Tasmanian yachtsman Shaun Tiedemann and his young, but highly experienced crew, today sailed Hobart’s ‘gun boat’ Philosopher to its second consecutive IRC rating win in the prestigious Australian Yachting Championships on Victoria’s Port Phillip.
Philosopher, a Sydney 36cr, will now go for a unique hat-trick in the 2020 championships to be sailed on Hobart’s River Derwent and Storm Bay on 3-5 January next year, immediately following the 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
In January 2018, Philosopher became the first Tasmanian boat to win an IRC title at the Australian Yachting Championships and has now won back-to-back titles.
In an outstanding summer of sailing for the Derwent Sailing Squadron club manager, Philosopher has also won IRC overall honours in the Maria Island and Launceston to Hobart races this season.
The young crew of Philosopher (not counting the owner/skipper) has an average of 23 and a wealth of sailing successes in off-the-beach classes, high performance skiffs and sports boats before joining the racing yacht.
The winning crew, in addition to the owner/skipper, comprised his son Sam as helmsman, along with Elliott Noye, Alec Bailey, Oli Burnell, Chris Jones, Tom Stearnes and Will Sargent.
“They are all ex-Cadet sailors, including my son Sam, and they’ve come back to keelboat sailing on Philosopher, which is important for the sport. I get to sail with my son and he gets to sail with his mates,” a proud Shaun Tiedemann said this evening.
In a day when the temperature soared to the mid-30s on the bay, with light and fickle winds, only seconds separated the three IRC Division E boats, Philosopher, fellow Tasmanian David Aplin’s MBD36, Whistler, and Chutzpah38, skippered by renowned Victorian yachtsman Bruce Taylor.
Chutzpah won the first two races of the day, Whistler took out the third and final race, but Philosopher’s 2-(3)-2 was sufficient for her to retain her Australian IRC championship by three points, having scored three wins and a second place on the previous two days.
Whistler had a great series, beaten for second place by Chutzpah on a countback, with a series score of 2-2-(3)-3-1-3-2-1. In the final race Whistler beat Philosopher across the finish line by just one second and won on corrected time by 17 seconds.
Whistler’s owner/skipper David Aplin commented at the end of the regatta: "We are really happy with how we went. As the regatta went on. we improved and we were stoked to end up winning two of the races.
“We have a great team onboard and now know what we need to work on in preparation for next year’s IRC championships in Hobart.” Whistler’s programme is also to contest the 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart next December.
Navigator Jo Breen added: "The racing was brilliant. Even though the fleet was small, the results reflect just how close it was out there. We continued to improve as the regatta went on."
IRC Division 1 of the Australian Yachting Championships went to Australian Sailing President Matt Allen, sailing his TP52 Ichi Ban after a close-fought series against runner-up Hooligan (Marcus Blackmore).
IRC Division 2, saw an almost unbeaten record by Ray Robert’s Team Hollywood which won seven straight races only to finish second in the final race.
Most yachts in the Australian Yachting Championships, including Philosopher and Whistler, will contest the huge Festival of Sails regatta at Royal Geelong Yacht Club over the Australia Day weekend.
Philosopher will contest the full-on IRC Racing division while Whistler sail in the Cruising division with her AMS rating.
Words: Peter Campbell, Lisa Ratcliff
Photos: Caitlin Baxter
24 January 2019