Whistler, one of Tasmania’s most prolific long race winners, today began another season on a winning note, taking IRC and AMS handicap honours in the Channel Race, the first event of the summer season.
Traditionally run by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania on the day after the colourful Opening Day of the Sailing season, the Channel Race attracted a quality fleet of 22 yachts for the 20 nautical mile race down the Derwent to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and return.
Skippered by David Alpin, Whistler, a Murray Burns Dovell-designed 35 footer, finished the course only 17 minutes astern of line honors winner The Fork in the Road (Gary Smith).
On corrected time, Whistler won the IRC category by a comfortable 10 minutes from Filepro (Tim Gadsby), third place going to The Fork in the Road.
The winning margin was even bigger under AMS scoring with the placings the same.
At the top of owner/skipper Aplin’s racing program is to contest the Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster this year followed next year by the 75th Sydney Hobart.
Despite being late for the start by several minutes, Gary Smith steered The Fork in the Road through the fleet and overtook Oskana on the return leg from the Channel, taking line honours by just over two minutes.
PHS handicap honours in Division 1 went to Ciao Baby II (Bill Batt) from File (Tim Gadsby) and Whistler.
With the Combined Clubs encouraging yacht owners to obtain IRC rating certificates, the RYCT calculated IRC results for three of the four divisions of the Channel Race.
In Division 2, first place on IRC went to Wings Three (Peter Haros) and in Division 3 to Footloose (Stewart Geeve).
Wings Three also placed first in Division 2 under AMS scoring, with Rumbeat (Justin Barr) first in PHS.
The small sports boat Whoop De Doo, an Elliott 7 skippered by Tom Macdonald, won the strongly contested Division 3 on PHS scoring from Footloose and Barcoo (John Cole-Cook), the recent winner of the Cock of the Huon.
Only two boats finished Division 3 with an outright win going to Innovator (Ian Smith and Dean Aberley).
– Peter Campbell