Ichi Ban and Chinese Whisper to vie for Newcastle Bass Island Race honours

Chinese Whisper

Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban and Rupert Henry’s Chinese Whisper will head a line-up of line and handicap honours chasers in race three of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Blue Water Pointscore, the 200 nautical mile Newcastle Bass Island Yacht Race, starting on Sydney Harbour at 1900 hours this Friday evening local time.

Allen steered his Carkeek 60 to line honours in the inaugural 200 nautical mile race and generated a new record of 20 hours 52 minutes and 49 seconds. He also finished third overall behind winner Shogun V, and Darryl Hodgkinson’s Cookson 50 Victoire, which are among the starters for this race.

Allen said today he had not thought about his race record, but said, “It’s unlikely we’d beat our time of last year because the weather looks slow going and the front will come too late for the bigger boats – it will help the smaller boats.”

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast indicates north to north-easterly winds of 15-25 knots are on the cards for Friday while the likely scenario for Saturday is 15-25 knot northerly winds, shifting east to south-easterly at 10-15 knots during the evening.

Earlier in the year, Allen purchased Shogun V from Rob Hanna, rechristening her Ichi Ban. He dominated at Airlie Beach Race Week to win Division 1 before finishing second in Division A to the brand new TP52, Beau Geste, in the Australian IRC Championship at Hamilton Island, but he has chosen his two-year old Carkeek for this race.

Rupert Henry’s promising JV62, Chinese Whisper, is considered a major threat for the prominent six-race BWPS series, to be decided by the outcome of the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in December.

Purchased out of Europe this year, Chinese Whisper made a promising entrance to the Australian racing scene and to the BWPS. She finished third on line to Perpetual Loyal and Black Jack and second overall in July’s Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and took line honours and third place overall in the Flinders Islet Race in September.

“It will be interesting to line up against Chinese Whisper,” Allen, said.

“We haven’t really sailed this Ichi Ban since Hobart and the modifications that we made just before that race. We took it out for the Wednesday afternoon race to check the systems and just to sail it again, and it all looks good,” he ended. 

With two BWPS races put to bed, Henry’s yacht holds a five-point advantage in both IRC and ORCi pointscores, over the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Victoire, Paul Clitheroe’s TP52 Balance and Tony Kirby’s Ker 40 Patrice. The latter three are placed second to fourth overall in both pointscores, on an equal 10 points. 

Two golden oldies, at 30 and 34 years-old respectively, are next best situated in both pointscores. Wild Rose (Roger Hickman), the reigning Rolex Sydney Hobart champion, is in the wings in fourth place, while recent Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race winner, Quikpoint Azzurro (Shane Kearns), is fifth.  

Les Goodridge’s Wax Lyrical holds the upper hand under PHS. The X50 is five points ahead of Noel Cornish’s Sydney 47 St Jude, while Richard Williams’ Sydney 38, Calibre, is third placed. 

The Newcastle Bass Island Race was added to the BWPS last year. Starting off Point Piper, it takes the fleet to Newcastle then south Bass Island, one nautical mile south-east of Flinders Islet, then back to the Rushcutters Bay finish line.

By Di Pearson, CYCA Media 

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