L2H Handicap winners – Off-Piste gets bridegroom to the church on time

Paul Einoder’s Beneteau Oceanis 34 Off-Piste has dominated handicap results in the 2015 National Pies Launceston to Hobart Yacht, today being named Overall winner, including taking first place on corrected time in both the AMS and IRC handicap divisions.

The striking-looking, blue-hulled yacht from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania also placed second in the PHS division, won by Stephen McElwee’s Green 31 Lawless from the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club.

Lawless and Off-Piste raced up the Derwent together on Tuesday evening with Lawless crossing the line just over 16 minutes ahead to take corrected time honours under PHS scoring. Lawless was not nominated for either the AMS or IRC handicap categories.

Small yachts filled all but one divisional placing on corrected time in this slow race which saw the line honour’s winner, Gary Smith’s The Fork in the Road’s elapsed time of 2 days and 49 seconds being the slowest in the nine L2H races so far sailed.

It was an especially frustrating race for crew member James Pirie who was due to be married at Pipers Brook, north of Launceston, last evening.

We sat looking at the same piece of coastline south of Banks Strait through three watches and even considered some contingency plans,” said skipper Paul Einoder, a Hobart orthopaedic surgeon at yesterday prize-giving at the Derwent Sailing Squadron.

Then, he too, had to make a dash north up the Midland Highway to be best man at the wedding.

Smart tactical sailing in the light winds down Tasmania’s East Coast saw Off-Piste steady improve her position in the fleet, especially against her peers in the 30-34 foot LOA (length overall) group in the 27 boat fleet.

Off-Piste crossed the finish line in 19th place and with the slow race favouring low rating boats on corrected times, won the AMS category and thus became overall winner of 2015 National Pies Launceston to Hobart.

The Beneteau Oceanis 34 won the AMS division from Michael Hutchinson’s Hobie 33 Emotional Rescue from the Derwent Sailing Squadron, third place going to Silicon Ship, David Wyatt and Gordon Clark’s Knoop 32, from Bellerive Yacht Club.

Off-Piste also took out the IRC rated Division, winning Tony Williams’ IMS 38 Martela from BYC, the only yacht above 11m LOA to gain a place on corrected time. Third in the IRC division was Malcolm Cooper’s Snook 30 which was the third last boat to finish.

The win by the 9.7m LOA Lawless in PHS was only the second division (category) victory by a yacht from a Tamar yacht club in the nine L2H races.

Skipper Stephen McElwee, a former Mirror dinghy state and national champion, is a committee member of the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club of which his father Ian was a founding member. Stephen’s son Nick was in the crew of Lawless.

Originally designed, built and raced by Victorian yachtsman John Green, Lawless finished second overall in the stormy 1984 Sydney Hobart in which 105 boats retired from the fleet of 151 starters.

McElwee has owned Lawless for the past decade and has contested several L2H races with the 2015 race his most successful. Well positioned as the fleet sailed down on the East Coast, MCElwee sailed a course relatively close inshore and picked some favourable breezes.

In the PHS category, Lawless won from Off-Piste and Silcon Ship to complete almost a clean sweep handicap results for yachts in 30 to 34 foot LOA range.

Lawless also won the trophy for first yacht under 10m to finish, while the trophy for navigator of the winning yacht went to Greg Rowlings, Mistraal won the new Cruising division and the trophy for first woman to finish was won by Grace Stearns who sailed on Emotional Rescue.

Most yachts in the L2H race are expected to hoist their sails again on Saturday, 2 January to contest the National Pies King of the Derwent which is the final event for the coveted Three Races Trophy.

Peter Campbell

JPK August 2023
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