Close scoring in Autumn Short-Handed Series on Derwent

With only two more races to sail, competition is tight for top honours in the Derwent Sailing Squadron/Quantum Autumn Short-Handed Series 2015 being sailed on Hobart River Derwent.

The 52-boat fleet enjoyed a good breeze in mild autumn weather for today’s race four, which produced five new winners in the six divisions and shortened the overall pointscores in each fleet.

A northerly breeze which eased during the morning from 12 to 10 knots enabled DSS race officers to set a largely windward/leeward course between the Tasman Bridge and Nutgrove Beach for the four spinnaker and two non-spinnaker divisions.

The only down note today was a crunching collision between Jory Linscott’s Cole 23 Acacia II and Luke Kiely’s Trick Cyclist in Division 4 which saw Acacia II badly holed in its topsides.

Division 1 (spinnaker) saw a new handicap winner in John Wearne’s Hick 35 Fish Frenzy, but Chris Sheehan’s Young 88 Saga still heads the leaderboard despite placing fourth today.

Saga is four points clear of Trouble (Dave Willans) which placed second today with Fish Frenzy now a close third overall.

Only two points separate Hydrotherapy (Jim Thorpe) and Silver Mist (Andrew Sutherland) at the head of Division 2 (non-spinnaker) with today’s winner Ciao Baby II, Gary Cripps’ Sydney 38, moving up to third overall. Ciao Baby II led the fleet around the course to win from Hydrotherapy and Silver Mist.

Veteran sailor Norm Brundle has a more comfortable points margin of six points in Division 3 (non-spinnaker) from Trad Jazz (Chris Thompson) and Vistula (Greg Biskup). First place on corrected time today went to the Traditional 30 Take Five (Ian Gannon) from Rotary, the winning margin on corrected time just three seconds. Allez-Oop (Alan Nelson) placed third.

The biggest lead after four races is 15 points held by Rod Chamberlain, sailing Elliott 1, with a series score to date of 2-1-2-3 in Division 4 (spinnaker). Elliott 1, one of RYCT’s newly acquired fleet of Elliott 6s, holds this huge lead from Serenity (Graham Hall) which is one point ahead of Elliott 5 (Dan Woods).

While Elliott 1 once again set the pace, first place on corrected time went to Hi Vis (Matt Westland) with Storm Petrel (James Anderson) second and Elliott 1 third.

In Division 5, the spinnaker fleet for SB20s, first place on corrected time today went to Mind Games (Phil Read) with just 15 seconds to Masterclass, helmed by teenage Laser 4.7 champion Sam King who beat line honours winner Brainwave (Scott Brain) for second place by just one second.

Mind Games and Masterclass were casual entries, leaving Hypertronics (Stephen Catchpool) heading the pointscore by two points from Brainwave with Karabos (Nick Rogers) third overall.

The modified Huon 10 Planet X, skippered by Mike Rowley, won its second consecutive race in Division 6 (three-up, spinnaker) and heads the pointscore from Wings Three (Peter Haros) and Pisces (David Taylor). Planet X won today from Pisces and Sirocco (John Macintosh).

Peter Campbell

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