Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 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.

Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82Southern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Oman Air in peak form going into final day at Extreme Sailing Series
A fresher breeze on the third day gave the GC32 fleet a chance to give the spectators an invigorating show of action A fresher breeze on the third day gave the GC32 fleet a chance to give the spectators lining the shores on the south coast of the island an invigorating show of speed and action and it was Oman Air that led the way with seven podium places – including two outright wins – in seven races.
Posted on 24 Sep
Perfect birthday for Sébastien at GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
The westerly Levante breeze was expected to blow at about 10 to 11 knots for day three of the regatta The westerly Levante breeze was expected to blow at about 10 to 11 knots for day three of the regatta, but the long white cloud hanging over the Rock of Gibraltar signified that there might be less. Even with just five or six knots the GC32s were still able to get on the foils as they launched off the start line of the first race.
Posted on 24 Sep
Extreme Sailing Series – Red Bull Sailing Team collides with Alinghi
At 1515 BST today during race eight, Red Bull Sailing Team collided with Alinghi, resulting in Alinghi losing its mast. At 1515 BST today during race eight of the series in the Madeira Islands, Red Bull Sailing Team collided with Alinghi, resulting in Alinghi losing its mast.
Posted on 24 Sep
Sailing World Cup - Qingdao chances shorten as top tens confirmed
It was all about a place in the Medal Race on day four of the SWC Qingdao as top ten were confirmed in all seven fleets. It was all about a place in the Medal Race on day four of the Sailing World Cup Qingdao as the top ten were confirmed in all seven fleets.
Posted on 24 Sep
Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge - More images from Régates Royales
Second gallery from the final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge at Cannes The 38th Régates Royales, the final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is underway at Cannes. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water at Cannes and provided this second gallery of images.
Posted on 24 Sep
Day 4 - Sailing World Cup Qingdao Medal Race places at stake
There are places in Medal Race at stake on day four of the Sailing World Cup Qingdao, and it's another hot and humid one There are places in the Medal Race at stake on day four of the Sailing World Cup Qingdao, and it's another hot and humid one.
Posted on 24 Sep
US Sailing remembers sailing enthusiast Terry Kohler
Terry Kohler, a renowned businessman and passionate sailor, passed away Tuesday at the age of 82. Terry Kohler, a renowned businessman and passionate sailor, passed away Tuesday at the age of 82. In 2009, Kohler received the Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy, US Sailing’s highest honor, for his outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing in the U.S.
Posted on 24 Sep
Gladwell's Line - Tough questions ahead for World Sailing
The hard questions relating to the future shape of the sport have to be answered over the four months or less. While several of the so-called 'developed' sailing nations bathe in their Olympic and Paralympic success, the hard questions relating to the future shape of the sport have to be answered over the four months or less.
Posted on 24 Sep
Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge - Images from Régates Royales
The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is underway at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales. The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is underway at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water at Cannes and provided this gallery of images. The regatta finishes on September 24.
Posted on 23 Sep
Extreme Sailing Series – Alinghi launches an assault on Red Bull Team
Arnaud Psarofaghis’ Swiss crew on Alinghi exchanged blows with Roman Hagara’s Austrian-flagged Red Bull Sailing Team. Arnaud Psarofaghis’ Swiss crew on Alinghi exchanged blows with Roman Hagara’s Austrian-flagged Red Bull Sailing Team as both outfits made their bids to top the Act 6 table going into the penultimate day.
Posted on 23 Sep