Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

40 + 30 = 70 in ORCV Westcoaster to Hobart

by John Curnow on 7 Dec 2011
Tevake II John Curnow ©
The 40th consecutive Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster will get underway from the Portsea Pier at 10am on December 27, 2011. The Eastcoaster, which is the other Heemskirk Consolidated race to Hobart, will also take to the world-renowned Bass Strait and begin their journey South at the same time.

Whilst the latter event is much newer, having been first run as its own race in 2008, the Eastcoaster has its own dedicated band of followers and continues to attract new competitors with its many nuances and intricacies. Heemskirk’s CEO, Kevin Robinson, will be competing in the 2011 Eastcoaster in his boat, No Fearr, which won the fabled Westcoaster in 2006, when she was owned by Matt Hannaford.

So why then is the Westcoaster so revered?

Well, they said it couldn’t be done. Perhaps this is why Stan Gibson, then Commodore of the ORCV, had studied the weather patters and together with Dr Joe Cannon of Hobart, they were determined to put the soothsayers out of business. 40 years on, they have not only achieved that, but they have created a unique race, as it is the only one to go down this side of Tasmania. The Westcoaster also has an enviable safety record, as just the best take on the challenge of the only Christmas time race to enter the mighty Southern Ocean. Their reward is some of the most dramatic and wonderfully scenic coastline you will ever see. That’s not when it’s dark or under mist, for the West coast does a very dark night indeed, and the mist can be somewhat impenetrable, as well.

Today there are only just a couple of sailors from the very first Westcoaster still with us. Bruce Legg was there; a sprightly 25 years of age at the time. He recalls, 'We were certainly going into the unknown. The whole 'Prophets of Doom' thing came from the media more than any of the yachties. For sure it was not exactly benign, as the predicted 40 knots did arrive, but I had faith in the crew, however, so was never concerned by it.'

'My experience of it all and the really eerie thing, is that you see the coast in the other race, but not the Westcoaster - and that's the difference. The other thing is that it was bitterly cold - so freezing that you almost cannot put words to it', said Bruce.

Bound for Hobart via the Westcoaster in 2011 is another vessel and man making a significant and unlikely to be surpassed milestone. The race itself is 40 years old. Robin Hewitt and his steel sloop, Yoko, have done the last 30 consecutive Westcoasters together. Now 30 + 40 = 70 and that is exactly how old Robin was just a few weeks ago. This year’s race forms part of his celebrations.

The Bob Miller (later to be known as Ben Lexcen) and Craig Whitworth penned Yoko will also celebrate this huge achievement, as she takes to Bass Strait once more with her original mast still intact, which is something of miracle these days. She has done two 5500nm Melbourne to Osaka races, one 1100nm Brisbane to Gizo events and one 1885nm Melbourne to Vanuatu haul. The latter is very significant, for joining Yoko in the Westcoaster is the winner of the 2010 Vanuatu race, Tevake II.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]
Tevake II heads a fleet that will be certainly keen to see some spinnaker action, as Spirit of Downunder and Addiction are there with her. Reigning Offshore Champion, eXtasea, will be hard to beat no matter what and certainly always more than a chance for the handicap honours. Boats like Hot August Night from the Derwent Sailing Squadron and Slinky Malinky will be more of a chance when the wind is on the nose.

Last year’s main combatants, Gusto and Goldfinger are back, except this year, they’re both going to Hobart in the Eastcoaster. Goldfinger may well have set a new record last year, but her bigger rival excels when the wind goes towards the beam and beyond, so conditions will play a major role in who will be the eventual winner there.
Once more, as well, both Veloce and XLR8 will be on East coast to ensure those two vessels remember the golden rule; that in order to finish first, first you have to finish. Chikara Outlaw will be keen for a piece of that action, too.
The 2011 rookie prize winner is doing the Eastcoaster, too. Cavarlo may be new to ocean racing, but the Irvings have assembled a significant crew to ensure they have a great trip and do well on handicap. Speaking of handicap, the most popular boat for that reason currently, would have to be the Beneteau First 40. The Eastcoaster has three of them competing. No matter what, Bandit, Dry White and Halcyon will be having a great race amongst themselves.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]
To get the fleet down from Melbourne to Port Phillip Heads there is the Boxing Day Dash race on December 26th. Melbourne to Hobart entrants can compete in the King of the Derwent on January 2nd to complete their own three-race sets - the Sovereign Series and Salamanca Series for West and East, respectively. Winning any one of these is a mark of a crew’s all-round ability.

The global miner, Heemskirk Consolidated, is proud to be associated with the ORCV, for not only was it the name of Abel Tasman’s flagship during his voyages of discovery, which included Tasmania, it is shared with Mt Heemskirk in South West Tasmania. See heemskirk.com for information about them.


Further information about these great races and the ORCV’s other activities can be found at orcv.org.au

Wildwind 2016 660x82upffront 660x82Newport Boat Show 2016 660x82

Related Articles

CYCA Land Rover Gold Coast Race - Scallywag retires after ram explodes
The supermaxi Scallywag has retired from the 2016 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race after a keel ram exploded David Witt, the skipper of Seng Huang Lee’s Scallywag, reported this morning the super maxi had retired from the 2016 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race after a keel ram exploded on the super maxi as they were sailing near Smoky Cape shortly after 9am. All crew members are safe and well.
Posted today at 1:00 am
Extreme Sailing Series – Oman braced for final day epic with Alinghi
The Swiss team had an outstanding day posting six outright wins but Morgan and his Oman Air crew were never far behind. The Swiss team had an outstanding day posting six outright wins in seven races but Morgan Larson and his Oman Air crew were never far behind, finishing every single race on the podium with five second places and two thirds.
Posted on 30 Jul
British entries on podium as Clipper Race returns after 11 months
UK entries triumphed to take all three podium places in the toughest edition yet of the longest ocean race on the planet Thousands of spectators lined the River Thames and packed St Katharine Docks to welcome home over 250 crew, representing 44 different nationalities, many of whom have been at sea for eleven months racing between six continents in the only challenge of its kind for amateur sailors.
Posted on 30 Jul
CYCA Land Rover Gold Coast Race - Start video from Boatsontv
Geoff Waller of Boatsontv was on the water to capture the start of the CYCA land Rover Gold Coast Race Geoff Waller of Boatsontv was on the water to capture the start of the CYCA land Rover Gold Coast Race, which is used as a feeder for the race fleets to the popular Queensland winter regattas such as Hamilton Island Race Week. He also talks with Scallywag skipper David Witt a few days before the start of the winter classic.
Posted on 30 Jul
South Australians early casualties of Land Rover Sydney GC Yacht Race
The two entries representing South Australia in the 2016 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race became early casualties The two entries representing South Australia in the 2016 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race became early casualties after both sustained bow damage in separate incidents, joining a NSW yacht that was involved in one of those incidents, all three within the first half hour of the race.
Posted on 30 Jul
LMAX Exchange wins the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race
LMAX Exchange was confirmed last night as winner of Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race. LMAX Exchange, skippered by Frenchman Olivier Cardin, was confirmed last night as winner of the tenth edition of the world’s longest ocean race, the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race.
Posted on 30 Jul
CYCA Land Rover Gold Coast Race - Images of supermaxi Scallywag
Sydney photographer Michael Chittenden filed this gallery of images from the start. The supermaxi Scallywag made her ocean racing debut in the CYCA Land Rover Gold Coast Race which got underway on Sydney harbour on Saturday afternoon. After a tight start the David Witt skippered supermaxi settled into her work and began the chase with her long standing rival, Wild Oats XI.
Posted on 30 Jul
Edgartown Race Week - Final
It was a rainy and dreary start to the day out here on Marth’s Vineyard. The racing started at 11:00. It was a rainy and dreary start to the day out here on Marth’s Vineyard. By 11:00, it became a blustery and rainy day. The racing started at 11:00 and I haven’t sailed in that much rain in a while.
Posted on 30 Jul
Nic Douglass - On the dock and on board with the 'fat bottomed girl'
Nic Douglass, caught up with the crew of the supermaxi, Comanche, after she had completed her latest mission Adventures of a Sailor Girl, Nic Douglass, caught up with the crew of the supermaxi, Comanche, after she had completed her latest mission and had chopped 27.5hrs off the trans-Atlantic Race Record for a manually powered monohull. The last time I was waiting for Comanche to arrive after achieving a goal that they had set out to achieve was a very different scene
Posted on 30 Jul
CYCA Land Rover Gold Coast Race - Replay coverage of the start
Replay coverage of the CYCA Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Race start Replay coverage of the CYCA Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Race start. The fleet got away to a clean start this afternoon in Sydney. The supermaxi, Wild Oats XI (Oatley family) led the 177 strong fleet through Sydney Heads, with ScallywagHK, the former Ragamuffin 100 in second place. Commentary bought to you by Bob Killick and Warwick Rooklyn.
Posted on 30 Jul