Line honours winner The Fork in the Road has also made a clean sweep of handicap honours in the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s oldest race, the Bruny Island Race.
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.
Skippered by former Olympic and world champion dinghy sailor Gary Smith, the New Zealand-designed, Tasmanian-built Bakewell-White 45, outsailed the fleet last night as she completed the 89 nautical mile circumnavigation of the island, south of Hobart, in the fast time of 10 hours and 16 seconds.
Race officer Roger Martin this morning declared The Fork in the Road provisional winner of the AMS, IRC and PHS handicap categories, with the AMS scoring deciding the overall win of the iconic race, first sailed in 1898.
The course took the fleet from Hobart down the River Derwent and through the winding reaches of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel before rounding the southernmost tip of elongated Bruny Island, Tasman Head, and sailing up its rugged seaward coast back to the Derwent and Hobart.
However, the corrected time results are provisional as two yachts, Masquerade (Tony Harman) and Auch (Richard Scarr) are seeking redress for standing by another yacht during an incident near the Friars, a group of rocky islets south of Tasman Head, the southernmost point of Bruny Island.
Provisional runner-up in the Bruny Island Race, Maquerade, is seeking redress for standng by another yacht during the race.
Masquerade has been placed second to The Fork in the Road in the AMS and PHS categories, but Auch’s corrected times have placed her back in the fleet.
In the AMS category, The Fork in the Road provisionally won on corrected time by just under 29 minutes from Masquerade, third place going to Ramrod (Royce Salter) which was second boat to finish.
Under PHS scoring, the corrected time margin The Fork un the Road and Masquerade was slightly less, with third place going to Wildfire (Malcolm Robinson) which was the second last yacht to complete the course at 11.23pm on Saturday night.
In IRC scoring, The Fork in the Road won from The Protagonist (Stuart Denny) and Intrigue (Don Calvert).
The race was exceptionally fast, the entire fleet finishing before midnight on Saturday.
Strong north-westerly winds initially gave the fleet a spinnaker dash down the Derwent and D’Entrecasteaux Channel, with a westerly change around midday on Saturday giving the boats a fast reach up the seaward side of Bruny Island and back to the river.
The Fork in the Road’s outstanding performance is a fitting reward for owner/skipper Gary Smith’s determination to return to racing out of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania after a break of two seasons.
This past summer, The Fork in the Road has taken line honours in the Launceston to Hobart Race, the King of the Derwent and now the Bruny Island Race, as well as being provisional winner of all three handicap categories in the Bruny Island Race.
If the provisional results are maintained, this will be the first time since Doctor Who in 2003 that a yacht has taken line honours and first place in each handicap category.
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