher, a Sydney 36cr owned and skippered by Shaun Tiedemann, with his son Sam as principal helmsman, won the Riversdale Estate Wines L2H at its first attempt, following winning the Maria Island Race in November.

Philosopher is a current Australian IRC champion and later this month will be sailed to Melbourne to defend that title on Port Philip before again contesting the Geelong Festival of Sail  regatta.

A feature of the sailing campaign by Shaun Tiedemann has been to run a youthful crew for inshore racing, adding more experienced offshore sailors for the L2H.  His son Sam is a former National champion in International Cadets and several other crew graduated from Cadets.

Whistler, a MBD36 owned by David Aplin, made a clean sweep of handicap honours, IRC, AMS and PHS, in the Melbourne to Hobart West Coaster, adding to her long list of successes in offshore racing, including the Maria Island Race and the Three Peaks Race.

She also won the Ocean Club of Victoria’s Sovereign Series with her high ranking results in the Cock of the Bay, the Melbourne to Hobart and the King of the Derwent in which she was runner-up to winner Lawless.

David Aplin has set a rare status as owner/skipper of Whistler…he is the bowman and never touches the tiller, carrying on the role he held when the boat was owned by the late John Hyslop.

“I’ve been the bowman on Whistler for the last 10 years and I didn’t want to change just because I bought the boat….our two helms, Nat Morgan and Tim Jones, are just phenomenal.”

Aplin has big plans for Whistler over the next five years, starting with the 75th Sydney Hobart in 2019, followed by the inaugural Sydney to Auckland race in 2012.  Aplin and navigator Jo Breen will then refit Whistler for a double-handed campaign with their sights on the 2023 Melbourne to Osaka double-handed race.

Two other DSS members and their boats, Michael Pritchard with his Cookson 50 Oskana and Gary Smith, skipper the Bakewell-White 46,  added to the Squadron’s spoils by taking line honours in the Westcoaster and the L2H.

Oskana rewarded Pritchard and his crew with some magnificent highspeed spinnaker runs down Tasmania’s West Coast to take line honours in the Melbourne to Hobart.

The Fork in the Road survived bursts of 60 knot and more off Tasman Island in the Launceston to Hobart with great steering by Steve Walker and good seamanship by the entire crew to take line honours in the L2H for the seventh time in 12 races.

None of their wins came easy, seamanship being the key to survival in wild storms off Tasman Island and south of Bruny Island.

“This unique series of ocean racing wins by boats from one club are a credit to Hobart’s second oldest and very active yacht club, based in Marieville Esplanade, Sandy Bay and now boasting the largest club marina in Tasmania,” says ‘Mercury’ yachting writer Peter Campbell who covered these famous races and compiled this report for today’s Boating Page in the newpaper.

Words:  Peter Campbell

Photos: Peter Watson

5 January 2019

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