Ambition and the Cockwomble

Words: Liz Rountree

Michael Jones brings his Ambition to the Derwent as the newest entry in Division 2 of Saturday’s Combined Clubs Harbour Pennant hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. The custom 32-ft performance cruiser was “Born out of a few beers,” Jones says. “It started in 2010 as a mad idea, and then was built and launched in 2013.”
“We haven’t been sailing in a while, so we’re going for a bit of a laugh and have some fun.” But there could be more down the track. Normally based at Port Dalrymple, the team, which includes Jones’ daughter and son, looks forward to exploring the Derwent and adding some heat to the very competitive Div 2 fleet.
Current leader Kamehameha picked the shifts in the last Pennant, but the forecast for consistent sea breeze could even out the playing field. As one of the smallest boats in the fleet, they will have to keep up the precise crew-work that earned them the win.
Jim Thorpe of last year’s Div 2 Harbour Pennant winner Hydrotherapy says the crew thrives in this style of racing. “We enjoy that we’re active the whole race – a lot less just sitting on the rail – plenty more jobs for everyone.”
Joie de Vie and Innovator tail Zest in Division 3, with the champagne forecast to bring out a few fresh faces in the fleet to spice it up. Ben Morgan of joie de Vie says that it’s really about the team “[We’re] lucky to have a good crew of like-minded people who enjoy getting out on the water, doing our best, and enjoying a chat.”
We’ll see if Jazz Player’s brush with a whale tail during last week’s Maria race is just the call to focus it will take to face David Calvert’s winning mix of “youth and experience” aboard current Division 1 leader Intrigue.
With two starts and plenty of traffic at turning marks, there will be ample opportunity to pass or block other competitors, shave points off the score card, and move up in the standings. “Personally, it’s my favourite type of sailing,” says Ian Stewart of Joint Custody.
Current 3rd and 4th placed War Games and Plausible Alibi will make the most of both scheduled races to keep the pressure on. Gary Cripps on Guilty Pleasures is always looking to get one over on War Games for Tuesday breakfast bragging rights, which is all part of fun.
“Building community is really important,” says Cripps, “And we’ve certainly found that here in the Hobart sailing community.”
And strong communities make strong champions.
Like Cockwomble – current reigning IRC champions in Division 2 at the Australian Yachting Championships, winners of the prestigious RYCT Governor’s Cup, and this year’s Pipe Opener.
Andrew Smith and his team of homegrown young guns are ready to hit the line and mix it up, which is what Tasmanian yacht racing is all about.
Racing kicks off Saturday at 1:30pm, and the RYCT Race Management Team will be picking the best of the breeze to set the course.

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