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Bird Island Race - Wild Rose crew makes it two in a row with victory

by Jennifer Crooks on 12 Oct 2013
Ariel’s crew was bolstered by Darren ’Twirler’ Jones. Brett Hemmings, www.sailpix.com.au
At the Bird Island Race, Roger Hickman and his Wild Rose crew have made it two wins in a row in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Blue Water Pointscore Series, with victory in the 85 nautical mile this afternoon.

In September, Hickman won the Flinders Islet Race, but today’s was even more rewarding in some respects, in his opinion, because of the calibre of people in the fleet.

'You’ve got Twirler (Darren Jones) sailing on Ariel today, Gavin Brady’s now on Celestial (Sam Haynes’ Rogers 46 which finished eighth overall today) and Sean Kirkjian on Victoire – they’re great sailors,' said Hickman, adding: 'forget about an Aussie beating a Kiwi (himself and Brady), it was a Tassie beating a Tassie (himself and Jones).'

'Seriously, we’re privileged to sail against the likes of Ariel, Papillon and Black Sheep,' said Hickman, likening the BWPS to 'a war of attrition; first you have to turn up to do every race, and then you have to do well in all of them.'

Derek and Martin Sheppard are sailing Black Sheep (a Beneteau 45) in their first BWPS and their fifth place today keeps them in third place overall for the series.

'Give them a bit of time and who knows what they could do,' Hickman said of the Sheppards.

Wild Rose was the star of the day though. Her corrected time surplus was an impressive 14 minutes over nearest rival, Ariel (the Phil Damp skippered Beneteau First 40), with a further 15 minutes to third placed Papillon (Phil Molony’s Archambault 40).


Fastest around the course was Andrew Wenham’s Southern Excellence II, finishing at 10.58.07am this morning, only 29 seconds ahead of Victoire, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Cookson 50. The two were matching it gybe for gybe up the Harbour to the finish in a light nor’easter this morning.

Wenham’s Volvo 70 completed the race in in 15 hours 58 minutes and seven seconds, well outside the record of six hrs 38mins and 56secs set by the RP63, Loki (Stephen Ainsworth), in 2011.

Principal Race Officer, Denis Thompson, said he started the 14 yachts in 'a little nor’ easter that got them to Long Reef off Manly before it petered out. They got a light westerly around Terrigal on the Central Coast, but there was a strong wind warning for later on Saturday, which will help the smaller boats come home quickly if it eventuates.'

Roger Hickman said of the conditions: 'It was a very hard race when you had to sail a boat that’s terrible to steer because it’s so old,' he said of his 28 year-old Farr 43.

'Leaving the Heads, we could see some of the fleet on the horizon, but we hung in. The wind was up and down; in and out and it was very shifty on the way up to the Island.'

'Coming home, about an hour and a half before we got to the Heads, we thought it (who would win) was marginal – we could see Ariel and Papillon – there was nothing in it, but then the breeze went from 12 to 13 knots and it gave us just enough to get away from them,' he said of the north easterly which was expected to reach 25 knots plus, but never did.


A second win has established Hickman and the Wild Rose crew as ‘the ones to beat’ for BWPS honours. With three races now completed, they have a seven point advantage over Papillon, with a further three points to Derek and Martin Sheppard’s Black Sheep.

All three are entries in the final race of the series, the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Coincidentally, Hickman, a veteran of 36 Hobart races, won it with this same boat in 1993 and has come close on other occasions, until the weather dictated otherwise, including last year.

The Bird Island race started on Sydney Harbour at 7.00pm last evening and finished at Rushcutters Bay this afternoon.

Race four of the Blue Water Pointscore Series is the Cabbage Tree Island Race, starting at 7.00pm on November eight.

IRC results Start : Div1 19:00 Div2 19:00
Place Sail No Boat Name Skipper Div No Fin Tim Elapsd AHC Cor'd T Score Vis
1 4343 WILD ROSE Roger Hickman 2 01:13:18:33 18:18:33 1.038 19:00:18 1.0  
2 A140 ARIEL Phil Damp 2 01:12:46:02 17:46:02 1.083 19:14:31 2.0  
3 6841 PAPILLON Phil Molony 2 01:12:51:15 17:51:15 1.092 19:29:48 3.0  
4 8338 MIDNIGHT RAMBLER Ed Psaltis/ Bencsik/ 1 01:11:54:01 16:54:01 1.189 20:05:40 4.0  
5 33345 BLACK SHEEP Derek Sheppard 2 01:13:14:15 18:14:15 1.118 20:23:22 5.0  
6 5356 ILLUSION Travis Read 2 01:15:50:55 20:50:55 0.988 20:35:54 6.0  
7 8339 LUNA SEA James Cameron 2 01:15:18:29 20:18:29 1.016 20:37:59 7.0  
8 421 CELESTIAL Sam Haynes 1 01:11:32:46 16:32:46 1.264 20:54:51 8.0  
9 6689 COPERNICUS Greg Zyner 2 01:15:10:36 20:10:36 1.066 21:30:30 9.0  
10 AUS5299 VICTOIRE Darryl Hodgkinson 1 01:10:58:36 15:58:36 1.352 21:36:02 10.0  
11 6232 MORTGAGECHOICE RUMBA Rob Carr & Kerry Bur 2 01:16:19:53 21:19:53 1.042 22:13:38   Yes
12 GBR5211L FRANTIC Michael Martin 1 01:11:40:09 16:40:09 1.347 22:27:12 11.0  
13 8824 CHANCELLOR Edward Tooher 2 01:15:59:42 20:59:42 1.109 23:17:00 12.0  
14 AUS03 SOUTHERNEXCELLENCEII Andrew Wenham 1 01:10:58:07 15:58:07 1.591 01:01:24:22 13.0  
DNC 226 SWISH Steven Proud 1     1.239   17.0  
DNC 1236 LOCAL HERO Peter Mosely 2     1.049   17.0  
DNC 7771 BALANCE Paul Clitheroe 2     1.131   17.0  
DNC 11033 KERISMA Grant Dawson/ Brent 2     1.151   17.0  
DNC 52002 QUEST Bob Steel 1     1.351   17.0  
DNC A5 AUDI SUNSHINE COAST Rodney Jones 1     1.285   17.0  
DNC A169 NAUTICAL CIRCLE Ian Prentice 2     1.099   17.0  
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