Double-handed Maverick cleans up in ORCV's 48th King Island Race

Sailing Maverick double-handed, Rod Smallman and Tom Vaughan have cleaned up in the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s 48th Melbourne to King Island Yacht Race, taking out IRC, PHS and Double-Handed divisions and capping off with a second in AMS in the 114 nautical mile race to Grassy in Tasmania. 

Double-handed racing is fast becoming à la mode in Australia, and Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600’s like Maverick are topping the podium at events in Australia and overseas.

Punching above her 11.7 frame is nothing new for Maverick. She and others like her have proved time and again they will not be bullied by their larger fully crewed counterparts, and Smallman’s years of experience, including placing top three in the ORCV’s 2018 Melbourne-Osaka Double-Handed Yacht Race, make the two a formidable package. 

“Tom (Vaughan) and I have previously done Westcoaster (Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race) together and he did the last Sydney Hobart with me. He’s amazing – for such a young head (24 years-old) he’s very stable. I love sailing with Tom. For his 18th birthday present, his dad, Martin (Commodore of the ORCV) took Tom on his first Sydney Hobart race on Wild Side in 2014 and he hasn’t looked back,” Smallman commented.

“I did the race with my son Tyson last year, and we pretty much had the same result, except Tom and I finished one better in AMS with second place this time. Last year’s race was really light though, and this year it was very heavy.”

Smallman gives credit to his boat too. “The Jeanneaus are incredible for double-handed sailing. The Sun Fast goes through the Bass Strait waves very well and we were fast. But we did well tactically too. I didn’t think we would be that competitive, as we didn’t have the weight for the rail in the heavier air. I think the tactics got us there in the end.”

A race for all-comers, of the 22 entries two were sailed double-handed (Maverick and Lord Jiminy), one Four + Autohelm (Spirit of Downunder, largely a family crew skippered by 82 year-old Laurie Ford), with the remainder fully crewed.

New to the race was E'toile, skippered by John Gordon who completed the ORCV’s Beyond the Bay program last year and made this his third ocean race and the first minus an ORCV mentor on board.

The race started with a 20 knot south-westerly beat. The wind veered slightly during the morning, when all but one tacked, pointing directly towards King Island.

On sunset, the tide turned, making it a challenge to maintain boat speed. Those who stayed east of the rhumbline scored better results. The first three over the finish line – Hartbreaker, Carrera S and White Noise – were within 1.2nm of each other, with the top two less than a few hundred metres apart. And just six minutes separated the fleet after the handicaps were put in place, making for an exciting race. 

Starting off Queenscliff and finishing in Grassy Harbour, King Island, a party awaits at the King Island Boat Club, making it a popular race. As Grant Dunoon pointed out, “It’s worth the trip – a great steak at the end, wonderful hospitality and a great destination.”

Rod Smallman agreed: “I love the race. It’s so good, a couple of the cruisers stayed on to make the best of some cruising. And the Club has this reputation for ripping out the best steak sandwiches – this time it was the best I’ve ever had. Everyone stays, because half the fun is the catch up at the end. And the people from the Club stay up all night for us.”

A band plays until the wee hours as the last of the fleet trickles in to the King Island Boat Club, which uses the race as their major fundraiser for the year: “Apparently, they make enough out of what we eat and drink to make it worthwhile,” Smallman said with a laugh. 

The First Melbourne to King Island Race started in 1973, a few months after the ORCV’s Westcoaster; meaning both will celebrate their half century editions in two years’ time. 

Top results:

White Noise (Daniel Edwards) 1st AMS, 2nd IRC
Maverick (Rod Smallman/Tom Vaughan) 2nd AMS, 1st IRC, 1st PHS, 1st D-H
Archie (Jeff Sloan) 3rd IRC, 2nd PHS
Vertigo (Tim Olding) 3rd AMS
Hartbreaker (Antony Walton) 3rd PHS 

For full results, please visit:

Di Pearson/ORCV media

M.O.S.S Australia
NAV at Home
Cyclops Marine
M.O.S.S Australia
West Systems