Porsche King of the Derwent - Voodo Chile takes out Farr 40 division

With Mt Wellington as a backdrop, The Fork in the Road in pursuit of Tilford Auto (aka Voodoo White) - Porsche King of the Derwent 2012
Rob Cruse
Porsche King of the Derwent was held today, Wednesday 2nd January 2013. The Farr 40 class yacht Voodoo Chile today missed out on line honours in Hobart’s iconic annual round-the-buoys keelboat race by just 17 seconds, but the skipper and crew were well and truly compensated by winning the major trophy, the King of the Derwent, and also taking out the elite Farr 40 division.

In a thrilling finish at the end of a long and, at times, frustrating day, the ocean racing yacht The Fork in the Road got through the lead on the final leg to beat Voodoo Chile, one of Hobart’s fastest harbour racing boats.

However, on corrected time under IRC scoring, Voodoo Chile won the King of the Derwent by 63 seconds.

With co-owner Lloyd Clark on the helm, the crew of Voodoo Chile sailed a brilliant race to lead almost throughout the 20 nautical miles, although the lead changed several time in a day of most frustrating breeze.

Voodoo Chile’s performance augers well for its prospects in the Aberdeen Asset Management Tasmanian championship for the Farr 40s to be sailed over the weekend when the local fleet of five boats are joined by four Farr 40s from Sydney, including top international performers Transfusion and Estate Master.

Not fortunate today was the other co-owner of Voodoo Chile, Andrew Hunn, who has chartered Hughie Lewis’ Tilford Auto for the Farr 40 championship, sailing it as Voodoo White.

After holding second place to Voodoo Chile throughout the first circuit of the harbour, Tilford Auto (aka Voodoo White) sailed into a windless hole on the river. After 30 minutes without moving, Hunn pulled the pin and motored home.

The Porsche King of the Derwent was decided on IRC handicaps, with second and third places overall going two yachts that had contested the Melbourne to Hobart ocean race.

Second overall went to Alan Trebilcock’s Bandit, third to Wicked (Michael Welsh).

Duende and the Protagonist running downwind - Porsche King of the Derwent 2012
Dane Lojek

The King of the Derwent attracted entries from all three ocean races that finished in Hobart, the Melbourne to Hobart, Sydney Hobart and Launceston Hobart, including the TP52 Duende which had contested the Sydney Hobart.

However, after being well placed earlier in the race, Duende faded in the light and flukey winds.

With Voodoo Chile taking the traditional King of the Derwent, the IRC division trophy went to runner-up Bandit from Wicked, third prize going to line honours winner Gary Smith’s The Fork in the Road.

The Fork in the Road also won the AMS division on corrected time from Bandit and Wicked while the PHS division went to Ian Gannon’s Take Five from John Mills’ Total Lock Alarms, with Voodoo Chile also collecting a third prize in this division.

Voodoo Chile won the Farr 40 boat-for-boat division from War Games, skippered by Wayne Banks-Smith, third place going to Sam Hills’ Forty, one of four Farr 40s that have come from Sydney for the weekend’s Tasmanian championship, part of the Farr 40 Eastern Seaboard Circuit.

For spectators, watching Porsche King of the Derwent was a superb way to spend a sunny summer’s day on Hobart’s beautiful river, watching an elite fleet of ocean racers, Farr 40s and local club boats sail around the buoys.

For most sailors, however, it was day of great frustration as the wind went in all directions of the compass and, quite frequently, just ‘up in the air’.

Wayne Banks-Smith said that the waters in the lee of the sou’wester off Taroona had proved critical both times on both occasions the fleet had to round the mark off Cartwright Point. 'Some made it, some didn’t - both times,' he said. 'After rounding the mark the wind just went up in the air.'

On the second rounding of this mark the fluctuations in the breeze were even worse, swinging from W to SW and NW.

As yachts bobbed around, their sails flapping, War Games was the first to pick up the breeze, with some boats going east and some west looking for wind as they headed back towards Howrah on the eastern shore of the Derwent.

'Voodoo Chile, which had held a handy lead from the first mark, and POW went along the western shore looking for breeze,' Banks-Smith said. 'We went east and came out in front at the mark off Howrah Point.

King of the Derwent winner Voodoo Chile reaching under spinnaker off Kangaroo Bluff today - Porsche King of the Derwent 2012
Rob Cruse

War Games held a narrow lead almost to the Kangaroo Bluff mark but was passed by Voodoo Chile and The Fork in the Road.

Sydney yachtsman Sam Hills sailed a good race to finish fourth in fleet with his Far 40, Forty, with some local knowledge aboard from Sam Boys and Jeremy Ford.

In the Farr 40 division, Voodoo Chile won from War Games, Forty and POW, with Tilford Auto a DNF.