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.
Ariel’s crew was bolstered by Darren ’Twirler’ Jones.
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).
Papillon’s slick crew work is keeping her on the podium.
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.
Wild Rose exits Sydney Heads in a light nor’ easter.
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.
|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|
|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|
|7||8339||LUNA SEA||James Cameron||2||01:15:18:29||20:18:29||1.016||20:37:59||7.0|
|11||6232||MORTGAGECHOICE RUMBA||Rob Carr & Kerry Bur||2||01:16:19:53||21:19:53||1.042||22:13:38||Yes|
|DNC||1236||LOCAL HERO||Peter Mosely||2||1.049||17.0|
|DNC||11033||KERISMA||Grant Dawson/ Brent||2||1.151||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|