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Southern Spars

85-year-old Gnome not hiding in the garden

by Peter Campbell on 10 Nov 2013
Gnome got a good start in Group 6, placed third in today’s race Peter Campbell
The Derwent class yacht Gnome, launched 85 years ago, is the oldest yacht racing in the Hobart Combined Clubs Harbour Series on the River Derwent.

On Saturday the Huon pine built 24-footer showed she is still competitive against modern yachts, finishing third in Group six and moving up to be equal point score leader in the group.


Skippered by current owner Derek Adams, Gnome has finished fifth and third on corrected time in Group six so far this season, yesterday sailing an excellent race in the fresh to strong southerly breeze, which earlier in the afternoon gusted to 25 knots.

Gnome was launched in 1928, one of the original of the D-classers which became the first one-design class to race on the Derwent, still racing a class in the 1950s. Among Gnome’s pre-WWII owners was the late Les Gabriel, later to become a Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Hobart’s harbour racing yachtsman today enjoyed near perfect sailing conditions on the River Derwent for only the second time this summer, although there must be reservations about the description ‘summer’.

The Combined Clubs Harbour Series Day three was sailed in a cold southerly breeze, gusting to 25 knots early in the afternoon.

The peak of Mount Wellington was blanketed with snow, Hobart’s maximum temperature of 11ºC, converting to wind chill factor on the river of about 6ºC.

Groups one and two sailed two windward/leeward races on a mid-river course, with the full force of the 18-25 knot S to SSW winds coming up the river. Groups four and six started and finished off Castray Esplanade, sailing a course around the harbour, mostly in more sheltered waters.

Bellerive Yacht Club entrants did well, with Ian Stewart’s Mumm 36 TasPaints, Colin Denny’s The Protagonist and Jeff Cordell’s Host Plus Executive, another Mumm 36, each finish a winner or placegetter in the Group one divisions.

Group one produced intense competition in both races with Wayne Banks-Smith’s Farr 40 War Games turning on a fine display of downwind sailing in the strong southerly that the fleet encountered in the first race of the day.

War Games took line honours and won PHS and IRC on corrected time, finishing third under AMS scoring. Don Calvert’s Castro 40 Intrigue was the other winner, taking out the AMS division.

In the second race, another Farr 40, POW, with Michael Cooper at the helm, led the fleet home and won the PHS division. Intrigue again won AMS while Colin Denny’s The Protagonist took out IRC as well as placing second under AMS scoring and third under PHS.

Grahame Inglis’ Rousabout won both Group two races on corrected time after some close racing. In the first day of the day, Rousabout and Trouble (Dave Willans) crossed the line six seconds apart and placed first and second in that order on corrected time.

Rousabout had a close duel with Hot August Night (Nat Morgan) in the second race, winning on corrected time by just 13 seconds.


In Group six, line honours and first place on corrected time went to Greg Rowlings’ J24 Another Toy, winning from Innovator (Ian Smith) and the elderly D-class Gnome, skippered by Derek Adams.

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