Tasmanian Three Peaks Race 2013 - Whistler crew aiming for new heights

Whistler running in a fresh breeze in the Bruny Island Race
Peter Campbell
Tasmanian Three Peaks Race 2013, the combination of tough ocean sailing and rugged mountain running around the eastern coastline of Tasmania over the Easter long weekend, normally sees the sailors do the sailing, the runners do the running.

Most of the crew of Hobart yacht Whistler plan to do both after finishing the final 100 nautical mile sailing leg to Hobart, with the sailors joining the runners for the 33km climb to the 1270m peak of Mount Wellington.

Their combined effort will be the final challenge towards completing a unique double – winning the prestigious Tilman Trophy in both the British Three Peaks Race and the Tasmanian Three Peaks Race.

The Three Peaks Race will start from Beauty Point on the Tamar River at 2pm today with strong south-westerly winds predicted to give the 12-boat fleet a fast downwind sail across eastern Bass Strait to Lady Barron on Flinders Island.

The first endurance run will be the longest run of the race, 65km of running across the roads and tracks of Flinders Island and a 756m climb to the peak of Mt Strzelecki, then back to Lady Barron to start the second sailing leg, 145 nautical miles down the East Coast to Coles Bay.

Whistler’s sailors comprise skipper David Rees, Jory Linscott, David Aplin and David Cromarty while the runners are Jacqui Guy and Michael McIntyre. Guy has competed in 13 Three Peaks, Rees and runner McIntyre six each, Linscott five while Aplin has competed two and Cromarty once.

After winning the 2010 race, Team Whistler has failed to make Flinders Island twice, forced out with a broken rudder in 2011 and retiring during a Bass Strait storm last year whilst competing in a smaller sportsboat.

'For the past seven years Team Whistler has set their sights on winning the Tilman Trophy,' crewman Jory Linscott said at Beauty Point yesterday.

'We won the Tilman in the British Three Peaks last year but the Tasmanian trophy has so far eluded us.

'While overall honours is always within sight, this year will be all about ‘The Tilman’ for this team,' said Linscott, pointing out that Team Whistler, a Dovell 36, would be the smallest monohull in the fleet.

'The crew has also set the boat up with six oars to help propel her forward in lights airs and have done extensive research of the Denison Canal at Dunalley, a shortcut some of her bigger rivals will not be able to use, having to sail around Tasman Island on the final leg from Cole Bay to Hobart,' he added.

Fastest monohull in the fleet is Andrew Jones’ AdvantEdge but the battle for overall sailing honours is expected to be between three fast multihulls, New Howrah Pharmacy from Devonport, Euphoria Furniture from Hobart and the Victorian catamaran Peccadillo.

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

The Tilman Trophy, in honour Major Harold William (Bill) Tilman, the first President of the British Three Peaks Race, was introduced in the UK race in 1986 to encourage teams, without realistic line-honours hopes - the more cruising oriented, 'adventure seeking' entrants, to participate.

Teams are encouraged to use more than two specialist runners to complete the three peaks and some of past successful teams have had all team members complete a mountain.

It is a point score competition based on overall finishing positions in both sailing and running, and for overall placing. Extra hulls and lifting keels are penalised but bonus points are awarded for any extra crew members who run a mountain, teams competing to raise money for charity and for each extra mast on the vessel. Older competitors are encouraged with a bonus point system for combined crew age.

For a team to be awarded points for money raised for charity, money must be raised by means other than by a donation from a single donor. Team Whistler has been raising money for the Dunalley Primary School that was destroyed in the recent bush fires, a charity that the crew deemed most appropriate as many Three Peaks boats go through the Dennison Canal at Dunalley.