Please select your home edition
Edition
Newport Boat Show 728x90

Woman skipper takes on ocean racing ‘heavies’ in Maria Island Race

by Peter Campbell on 17 Nov 2012
2012 Maria Island Race Rob Cruse
Hobart yachtswoman Amberley Ford tonight was taking on the ‘heavies’ of ocean racing as the fleet raced in strong winds across Storm Bay towards Tasman Island and the East Coast in the Tasports 65th Maria Island Race.

As she predicted before the start, Amberley made a conservative start at the helm of her father’s Bavaria 38 cruiser/racer Fordplay, but as the fleet beat down the Derwent to the Iron Pot she had the boat well placed in the 16 boat fleet.

Not only is Amberley the only woman skipper in the fleet, but the 180 nautical mile Maria Island Race is her first ocean race as a skipper, although she sailed in last year’s Sydney Hobart as a crew member of Natelle II.

Her crew comprises three other women, Kelly Pearson from Geelong, Catherine Kerr and Lynn Pullen from Hobart, along with her father Grant Ford and Greg Brooks, 'my offshore sailing tutor.'


Amberley is not without seamanship experience, studying for her MED 3 (marine engineering diploma) and coxswain’s certificate at the Australian Maritime College in Launceston.

'When I graduate, I plan to take Fordplay to north Queensland to be involved in the yacht charter business,' she said last evening before setting sail from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

'This race is to gain experience of being a skipper in ocean sailing as, until now, I’ve mostly been cruising with Dad; next year we plan to again take part in the Van Diemens Land Circumnavigation of Tasmania.

Early last evening Tony Lyall’s TP52 Cougar II was powering to windward down the Derwent with the crew preparing to hoist a spinnaker for a highspeed run across Storm Bay in a 25 knot south-westerly breeze.

The yacht tracker at 2200 hours showed Cougar II maintaining an average speed of 12.5 knots as she powered to the south of Cape Raoul and towards Tasman Island.


Astern of Cougar II came Gary’s Smith Bakewell-White 45 The Fork in the Road, followed closely by Dump Truck (Justin Wells) which, like Cougar II, is a Tasmanian entrant in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Before leaving the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania last evening for the 7pm start of Castray Esplanade, the crew of Cougar II were confidently predicting the prospects of breaking the record of 19 hours for the 180 nautical mile race set in 2004 by the maxi ketch Tasmania.

'However, we need to be back in the Derwent tomorrow morning before the big outgoing tide starts running down the River…that will be the critical point if we are to finishing before two o’clock tomorrow afternoon and break the record,' a crew member said.

An early retirement from the race was David Taylor’s Pisces although no details were available tonight.

InSunSport - NZWildwind 2016 660x82Newport Boat Show 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Reducing weight aloft with composite backstays
Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel!
Posted today at 2:13 pm
America's Cup World Series - Ian Roman's Images from Portsmouth
Ian Roman was in Portsmouth for the America's Cup World Series and provided this first of two galleries from the event Top international photographer, Ian Roman was in Portsmouth for the America's Cup World Series and provided this first of two galleries of the racing across the three days of the regatta.
Posted today at 12:36 pm
Owners work together on new 52fter project to kick-start SoCal fleet
Manouch Moshayedi owner and skipper of the Bakewell-White 100 Rio100 is behind establishing a 52fter fleet in California The 52fters will be based on the latest design by Judel/Vrolijk. “There are some improvements over the boats in the SuperSeries in the Med that we have made specifically for California sailing, including taller masts, larger mains, larger jibs, larger spinnakers and lighter displacement,” explains Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted today at 9:58 am
Pacific Cup - Riding Rufless across the Pacific
The former Bronco was a well sailed class boat the ridden hard and put away wet. 2016 Pacific Cup - We begin this tale with the fundamental roots. The Melges 32 featured in this story is not a tock Melges 32' by any means. The former Bronco was a well sailed class boat the ridden hard and put away wet. When found a few years ago in a San Diego boat yard, she was in sad shape and in need of a good home.
Posted today at 6:43 am
OK Dinghy World - Danes dominate glamour first day
Jørgen Svendsen (DEN) and Bo Petersen (DEN) shared the spoils on the first day of the 2016 OK Dinghy World Championship Jørgen Svendsen (DEN) and Bo Petersen (DEN) shared the spoils on the first day of the 2016 OK Dinghy World Championship in Quiberon, France after a glamour day on the water with unbroken sunshine and a building sea breeze that topped out at 16-18 knots. An impressive 105 OK Dinghies from 10 nations completed registration.
Posted today at 3:35 am
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Bouncing back on Day 1
Quantum Racing pretty much carried on from where they left off in Sardinia earlier this month, ferociously consistent Quantum Racing pretty much carried on from where they left off in Sardinia earlier this month, ferociously consistent and proving the value of every point gained on each race course. After their ninth and tenth places respectively at the Audi Settimana delle Bocche Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec and Takashi Okura’s Sled both bounced back with a strong opening day to the third regatta of the five
Posted on 25 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Races 1 and 2 images
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races one and two Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races one and two
Posted on 25 Jul
New challenges for Oman Air at halfway stage of Extreme Sailing Series
Race organisers have extended the race area on the River Elbe to cater for the higher speeds of the new foiling GC32s. Race organisers have extended the race area on the River Elbe to cater for the higher speeds of the new foiling GC32s but Oman Air skipper Morgan Larson says avoiding errors will still be the biggest challenge if they are to extend their overall lead with their third Act victory of the season.
Posted on 25 Jul
Rolex Swan Cup – A noble approach to sailing
Mention the Swan Cup to any sailor and the feelings evoked are common – great competition in an enviable environment Mention the Swan Cup to any sailor and the feelings evoked are common – great competition in an enviable environment, a prevailing spirit of fair play and an opportunity to sail yachts renowned for their grace, enduring appeal and rich heritage.
Posted on 25 Jul
Comanche's Trans-Atlantic record attempt hits soft spot
Light air zones threaten record-breaking pace as 100ft yacht charges across mid-Atlantic With 1,548 nautical miles left to sail to the finish of the Transatlantic record (as of 08:30 GMT today) at Lizard Point, UK, Comanche remains on course to break Mari Cha IV’s 2003 record. Stan Honey, Comanche navigator, noted this morning: Chilly here. Set the A-3 Gennaker to go deeper. Very flat water. Smooth sailing. Not much wind down low near the cold water. Visibility 10meters.
Posted on 25 Jul