85th Bruny Island Yacht Race preview

Auch will have eight teenagers in her crew for this year’s Veolia Bruny Island Race

Eight young Hobart sailors, aged from 11 to 19, will get a taste of big boat racing offshore when they crew aboard the Sydney Hobart racing yacht Auch in the 85th Bruny Island Race this weekend.

The 89 nautical mile circumnavigation of the island south of Hobart starts tomorrow (Saturday, 12 February 2011) at 9.30am from off the Royal Hobart Regatta grounds, with a fleet of 22 offshore racing yachts competing.

First conducted by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in 1898 over the same course, the Bruny Island Race can lay claim to being the oldest, still sailed offshore yacht race in Australia.

Auch, a Beneteau First 44.7, will be skippered by Richard Scarr, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s sailing manager and Tasmanian high performance sailing coach. The crew of 13 will comprise five adults widely experienced in offshore race and seven young sailors, all well trained in basic seamanship and with dinghy racing skills.

'We are using Auch as a tool to train up young dinghy sailors from the Tasmanian Sailing Academy in big boat sailing and offshore racing skills,' said Scarr, who owns the yacht in partnership with Philippa Calvert.

Ms Calvert’s two sons, Sabot dinghy sailors Jock (14) and Angus (12), are in the crew for the Bruny Island Race, a race that their grandfather Don Calvert and their late father Bruce have won in past years.

Other young sailors in the crew will be Angus Barton (17), Jack McCullum (17), Rohan Langford (19), Henry Goodfellow (17), Zac Pullen (18) and Aleksandrs Price (16). All with have key roles on the boat.

'Having the experience of the adults on boat to train the young sailors is the key to developing future offshore keelboat racing yachtsman,' Scarr said.

'Stephen ‘Rowdie’ McCullum is an integral part of the training process and will be sailing master, with John Saul as tactician. Also in the crew will be Alex Goodfellow and Scott Price, who along with Stephen McCullum, make up three father-and-son combinations, while Saul is god father to the Calvert boys.

Scarr said contesting the Bruny Island was the start of a program of offshore racing leading up to the crew competing with Auch in the Launceston to Hobart Race in December. During the year they complete Yachting Australia’s Safety and Sea Survival course, along with first aid and radio certificate courses.

Auch is one of four winners of the Bruny Island Race in this year’s fleet, the others being Archie (Sally Rattle/Scott Brain), Wild West (Michael Denney) and Intrigue (Don Calvert) which has previously won the historic race six times on handicap.

Favourite for line honours is Gary Smith’s The Fork in the Road, a past line honours winner, with strong competition expected from Rob Fisher’s Helsal 3, Greg Prescott’s Two Unlimited and Justin Wells’ Dump Truck.

The Fork in the Road sweeps past Ramrod after the start of the Bruny Island race, still with a storm jib hoisted above her huge spinnaker.
Campbell Peter