42 South has bearings right

Mark Ballard’s 42 South is in a commanding position in Division Two of the Combined Clubs Harbour Series, run by Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Derwent Sailing Squadron Inc and Bellerive Yacht Club, leading on both AMS and PHS handicaps with two race days left in the series.

Ballard’s top performances come as no surprise with the team carrying forward the success of the last summer season in which Ballard won on AMS and took out Division 2 of the Combined Clubs Series (harbour and long-distance races combined) on PHS.

Ballard, from the Bellerive Yacht Club, credits his success to the depth of experience on board. The accomplished crew boasts the likes of champion Dragon Class sailor Leigh Behrens and keelboat sailor Derek Inglis, who together with Ballard call tactics, while Lynn Green, Deb Maeder and Julie Hunt make up the regular contingent of six crew, taking on pit and trimming responsibilities.

The team certainly seems a well-oiled machine. “We rely on good communications on the boat, making sure that we have enough time when tacking and when setting up for difficult manoeuvres,” said Ballard.

Ballard, who has been sailing for 30 years and has sailed this boat in Hobart for only a couple of seasons, takes a conservative approach, preferring to opt for low risk sailing. “If it’s looking a bit iffy, we won’t put up the kite – that seems to have paid off for us so far, and we take the same approach on the start line – trying not to be too aggressive,” said Ballard.

The forecast for Saturday’s race is for a 10 to 15 knot nor’easter shifting south to southeasterly below 10 knots in the afternoon, with humid conditions and a thunderstorm expected, with the conditions suiting 42 South. “Our boat is very good downwind – and while she’s heavy with a wide stern, she relishes the light air. We also have an advantage over boats that run asymmetric kites, which I don’t think work particularly well in Hobart, because the wind either comes straight up or down the River,” said Ballard.

Division 2 will be without the Twitch Syndicate which has moved to Division 1 with the owners now campaigning a Mumm 36 (formerly Madness). Guilty Pleasures VI (Gary Cripps) leads on PHS in Division 1, while Rumbeat (Justin Barr) and Astrolabe (Peter Bosworth) lead on PHS in Divisions 3 and 4.

By Jane Austin

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