• Near-windless-start-for-the-race-first-held in-1898---Penny-Conacher-pic
    Near-windless-start-for-the-race-first-held in-1898---Penny-Conacher-pic
  • Helsal III enters the D'Entrecasteau-Channel-with-pace-on - Stephen Shield pic
    Helsal III enters the D'Entrecasteau-Channel-with-pace-on - Stephen Shield pic
  • Oskana led the race early to take line honours - Stephen Shield pic
    Oskana led the race early to take line honours - Stephen Shield pic
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Tasmania’s fastest ocean racing yacht, Oskana, has taken line honours for the second consecutive year in Tasmania’s oldest inshore/offshore yacht race, the 89 nautical mile JJ Richards Bruny Island Race.

The Cookson 50, owned and skippered by prominent Targa Tasmania driver Mike Pritchard, crossed the Castray finish line at 21.07 hours this evening.

Oskana, formerly known as Victoire, finished on the wind in a light north-westerly breeze after surfing at 15 knots, and more, up the Tasman Sea coastline of the elongated island south of Hobart.

After a frustratingly slow start in the River Derwent yesterday morning, Oskana finally gained the lead as the 19-boat fleet beat to windward down the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

Rounding Cape Bruny late this afternoon for the final leg up South Bruny’s rugged coastline, the fleet had to battle strong south-westerly winds gusting to 30 knots.

From the Friars, Oskana dashed away from her nearest rivals and the main fleet as she freed sheets and hoisted her massive Code 0 running sail.

As she crossed the line, Oskana was 7 nautical miles ahead of Gary Smith’s Bakewell-White 45, The Fork in the Road, with the veteran ocean racer Helsal II, skippered by David Stephenson, just over two miles astern. Then came Filepro (Tim Gadsby) and Shaun Tiedemann’s Philosopher.

Overall results will hinge on the winds overnight, but as Oskana finished, Philosopher was, according to the satellite tracker, holding unofficial first place on both IRC and AMS scoring. The Australian IRC champion yachts, which won the IRC division of the Bruny Race last year, has sailed an excellent race to be fifth in fleet with 18 nautical miles to sail.

Three yachts retired from the JJ Richards Bruny Island Race as the fleet beat to windward down the Channel: Crusader, Scott Sharp's Melges 32, last year's AMS and PHS division winner, Off-Piste, Paul Einoder's Beneteau Oceanis 34, and the then tail ender, Grove.

As Oskana finished this evening, the last boat in the fleet, Duncan and Dave McGill’s Mishief had just round the southern capes of Bruny Isand with 38 nautical miles to sail.

Peter Campbell

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