Wild westerlies cut Barnes Bay Regatta fleet as Tasmanian season winds up

The sheltered waters within Barnes Bay on Bruny Island proved more hospitable than the windswept open waters of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel yesterday afternoon for yachts contesting the Barnes Bay Regatta which winds up the summer sailing season in southern Tasmania.

With westerly winds gusts to 35 knots plus in the Channel, race officer Nick Corkhill wisely set a short course within the bay, but less than half the entered yachts elected not to race in the still difficult sailing conditions.

Originally the Kingborough Boating Club, organisers of the regatta, had planned on sending the fleet on a ‘touring’ race around several marks in the open waters of the Channel from Barnes Bay and return. The rest of the of 28 yachts that earlier in the day had sailed south from Hobart to Bruny Island in a pursuit race from Wrest Point to Dennes Point chose to find sheltered anchorages off the old quarantine station on Bruny Island and recover from a hard race down the river.

Division 1 winner of the Tassal Barnes Bay Regatta race, John Mills’ Nexedge revelled in the strong to near galeforce winds as she did when, as Micropay Cuckoos Nest, she won the 1993 Sydney Hobart Race in which only 38 boats out of 104 starters finished.

Nexedge, from Bellerive Yacht Club, sailed the short two-triangle regatta race in 36 minutes, finishing just 15 seconds ahead of Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania entrant Tilt (Peter Cretan). On corrected time Nexedge’s win was even closer, winning Division 1 by just 8 seconds from Ian Stewart’s TasPaints, also from BYC. Third place went to Mick Souter’s It Happens, making up for missing the finish line in the race from Hobart.

In Division 2, Mark Dawson’s l’Etoile won from Young Lion, skippered by Colleen Darcey, third place going the Moonshadow (Anthony Ellis). In Division 3, Eenee, skippered by Sue Allison-Rodger, scored an outright win from the classic yacht Trevassa (Greg, Ross and John Muir). Take 5 (Ian Gannon) took third place.

Yesterday morning, the 14 nautical mile pursuit race from Wrest Point to Dennes Point was sailed at a cracker with Richard Fader’s Buizen 52, Infinity a fast cruiser racer, sailing through the fleet to win the race overall.

With the WNW wind averaging 20 knots and gusting to 30 knots nearing Dennes Point, Infinity had an elapsed time of one hour and 36 minutes beating the Marten 49 Tilt (Peter Cretan) across the finish line by just under five minutes.

On corrected times, second place went to the Radford 36 RAD, skippered by Brent McKay from Kettering Yacht Club, third to BYC entrant TasPaints (Ian Stewart) with the Muir brothers Trevassa, sailing as a non-spinnaker entrant, placing fourth on corrected time.

Last night the crews of about 45 racing and cruising yachts, along with motor cruisers, were celebrating the unofficial end of yachting season, and the end of daylight saving at a prize night ashore at the old quarantine station on Bruny Island

– Peter Campbell

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