Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Fleet off to aggressive start

Four boats were involved in this collision soon after the start
Rob Cruse
The Good Guys Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 is off to wild and furious start as four boats got involved in a hull to hull collision while big boats Sea Quest and Helsal V broke loose into the open water in the opening moments of the race around the Tasmanian east coast.

With their adrenalin on the boil after an 80 minutes delay to the start, the 35 yachts in The Good Guys Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race attacked the starting line with the aggression of the Charge of the Light Brigade at Beauty Point on the Tamar River today.

Powering into a fresh north-easterly seabreeze, with a strong ebb tide, two large yachts, Helsal V and Sea Quest, broke the start, four were involved in a hull to hull collision just after the gun fired, and at least half a dozen boats found themselves with nowhere to go as they tried to barge the start line.

'We’re gone' exclaimed the skipper of the starting boat, Cherish, as one yacht appeared certain to spear it amidships, missing by less than a metre.

DSC 0025
Rob Cruse

Two boats, including Jeff Cordell’s Mumm 36 Host Plus Executive, accepted they had been the wrong in race incidents, exonerating themselves with 720 degree turns.

The unscheduled early sailing of a freighter from Bell Bay forced Derwent Sailing Squadron race director Ron Bugg to delay the starting time of the 285 nautical mile race from the scheduled 11am until 12.20pm.

The delay proved providential for one of favourites for handicap honours, the Victorian yacht Penfold Audi Sport, which had suffered hull and rudder damage at Beauty Point with the owner/skipper David Ellis considering withdrawing from the race around Tasmania’s east coast.

Ellis and his crew had to lift the boat out of the water and repair the crack, apparently caused when the boat tilted back on its cradle while being launched on Boxing Day afternoon.

With the tide still low, they were unable to repair the hull until 10am, an hour before the original start time. However, with the start twice delayed they were able to get out the delayed start with ample time.

The Fork in the Road taking line honours in 200nm race after 43 hours at sea.
Peter Campbell

Buoyed by the efforts, Ellis, a Port Phillip pilot and prominent yachtsman, timed the start perfectly and led the fleet until overtaken by the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club entry, AdvantEDGE, skippered by Andrew Jones.

AdvantEDGE maintained its lead until passing the Farewell Beacon at Low Head, heading east into Bass Strait about one minute 40 seconds ahead of line honours favourite The Fork in the Road, skippered by Hobart yachtsmen Gary Smith, with another northern yacht, John Joyce’s Allusive third in the fleet, followed by the Sydney 28 Ciao Baby, skippered by Derwent Sailing Squadron vice commodore Steve Chau.

Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race 2012