Many of Australia’s fastest sports boats will be racing on Hobart’s River Derwent over the Easter weekend, with Bellerive Yacht Club hosting the 2012 Australian Sports Boat and Trailable Yacht Championships.
A fleet of 14 custom-designed, high-performance sports boats will be racing for the Australian Sports Boat Association national championships, sailing under the SMS (Sportsboat Measurement System) handicaps, with entries from Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania.
Characteristically, these sports boats have light displacement hulls and carry exceptionally big rigs in comparison to their overall length. They are exceptionally fast downwind under their huge, masthead spinnakers.
A further 15 boats, which range from the classic TS16 trailer-sailers to smaller sports boats such as Elliott 7.8s, will race under CBH handicaps in the Trailable Yacht national championships.
The Trailable Yacht championship will see the debut of Bellerive Yacht Club Vice Commodore Danny Cunningham’s Ball Breaker, the first of the i550 class of sports boats to be amateur-built in Tasmania.
At least 14 i550s are under construction in the State, using the ‘stitch-and-glue’ method that ensures a light, solid hull, and a quick build.
Current ASBA champion Blokes World, an Egan 7.27 skippered by Brett Whitbread from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, is regarded as the boat to beat in the SMS division.
The ASBA division has drawn an impressive line-up, including Royal Geelong Yacht Club sailor Cam Rae who will be racing Monkey Business, a Shaw 650. Monkey Business won the 2011 and 2012 Victorian state championships and finished runner-up at the recent Geelong regatta.
Another top Victorian entry is Andrew Waugh’s Zippier, a Thompson 8 representing the Royal Brighton Yacht Club.
Go Majik (Richard De Vries), a Magic 25 from the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Sydney, is the 2011 and 2012 NSW championship and came third at Airlie Beach 2011.
Two brand new boats competing, both Shaw 650s, are Tickety Boom, sailed by Mike Hinchey from Newcastle, and Hardcore Dog, skippered by Sam Edmunds from the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club on the Tamar River in northern Tasmania. Sam was the 2011 State champion in his previous boat.
Another strong contender is Kaito, a Melges 24 skippered by Heath Townsend, which has sailed in all four ASBA nationals and never finished outside the top five.
by Peter Campbell
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5:41 AM Sat 31 Mar 2012GMT
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