TasPorts Maria Island Yacht Race is organised by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. The 19 boat fleet got underway yesterday evening, Friday 18th November.
The state-of-art yacht Mr Kite tonight proved herself to be Tasmania’s fastest ocean racer with a convincing line honours victory.
Skippered by prominent Hobart neurosurgeon and champion yachtsman Andrew Hunn, Mr Kite finished the 189 nautical mile from Hobart to the historic Maria Island off Tasmania’s East Coast and return at 22:15:13 (10.15 and 13 seconds) this evening.
Mr Kite is a Cape 40, optimised by Hobart naval architect Fred Barrett, with a canting keel and other sophisticated gear that has seen her performance significantly lifted in recent years.
She won line honours in the Maria Island Race in 2009 and has twice won line honours in the Launceston to Hobart Race. Hunn plans to again contest that race, starting from Beauty Point on 27 December.
The fleet lead in this year’s Maria Island Race changed several times between Mr Kite, Rob Fisher’s 60-footer Helsal III and 2 Unlimited, Greg Prescott’s Melges 32.
Mr Kite took the lead this afternoon on the spinnaker run back from Maria Island, rounding Tasman Island with a lead of about two nautical miles from 2 Unlimited, which was closely followed by Auch, skippered by Richard Scarr, Helsal III and Dump Truck (Justin Wells).
In the Derwent this evening, Mr Kite opened up her lead to be more than half an hour in front of 2 Unlimited, which was expected to cross finish line about 22:45 (10.45pm). Auch was about a mile astern of 2 Unlimited, followed closely by Helsal III and Dump Truck as they sailed slowly up the river in less than six knots of breeze.
There was a gap of 25 nautical miles between the first five boats in the fleet and next group of yachts led by Martela, Masquerade and Whistler, sailing across Storm Bay.