Australian IRC champion yacht Philosopher looks right on target to retain her national title in Victoria and also must rank as favourite to win the Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race on corrected time.
Philosopher, a Sydney 36cr owned and skippered by Derwent Sailing Squadron general manager Shaun Tiedemann, had a brilliant final pre-Christmas race day on the River Derwent today, winning the both races under IRC and AMS rating categories.
The Combined Clubs Inshore Series race day provided challenging conditions (an early afternoon south-easterly front of 23-25 knots) for Philosopher and other Hobart yachts heading off shortly for races back from Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart.
The Riversdale Estate Wines Launceston to Hobart Race starts from Beauty Point on 27 December, with the Australian Yachting Championships on Melbourne's Port Philip in mid-January.
“This was high quality racing on the River Derwent,” DSS sailing manager Peter Watson commented. “Race Officer RO Neil Harris set the windward mark at 140 degrees magnetic and the wind isolated around that direction for the two races.
“The first of the day, Race 3, was a triangle followed by a windward return. The triangle suited the fast reaching X & Y which took line honours and first in Division 1 PHS.
“Race four comprised two windward/returns with the wind increasing to 23 knots plus. The fleet raced with the dramatic backdrop of the Iron Monarch, complete with its 500m exclusion zone, from which we kept well clear.”
Shaun Tiedemann's son, Sam, fresh from being a winning crewman for Michael Cooper's Export Roo in last weekend's SB20 Australian championship, helmed Philosopher with great skill in the strong and gusty wind and choppy waters on the River.
Philosopher was at her best in the first race of the day, race three of the Inshore Series, winning Division 1 IRC from Toby Richardson's harbour racer X&Y and Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster entrant Whistler (David Aplin).
In AMS, Philosopher won from Whistler and L2H entry Rad (Brent McKay). X&Y rocketed away from the fleet, winning on PHS from Philosopher and Filepro (Tim Gadsby).
The Sydney 36cr won the Division 1 IRC category of race four from L2H rival Filepro (Tim Gadsby) and Guilty Pleasures VI (Lewis and Cripps) and AMS from Whistler and Filepro.
Filepro had a good race, winning Division 1 PHS from Guilty Pleasures and X&Y.
Rolex Sydney Hobart entrant, 2Unlimited, Greg Prescott's modified Farr 40, was a casual entry. It finished second across the line in the first race of the day, but did not start in the second.
DSS Commodore Steve Chau had a winning day in Division 2 with his Young 88, Young Lion, winning IRC and AMS in the first race and repeating that effort in the second.
Alibi (Rod Williams) won race three in Division 2 PHS from Trouble (Mark Millhouse) and Moonshadow (Anthony Ellis) with Trouble reversing the 1-2 result in race four.
After four races in the Combined Clubs Inshore Series, Philosopher heads the IRC and AMS pointscores for Division 1 while Young Lion is number one in Division 2 IRC and AMS.