Winter win for octogenarian sailor on the Derwent

Octogenarian Hobart yachtsman Tom Kirkland today celebrated his 60th year of racing on Hobart’s River Derwent by winning the final race of the Derwent Sailing Squadron/Cascade Winter Series and taking out the overall series with his little sloop Ragtime.

The 87-year-old retired medico, who says he has been sailing “since the cradle”, won three of the four Winter Races on corrected time, placing second in the other race, to finish four points clear of his nearest rival, Graham Hall’s Serenity.

In a close race today, Ragtime was third boat to finish in Division 3, but on corrected time the 7.8m sloop took the handicap honours by 23 seconds, and the silverware for the series.

In a feature article published last month in the ‘Sunday Tasmanian’ newspaper, Dr Kirkland recalled growing up sailing dinghies around Rushcutters Bay in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, and maintaining the passion when he moved to Tasmania in the mid-1950s.

The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania member has raced a wide variety of yachts on the Derwent over past six decades, buying Ragtime eight years ago and racing her with a small group of friends.

Dr Kirkland also is also competing in the Winter Series conducted by Bellerive Yacht Club where Ragtime is equal first in the pointscore with one race to sail next Sunday, and with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania where Ragtime has won the only race it has contested, again with one race to sail early in September.

In today’s DSS Winter Series, Squadron members collected the silverware in the other divisions, Wayne Banks-Smith’s Farr 40 War Games winning Division 1 and Graeme Harrington’s Young 88 Vasco taking out Division 2.

In the SB20 Winter Series, Anonymous, steered by Ollie Nicholas, won both races today to clinch an overall one-design victory on a countback from Stephen Catchpool’s Hypertronics.

With a light SSW to S breeze blowing, in contrast to the normal Sunday morning northerly, race officer ‘Biddy’ Badenach set a cross river course for the main fleet, with the windward mark off Manning Reef.

With light snow falling on the peak of Mount Wellington, it was a chilly morning afloat with the temperature not rising above 9º C during the racing.

War Games led Division 1 from start to finish easily winning line and handicapping honours, with Hot August Night (Nat Morgan) second on corrected time and Pisces (David Taylor) third. War Games’ competition was reduced when Ciao Baby (Gary Cripps) tangled with a rounding mark.

War Games easily won the series, reduced to four races because of one galeswept Sunday, resulting in there being no discard. The Farr 40 won three Division 1 races outright and with a second in the other, ended with 5 points. Hot August Night finished with 13 points, Pisces with 16 points.

Vasco also scored a comfortable outright victory in Division 2, winning the final race on line and handicap from Spare Time (Shane Powell) and North Sails (Matthew Morgan). The win gave Vasco a series score of 12 points, two points clear of Wildfire (Team Wildfire) which did not race today. Rousabout (Derek Inglis), another non-starter, finished third overall on 17 points.

In Division 3, Tom Kirkland’s Ragtime beat Serenity (Graham Hall) by 23 seconds on corrected time. Third place went to Which Way Up (Steve Davison), a further 12 seconds back. Overall, Ragtime finished with 5 points, Serenity with 9 and Which Way Up with 14 points.

In the SB20s, the overall Winter Series win by Anonymous can be attributed to three different helmsmen – owner/skipper Steve Henley who entered the boat in the series, Nick Rogers who took the helm for some races, and today to Ollie Nicholas, who steered her to two wins for new owner Greg Prescott.

Anonymous won both races on scratch and handicap. In the one-design scoring this brought her up to equal points (14) with Hypertronics (Stephen Catchpool) and first place overall on a countback. Over the nine-race series Anonymous won three races, Hypertronics two. Brainwave (Scott Brain) finished third overall on 16 points.

Under PHS scoring, Anonymous finished with 19.5 points, Hypertronics with 21, third place going to Pez (Hunt Gore) on a countback from Big Ted (Alice Grubb).

In today’s one-design results, Anonymous won the first race from Brainwave and Hypertronics, the second from Hypertronics and Brainwave, the winning margin just four seconds. On PHS results, race 1 went to Anonymous from Hypertronics and Pez, race 2 to Anonymous from Pez and Brainwave.

– Peter Campbell

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