The doyen of Hobart keelboat racing, Don Calvert, has given himself an early 83rd birthday present, scoring a hat-trick of wins with his 34-year-old yacht Intrigue in the Combined Clubs Summer Pennant on the River Derwent.
Skillfully skippered in the variable River Derwent breezes by the near 83-year-old Calvert (his birthday is on 26 November) Intrigue took first place on corrected time in all three handicap categories, IRC, AMS and PHS.
This in itself is a rare achievement in the highly competitive River Derwent fleet, but one must remember that Intrigue was built back in 1985 from Tasmanian timbers and owner/skipper Calvert has been racing boats on the river for something like 70 years.
It would seem he can sense every shift in the breeze, judging by Intrigue’s remarkable performance yesterday, outsailing several bigger boats around the river course to finish seventh in the 45 boat fleet.
Yesterday saw Intrigue excel both downwind and upwind (to the finish) to win the IRC category of Division 1 from Madness (Gavin Adamson) and Doctor Who (Rod Jackman).
Under AMS scoring, Intrigue won from B&G Advantage (Jeff Cordell) and Madness and under PHS, the top three were Intrigue, Madness and B&G Advantage.
In other IRC results, Wings Three (Peter Haros) won Division 2 and Young Lion (Steve Chau) took out Division 3.
Wings Three won Division 2 IMS from Rumbeat (Justin Barr) and Illusion (David Brett) and the PHS category from Juana (Jock Young) and Illusion.
In Division 3 Young Lion added an AMS win, placing first on corrected time from Young One (Nathan Mills and Jay Nibbs) and Groove (Will Justo).
Under PHS scoring, the Division 3 went to Groove with Trouble (Mark Millhouse) taking second place and Wildfire (Team Wildfire) third,
Division 4 produced a new winner for the season, with Hornet (Neville Georgeson) scoring an outright win. Second on corrected time was Spinner (Peter Limb) while third went to Wayatih (Allan Morgan).
Race three attracted 45 starters from the fleet of 52 yachts entered in the Combined Clubs Summer Pennant, the largest fleet of the season so far, on a cool day that saw the breeze swing from the north-west to the west and finally to a freshening sou’wester.
The river race did little to suggest who might be the favourites for IRC handicap honours in next weekend’s Maria Island Race.
Maria Island Race entrant Mike Pritchard’s Oskana took line honours from harbour racer X&Y (Toby Richardson) while The Fork in the Road (Gary Smith) finished third, just four seconds ahead of the harbour racing Farr 40, War Games (Wayne Banks-Smith).
On corrected times, however, Oskana placed 11th on IRC handicapping while other the Maria Island entries, Philosopher, Shaun Tiedemann’s Sydney 36cr, placed sixth and Zephyr (Ian Johnston) 12th in Division 1.
In Division 2, Wings Three (Peter Haros) had a great day including winning on IRC while Ilusion placed third.
Mischief (Duncan MacGill) which has entered PHS and IRC in the Maria Island Race, finished last in Division 3 PHS and sixth in AMS today.
Fifteen yachts have entered the Maria Island Race which starts off Castray Esplanade next Friday evening, with 2Unlimited, Greg Prescott’s modified Farr 40 a late entry.
This will be the first race for Prescott with his newly acquired boat, the former Farr 40 one-design champion Estate Master, which he has entered for the 74th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
– Peter Campbell