The Time Lord of Hobart yachting, Roger Jackman’s Doctor Who, on Saturday sailed to a double handicap victory in the opening race of the Combined Clubs Summer Pennant on the River Derwent.
Flying her new masthead spinnaker, the Davidson 52 excelled in the light breeze, with helmsman Rod Jackman picking the right wind shifts to take corrected time honours under both Division 1 PHS and IRC scoring categories, although IRC results are provisional.
Designed and built in New Zealand in 1983, Doctor Who has been a consistent harbour and ocean race winner in Tasmanian waters and also won the IMS division of the 1990 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
A fleet of 41 keelboats contested the first of nine Summer Pennant Races, sailed on a river course, starting and finishing off Castray Esplanade. Because of the light winds, the course was shortened for all divisions, the last boats crossing the line close to 5.00pm.
Derwent Sailing Squadron Vice Commodore Nick Connor described the quality and quantity of the fleet as “excellent” for the first race of the Combined Clubs season.
“Although the sun shined brightly on a beautiful spring day, the fickle winds of the River Derwent weren’t so pleasing for skippers and crews.
“Large holes in the wind appeared all over the course, with Division 1 boats in particular affected as the Eastern shore bore the brunt of the uncooperative breeze,” he added.
Doctor was fifth in fleet to finish and on corrected time took first place in the PHS category from Toby Richardson’s X&Y and Wayne Banks-Smith’s War Games.
With IRC results provisional because of some yachts not yet receiving new rating certificates, Doctor Who has been placed first from Hughie Lewis and Gary Cripps Farr 40 Guilty Pleasures and Gary Smith’s Fork in the Road, which finished less than a minute astern of Mike Pritchard’s Oskana at the finish.
War Games, another Farr 40, won the Division 1 AMS from The Fork in the Road and Don Calvert’s Intrigue.
For the first time, IRC scoring has been extended to Divisions 2 and 3, with Hobart yachtsmen embracing this rating system as the major handicapping category for Combined Club racing.
So far more than 50 boats in southern Tasmania have, or are getting IRC rating certificates as a lead-up to the Australian Yachting Championships to be sailed on the Derwent in January 2020, following the 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
This number is three times the number competing under IRC in Combined Clubs pennant racing last summer.
In Division 2 yesterday , provisional IRC honours went to Wings Three, Peter Haros’ Northshore 38, from Illusion, David Brett’s Hanse 400e and Natelle Two (Glen Roper0.
DSS Commodore Steve Chau won Division 3 IRC with his Young 88, Young Lion, second place going to Footloose (Stewart Geeves), also a Young 88, third to Moonshadow, Anthony Ellis’ Lotus design.
Prominent Bellerive Yacht Club member Ian Stewart had a first-up win with his new boat, Southern Swordfish, an Northshore 38, taking out Division 2 PHS and finishing second under AMS scoring to Illusion.
Runner-up in Division 2 PHS was the Farr 1104 Rumbeat (Justin Barr), third Pirate’s Pride (Peter Masterton). Third in AMS was Wings Three.
In Division 3 AMS, three Young 88s duelled for first place on corrected time, with Young One (N Mills/J Nibbs) winning from Young Lion (Steve Chau) and Footloose (Stewart Geeves).
The syndicate-owned Wildfire, a Farr 31, won Division 3 PHS from Young One and Trouble (Mark Millhouse).
Nigel Johnston’s metre-styled Ingenue had an outright in Division 4 after a close duel with Kindred Spirit (Peter Alcock) for line and handicap honours. Third was Mimi (Kevin Jacobson).
A total of 50 boats have so far entered the Combined Clubs Summer Pennant.
Next Saturday will see the first day of the Combined Clubs Inshore Series with a midriver starts for up to three short races.
– Peter Campbell