The Fork in the Road has taken line honours in the Riversdale Estate WInes Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race, crossing the finish just after six o’çlock this evening.
This is the sixth line honours victory for skipper Gary Smith who, as a young man, represented Australia at the Seoul Olympics in the Flying Dutchman class and also won world championships in Fireballs. He has since developed into one of Tasmania's outstanding keelboat skippers, achieving many offshore racing victories with The Fork in Road, a Bakewell-White 45, New Zealand designed but with the hull, rigging and sails Tasmanian made.
The Fork in the Road took command of the fleet off the Freycinet Peninsula on Tasmania's East Coast on Wednesday night following the retirement of multihull Tilt, owing to a torn mainsail.
During the day The Fork in the Road enjoyed fresh and favourable breezes, sweeping across Storm Bay the Derwent in a easterly sea breeze.
Passing the John Garrow light, the crew hoisted a Code O reaching sail, increasing her speed to more than 10 knots as she closed on the finish line off Battery Point at 18:03:11 hours
Second boat in the fleet, less than an hour astern of the line honours winner was Brent McKay’s Radford 35, Rad, representing the Kettering Yacht Club. Rad finished at 19:01; 57.
Close astern, at 19.03.11, came Jeff Cordell's Mumm 36 B&G Advantage with four more boats in the river by 8pm: Shere Khan, Team Whistler and Cromarty Magellan.
On provisional corrected times, based on the satellite tracker reports from the yachts, small boats were heading the lists.
Stewart Geeves’ Young 88 Footloose was holding first place in both AMS and PHS handicap categories while Mako, Phil Soley’s Farr-design, headed the IRC leader board.
Words: Peter Campbell