Sydney Hobart entrant Martela wins Isle of Caves Race

Martela is in winning form in her Sydney Hobart lead-up.
Tasmanian Rolex Sydney Hobart race entrant Martela continues to show impressive local form in the yacht’s lead-up to the 628 nautical mile ocean classic, winning Bellerive Yacht Club’s Isle of Caves race.

The fifty nautical annual overnight race started on Wednesday evening and finished in the early hours of yesterday, giving crews time to recover on the Hobart Show holiday.

Many yachts use this race to provide their crew with important night sailing experience before entering the major offshore races of the summer.

Starting at 1900 hours, the fleet had a twilight sail down the Derwent and around the Iron Pot before setting a north-easterly course on a dark night to the tiny islet in the north-east corner of expansive Frederick Henry Bay.

Martela, an IMX 38 owned and skippered by Bellerive Yacht Club member Tony Williams, won both the AMS and IRC rated divisions on corrected time after finishing an impressive fourth across the line, only 24 minutes astern of line honours winner The Fork in the Road (Gary Smith).

Martela’s Isle of Caves AMS and IRC wins following a win in IRC and a second on AMS in last Saturday’s Combined Clubs Long Race to Betsey Island and return.

The IMX 38 is one of four Tasmanian yachts that have so far lodged applications to enter the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. With just a week to go to the deadline, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia announced yesterday that it had so far received 72 nominations and was still expecting a fleet of 80 to 90 boats on the start line on Boxing Day.

The other Tasmanian boats in the Sydney Hobart are Helsal III (Tony and Rob Fisher), Dump Truck (Justin Wells and Edward Fader) and Cougar II (Tony Lyall).

The Isle of Caves race started in a light south to south-easterly breeze which persisted for most of the race down the Derwent then across Frederick Henry Bay to round the Isle of Caves.

The race leaders made reasonable time with six boats having rounded the Isle of Caves by the time of the midnight radio 'sked'. The Fork in the Road was closely shadowed by Dump Truck, another Sydney Hobart entrant, all the way back into the River Derwent.

The breeze persisted until the leaders were half way up the river in the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately as happens many times on the Derwent at night, the breeze shut down and The Fork in the Road took nearly five hours to sail the last five or so miles.

In the AMS category Martela won from Masquerade (Tony Harman) and Dump Truck (Justin Wells) with Dump Truck and Rumbeat (Justin Barr) taking the minor placings on IRC.

The outstanding performance in PHS came from the Hick 35 Barking Mad which sailed as a two handed entrant and was fifth over the line taking first place on corrected time by 22 minutes from the Traditional 30 Take Five (Ian Gannon) with David Rees’ Whistler (MBD 36) in third place.

Barking Mad, skippered by John Wearne, sailed two-up to win the Isle of Caves PHS division.