Combined Clubs Harbour Pennant – Intense, Fast and Furious

Words: Liz Rountree
Photos: Michael Vincent

Cockwomble managed to clip a bullet from Intrigue in the IRC ratings on Saturday, in the third race of the Combined Clubs Harbour Pennant, but otherwise it was another clean performance by Intrigue, the current Division 1 leaders.

“Boats like Intrigue don’t make many mistakes, so it was very close racing out there” adds Andrew Smith of Cockwomble.

The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s Race Management Team ran both scheduled races for Division 1 in record time, thanks to the solid sea breeze, the tight course and the fleet’s ability to throw their yachts around like dinghies.

“The breeze was a bit fresher than forecast, and the start line was good – I think everyone got away pretty well,” according to Andrew Scott of Showtime.

“We’re only small,” says Smith, “So starting we tried to be punched at the pin. But Jazz Player and War Games were onto us for the second start, and we had to fight from the back” – earning them a Line Honours finish.

“They were very quick races – very intense,” continues Smith. And the recipe for success? “We definitely have a lot of fun on the boat – never any raised voices. And well, when you have Tieds (Sam Tiederman) on board you’re guaranteed quite a lot of good banter.” 

Guest tactician Paul Burnell called the shots on the course for Cockwomble, “So we’ll give the chocolates to Burnie.”

Showtime had different sort of success. “We didn’t have a huge amount of experience on board for spinnaker racing – had a few people who had never sailed a kite before,” says Scott. “But we got a Sym and an Assym out, and everyone, even the experienced boys, learned and tried new roles. So it was very good –we were really happy how it went.

Unfortunately the team had to retire in the second when the clew ripped out of the mainsail. Scott said it was a preservation mode so they can get fixed in time for Thursday’s twilight.

And their plans for the season? “Our goals are to have people enjoy the sport and gradually progress,” says skipper Scott. “And if everyone progresses, we grow the sport and we all move forward.”

But that’s not all. “We’re looking to do the Bruny Race if we can get cat 3 [in time]. The Harbour races can be quite intense, quite fast and furious. So we’re looking to do 1 or 2 of those [long races] to give people a chance to slow down and take it in.”

Heatwave and Young Magic both grabbed a 2nd and 3rd each with Joint Custody right on their heels. Gary Smith’s Fork in the Road had smashing starts, the team now leads the Div 1 series on PHS.

In Division 2, IYKYK swept the day with Line Honours, ORC and IRC win. “We got in the groove early, got the boat settled down, and were able to catch a few good shifts off the Tranmere shore” says skipper Steve Chau. “We were cracking high 7s when I was concentrating,” the skipper admits.

“But the real reason we had to get back quickly was so Brainy (Scott Brain) could pick up his meat tray that he won at the club last night!” Hey – whatever it takes.

Boats like Hildr had moments where the kite work was a bit of a struggle, “We put a big one up in sort of medium conditions, so it was a bit hard at times,” admits skipper Kevin Jacobson. But it was worth it for the 10.5s they were clocking downwind.

“We had 4 first timers out with us today. So it was quite a bit going on with our spinnaker on the jibe downwind in the second leg,” says Wildfire skipper David Berechree. “And on our final leg we did lose our brace. So [the crew] learned to hold on while me and my co-owner Rob Booth sorted things out!”

But for Wildfire it was still a cracking day out.

“We had a great start and with the weight on our rails it was a good upwind, with consistent 8s downwind. So, all in all, a great result for us.”

Hornet took the double win in Division 3 with Line Honours and PHS, in a very competitive fleet, with only seconds between the majority of competitors on corrected time.

The day was not without a few foul ups with a few ripped sails or unruly kites, but thanks to an excellent Race Committee it was racing at its best.

Newcomer to the series Ambition debuted with 3rd over the line and a win on Div 2 PHS. 

“We’ve had an awesome day! Great to be out there with competitive boats,” reports Ambition skipper Michael Jones. “It’s a great regatta, well run, and we’re looking forward to coming down for the next one.”

The series continues mid-January, as sailors prepare for Summer offshore events such as next week’s Two Capes Race.

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JPK 11.80 July 2024