Glen Roper’s veteran yacht Natelle Two began her Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race campaign today on a winning note, as a casual entrant in the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s final Winter Race.
The Peterson 41 revelled in the fresh to strong morning northerly breeze that averaged 18-20 knots, gusting to 24 knots, finishing fifth in fleet and first in Division 2, beating overall Winter Series winner Footloose and line honours winner Peregrine, David Stephenson’s Farr 40, on corrected time.
Roper’s daughter Laura will skipper Natelle Two in the 70th Sydney Hobart, sailing under the burgee of the Geilston Bay Boating Club, one of an expected contingent of nine or ten Tasmanian yachts in the Boxing Day fleet.
The Good Guys-sponsored RYCT Winter Series ended with only 16 starters in the two Divisions, enjoying the freshest breeze of the winter and certainly the warmest winter’s morning on the Derwent this year.
The temperature in Hobart on this final day of winter reached 20 degrees but tomorrow the maximum forecast is down to 12 degrees, with another dump of snow on Mount Wellington.
Peregrine won a race-long duel with Toby Richardson’s Fred Barrett-designed 38-footer, X & Y, with the Farr 40 getting a vital break at the leeward mark for the first time when X & Y’s crew appeared to have difficulty in sheeting home the headsail.
With Natelle Two a casual entry, first place on the Winter Series pointscore went to Footloose (Kaye Roberts and Stewart Geeves) giving the Young 88 her second win of the series for a net overall score of 7 points, six clear of David Taylor’s modified Sydney 36, Pisces. Two points back, on 16 points, was Nick Rogers’ SB20 Karabos, which placed sixth today.
In Division 3, octogenarian yachtsman Tom Kirkland did not start in the final race with Ragtime, taking out the Winter Series by one point from last race winner Ingenue (Nigel Johnston).
Ingenue took second on a countback from Vistula (Gregory Biskup) with the decider being Ingenue’s fourth to Vistula’s fifth in race two.
In today’s final race, Ingenue had a 40 second win on corrected time from Kindred Spirit (Alastair Douglas), third place going to Riverdance (Wayne McNeice).