Bruny Island Race - Twenty-six years ago, Hobart yachtsman Don Calvert won his first Bruny Island Race with his newly launched Intrigue, in the lead-up to becoming the only Tasmanian skipper, crew and boat to represent Australia in the famous Admiral’s Cup offshore racing series in England.
Yesterday, Calvert skippered the Castro 40 to a remarkable seventh handicap victory over more than a quarter of a century in the 89 nautical mile race that circumnavigates the elongated island south of Hobart.
This was the 85th running of the Bruny Island Race by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, first held in 1898 and, although missing a few years early last century, is the oldest long offshore/inshore yacht race still held annually in Australia.
Three generations of Calverts have won the Bruny Island Race, Don’s father Charles with Caprice of Huon in 1957, Don with Intrigue in 1985, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1993, his son David also with Intrigue in 2004 and 2006. Another son, the late Bruce Calvert, took line honours with the sports boat ABN AMRO Morgan, and Don’s brother Hedley won the race with Huon Lass in 1987, 1989, 1971 and 1972 and again in 1980 with Huon Chief.
In this year’s race, two of Don’s grandsons, Jock (13) and Angus (11) sailed their first Bruny Island Race as members of the Tasmanian Sailing Academy aboard Auch, skippered by Tasmanian high performance coach Richard Scarr.
Intrigue finished third across the line astern of The Fork in the Road, Gary Smith’s powerful Bakewell-White 45, and Rob Fisher’s Helsal 33, the Adams/Barrett 20. His grandsons aboard Auch crossed the line only 47 minutes astern.
On corrected times, Intrigue won both the AMS and IRC divisions of the Bruny Island Race and placed third under PHS handicaps.
In the AMS division, Intrigue won from Whistler (David Rees) and Archie (Sally Apple) and in the IRC division the Castro 40 won from Archie and Pisces (David Taylor). Youngsta, Paul Strong’s Young 88, took out the PHS division from Black Magic (Graham Mansfield) and Intrigue.
The Fork in the Road, Gary Smith’s powerful Bakewell-White 45 took line honours after holding off strong opposition early in the race from Dump Truck, 2 Unlimited and Auch and then a late finish by Helsal 3 which powered through the fleet as the wind freshened and came ‘on the nose.’
The race was a highly tactical contest in light and variable winds down the d’Entrecasteaux Channel, then a tough test of sailing skills as the wind freshened to 25 to 28 knots and rough seas as the fleet beat to windward past The Friars and then up the seaward side of South Bruny north to Adventure Bay.
Closest finish of the race was between the self-styled ‘caravan’, Auch, and the ‘sports car’, Dump Truck, with less than a minute separating the two boats after a tacking duel up the river into a 20 knot northerly breeze in the early hours of Sunday morning.
'From the Iron Pot to north of Tinderbox, it was boat for boat..they crossed ahead of us most of time, but got them twice before the breeze softened off Sandy Bay Sailing Club and they got that slight break,' recalled skipper Richard Scarr.
'The youngsters we had on board were tremendous, reacting quickly to every tack,' he said. 'They were on deck throughout the long race although I did send Jock and Angus (Calvert) below when it got quite rough off the southern tip of Bruny.'
Dump Truck, a state-of-the-art Ker 11.3, finished at 3.34am, Auch, a Beneteau 44.7 at 3.35am, her crew of 13 including eight young sailors, aged from 11 and 19, from the Tasmanian Sailing Academy.
'After we berthed, Jock had four hours sleep on board and then went off after breakfast to race his Laser in the Royal Hobart Regatta,' Scarr added.