Cougar II is on the prowl in southern Tasmanian waters, with Anthony Lyall’s newest yacht making a winning local race debut in yesterday’s Combined Club Long Distance Series race on the River Derwent and Storm Bay.
The state-of-the-art TP52 streaked away from the 42 boat fleet over the 39 nautical mile course to take line honours and first place on corrected time in the IRC category with a display of powerful sailing against the local fleet.
Owner/skipper Lyall, a Beaconsfield medico who races out of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, bought Cougar II in Victoria in early December and the only previous race in which he and his crew had sailed the boat was the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Cougar II finished 13th in fleet and 11th overall on IRC ratings in the bluewater classic.
Cougar II’s next local race will be the Mewstone Rock Race, a challenging 170 nautical mile into the ‘Roaring Forties’ to the rugged outcrop of granite rock at 43.52º South off the southern tip of Tasmania. The race will start from Hobart’s Castray Esplanade next Friday at 7pm, allowing the fleet a daylight rounding on Saturday of the unlit Mewstone.
Lyall has also entered Cougar II for the historic Bruny Island Race on 11 February and the Green Island Race towards the end of the summer season.
Yesterday’s race, sponsored by North Bay, took Group 1 yachts on a 39 nautical race from the start line off Bellerive’s Kangaroo Bluff down the Derwent to a mark in Ralph’s Bay, sailing out of the Derwent at the Iron Pot to Blackjack Rock in Storm Bay. From there it a beat to windward across to Yellow Bluff on the North Bruny shore, and finally back up the river to the finish at Bellerive.
Group 2 yachts sailed a similar, but shorter course, while Group 3 sailed to the Ralph’s Bay mark and then across to Blackman’s Bay and return before heading for the finish.
Lyall timed the start to perfection, accelerating away from the surprisingly hesitant Group 1 opposition who jammed up at the pin end of the line. In a fresh sou’wester she led the fleet down the river to Ralph’s Bay where Andrew Hunn’s Mr Kite almost overtook the leader as the wind eased.
Lyall said he had overstood Droughty Point because of concern over the depth and Mr Kite had got within a boat length of Cougar II as they rounded the Ralph’s Bay mark. 'But after that, it was see you later,' he said.
From Yellow Bluff the fleet had a fast spinnaker run back to the Iron Pot and up the Derwent to Tranmere, finishing the race on a two-sail reach, although the crew hoisted a code 0 for the final 200 metres to the finish line.
Finishing the course in 4 hours 19 minutes and 24 seconds, Cougar II averaged 9.6 knots to win the IRC category of Group 1 by 6 minutes 35 seconds from David Rees’ MBD 36 Whistler, which had beaten Cougar II by one place overall in the Sydney Hobart. Third place went Wayne Banks-Smith’s Farr 40 War Games.
Whistler made amends by taking out the race under AMS scoring, beating Tony Harman’s Masquerade and Archie, skippered by Todd Sproule. The PHS results produced another winner in Mr Kite, second place going to Wings Three (Peter Haros), third to Total Locks and Alarms, skippered by John Mills, Commodore of Bellerive Yacht Club.
The 16 boats in Group 3 raced under AMS and PHS scoring, with Stewart Geeves’ Young 88 winning AMS from Moonshadow (Anthony Ellis) and Trouble (Dave Willans).
PHS results saw a win for Mick Sheehan’s Just in Time from Ellusive (Roly Huddleston) and Moonshow with Ellusive turning on a show for the Bellerive Yacht Club finish box team with a spectacular broach just after crossing the line under shy spinnaker.
Group 3 also had a good turn-out with first place on PHS going to Take Five (Ian Gannon) from Tihany (Julius Szolvik) and Malcolm Cooper’s Kaiulani.
With four of the six Combined Clubs Long Race Series now sailed, Whistler has a commanding points lead under IRC and AMS in Group 1 while Masquerade is just four points ahead of Whistler in PHS.
In Group 2, Footloose and Trouble are equal first in AMS, while Rouseabout (Graham Inglis) has a one point lead from Trouble in PHS.
In Group 3, Ross Mannering’s Camlet Way has had 1-1-2-4 score so far to be 10 points clear of Tihany and Grizzly Adams (Joel Bulman) each on 18 points.