Boats from northern yacht clubs have yet to win a Launceston to Hobart race since it began seven years ago but Tamar Yacht Club vice commodore John Joyce is confident the four boats contesting this coming weekend’s race are good prospects.
Joyce will skipper Allusive, his Lyons 47 in the eighth National Pies Launceston to Hobart race starting on Saturday, December 27 from Beauty Point with a fleet of 24 boats, including one from Victoria.
The race is scheduled to start at 9:30am to give the fleet about two hours of outgoing tide on the lower reaches of the Tamar River. If winds are very light, the race officer can move the starting down the river towards George Town or even Low Head.
No northern boats have won line honours or overall AMS handicap honours in the 285 nautical mile race around Tasmania’s rugged north-east and east coast, but Allusive placed second to overall winner Masquerade in the 2011 race,
Another TYC entrant, David Allen’s Sydney 38 Obsession, placed third in the PHS division of the 2012 race.
Richard Fisher skippered his Beneteau 40.7. Blue Sky to first place in the PHS division and third in the AMS division of the 2009 race, but is competing this year.
Another previous TYC competitor, Nick Edmunds Adams/Radfordd 49, Haphazard placed third in the PHS division of the 2008 race.
The fleet in last year’s L2H was battered by galeforce winds and heavy seas down the east coast and in Storm Bay, with only seven boats completing the race.
“I think that Obsession, a Sydney 38, should be quite competitive against the southern boats under her AMS rating as well as in the PHS division, which is where we have entered Allusive,” Joyce said today.
In fact, all four northern boats have been sailing well in local races and are well organised for the longer race to Hobart.”
Allusive is a sturdy 47-foot pilot house cruiser/racer designed by David Lyons and is rather unusual these days in that she has an aluminium hull.
Allusive and a new L2H competitor, Cromarty Magellan, Richard Grant’s Knoop 39, will both represent the Tamar Yacht Club which is associated with the Derwent Sailing Squadron in conducting the race, including providing the starting officials.
Obsession and Lawless, Steve McElwee’s Green 31, both sail under the burgee of the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club which like the TYC has its sailing base at Beauty Point.
McElwee is former national dinghy class champion in Mirrors and NS14s, and is regarded as a most competitive sailor.
In fact, a highlight of the race is certain to be the duel between the smaller yachts for handicap honours if the race is a light weather sail down the east coast.
Lawless’ main competition will come from former L2H winner Footloose, Stewart Geeves’ Young 88, Kauilani, Malcolm Cooper Snook 30 which won all three handicap categories of this year’s Maria Island Race and CDC Development (Tas), better known as Hot Prospect, Ian Marshall’s well ratedd Farr 1104.
An unknown quantity will be the sole Victorian entrant, Absolut, an Archambault 35 owned by Richard Gates and Richard Tate from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.
– Peter Campbell