by Ian Grant
Sydney’s Cruising Yacht Club of Australia helmsman Bernie Van’t Hof fell agonisingly short of steering his Swan 50 Tulip to a rare line and handicap double in the Whitsunday Sailing Club mid week sprint race series last Wednesday.
Swan 50 Tulip
Tulip again produced unmatched boat speed in the near perfect 12 knot variable East South East breeze to quickly establish control of the first to finish prize for the Edges Boat Yard Trophy.
The Swan 50 racing with a penalty plus 1.115 rating easily protected her rating over her nearest line honours rivals the Peter Norlin designed Surefoot (Rod Sawyer) and Kevin Fogarty’s Beneteau 40 Twister.
In fact Tulip had cancelled their challenges well before half the course was completed however their duel continued with the Surefoot crew regularly called on to protect their sailing space from the Twister crew.
Only 29 seconds separated them at the finish but they both fell well short of producing the required boat speed to challenge the speed sailing limit marker Tulip on handicap.
Naturally skipper Bernie Van’t Hof was pleased with his runaway 13 minute 26 second line honours result but he had to a long 15 minute 23 seconds to realise that series leader the Craig Piccinelli steered Wobbly Boot had spoiled the celebrations when they were officially declared the overall winner by a narrow four second margin.
The sun tanned face of Bernie Van’t Hof was creased with a puzzled smile however he managed to accept the result which has allowed the Wobbly Boot crew to firm a stronger grip on the overall series.
His highly competitive attitude will guarantee that Tulip will be again on the pace when the sails are tensioned for the important 44th race of the series on Pioneer Bay later this week.
By then the race hardened nature of the Tulip crew will be looking at making amends to hopefully find an extra four seconds to answer the challenge to win a deserved line and handicap double.