Super maxi Wild Oats XI stole the show on the River Derwent today with a spectacular exhibition of power sailing.
by Peter Campbell
But it was Sydney yacht Vamp that won the King of the Derwent, decided on IRC corrected times. Vamp, a Corby 49 is owned by Garry Linacre, Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and David Fuller, a past Commodore of the CYCA.
Vamp was chartered for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, but with Linacre’s Sydney Hobart duties ended he decided to enter the King of the Derwent. Fuller flew down from Sydney especially for the spectacular round-the-buoys race on Hobart’s broad reaches of the Derwent.
Owner Bob Oatley, at 83 years of age steered Wild Oats XI throughout the 14 nautical mile course, including making a brilliant start at the pin end of the 41 boat fleet.
A fleet of 51 yachts sailed in the Jeanneau King of Derwent, with Wild Oats XI’s first appearance in the KOD attracting hundreds of spectator craft while hundreds packed headland around the bay.
'It was a wonderful race today….and we will be back,' said the yacht’s ocean racing skipper Mark Richards at the prizegiving this evening at the Derwent Sailing Squadron.
Garry Linacre was delighted with his win in KOD, recalling his days sailing at International Etchells with the Derwent Sailing Squadron. 'This is a great finale to my yachting involvement this summer,' he said. 'It is also my last year as Commodore of the CYCA…what a way to end my last official role in Hobart this summer.'
With Bob Oatley on the helm of the 100-footer, Mark Richards and his crew of Wild Oats XI showed their professional skills even before race, spending almost an hour sailing over the course area on the Derwent to test the wind angles and current.
Then as the one minute signal sounded and with the majority of the fleet reaching down the line on starboard tack, Oatley sailed down past the leeward end before gybing back and heading back to the line.
Just seconds before the starting signal he tacked the 100-footer on to starboard tack, hitting the line right as the signal and to leeward of the entire fleet, with clear air.
It was as good a start that you would see in any yacht race, with Wild Oats XI powering away from the much smaller opposition – the biggest just 50-footers, half her size.
Within minutes, Wild Oats XI was 200 metres clear and from there on she sailed her own race in the light breeze, hitting 23 knots in 10 knots of breeze as she gybed downwind under her massive Code 0 headsail.
When principal race officer John Blackwood shortened the triangular course to about 15 nautical miles, Wild Oats XI was lapping the smallest boats, 30-footers just a third of her size with only a quarter of the super maxi’s massive sail area.
Wild Oats XI sailed the course in 1 hour 9 minutes and 20 seconds but finished last on IRC corrected time.
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8:41 AM Mon 2 Jan 2012 GMT
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