Any doubts about the ability of X & Y, the newest racing yacht on the Derwent, to handle strong winds and lumpy seas were dispelled in today’s Combined Club Harbour Series race. Steered with great skill by her builder/owner/skipper Toby Richardson, the narrow-hulled Barrett 38 outsailed the fleet as a 20-23 knot south-easterly swept up the river, gusting at times to 27 knots.
The strong southerly wind and an ebbing tide kicked up a short steep chop, giving crews had a hard sail over the one long course set by Bellerive Yacht Club. Group 1 boats hit some high speeds on the reach from windward mark to the mark off Howrah, although some skipper exercised prudent seamanship by two-reaching. However, the wind eased in late afternoon, allowing the fleet a fast but more comfortable spinnaker run to the finish of Bellerive’s Victoria Esplanade.
On corrected times, X & Y won the IRC category from Gavin Adamson and Janene Frawley’s Mumm 36 Madness, while under PHS scoring she was beaten by just 21 seconds by John Mills and Ian Douglas’ Nexedge, third place going to Madness.
Richardson, a well-known Hobart ship-builder, retired from ocean racing after completing his 25th race in 2001 – on a winning note aboard overall winner Bumblebee 5. This was the third overall winner he had crewed aboard, the others being Ausmaid in 1996 and Sagacious V in 1990. He also sailed on three line honours winners, Condor in 1983 and 1986 and Apollo in 1985.
Richardson has made an auspicious return to harbour racing this year, campaigning X & Y in the winter racing and now showing its paces against the Group 1 fleet in the Combined Harbour Series although, until yesterday, sailed in light to moderate breezes.
In the other Group 1 result yesterday, Harold Clark’s Invincible won the AMS category from Jeff Cordell’s Host Plus Executive and Don Calvert’s Intrigue.
In Group 2, Hot August Night (Nat Morgan) took the double of fastest time and first on PHS corrected time from Rousabout (Grahame Inglis) and Trouble (Dave Willans).
Group 4 saw duel for line honours with Chicas (John Lewis) crossing the line just 11 seconds ahead of Pirate’s Pride (Peter Masterton) but on corrected time first place went to veteran skipper John Hunn, skippering Atilla. Second place went to Eliza (Kevin Jacobson), third to Chichas.
Frank Chatterton’s Kamehameha led home the Group 6 fleet, but had to settle for third place on corrected time, with Y-Nacht (Wilkinson/Frame) winning from Ingenue (Nigel Johnson).
Bellerive Yacht Club elected to send the entire fleet on one long race, rather than two short windward/leewards races for Groups 1 and 2 and the normal harbour race for Groups 4 and 6. All Groups had a mid-river start with all finishing off Victoria Esplanade.