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Launceston-Hobart 2012 - Penfold Audi Sport named provisional winner

by Peter Campbell on 29 Dec 2012
Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Penfold Audi Sport Andrea Francolini Photography
Penfold Audi Sport overcame all kinds of troubles along the way to become the provisional AMS and IRC handicap winner of the Good Guys Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race 2012.

The small Victorian yacht Penfold Audi Sport is the provisional winner of both the AMS and IRC handicap categories of The Good Guys Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race, with more than half the fleet finished by early this afternoon.

The Archambault 31, skippered by Port Phillip ship’s pilot and successful Melbourne yachtsman David Ellis, crossed the finish line at 10.30am, in 15th place but only four hours and 36 minutes behind the line honours, Gary Smith’s The Fork in the Road, which finished at 6.14am.

Five yachts have retired and three others are sheltering from the galeforce south-westerly winds roaring across Storm Bay to Tasman Island and, in gusts, up the River Derwent. The others are in the Derwent and should finish by early this evening

Derwent Sailing Squadron sailing secretary Michael Denny confirmed provisional results late this afternoon with Penfold Audi Sport taking out first place on corrected time under both AMS and IRC ratings and second under PHS scoring.

As winner of the AMS division, the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria entry will be the Overall winner of the 285 nautical mile race around Tasmania’s north-east and east coasts.

In the AMS category, Penfold Audi Sport has won from Ian Marshall’s Farr 1104 Hot Prospect from Geilston Bay Boating Club, and Moonshadow, Anthony Ellis’ Lotus 10.6 from the DSS. Hot Prospect has sailed in all six L2H, her skipper being one of the driving forces to introduce the race six years ago.

In the IRC category, Penfold Audi Sport has provisionally won from The Fork in the Road and the Beneteau First 40, The Protagonist, skippered by Stuart Denny.

Moonshadow is provisional winner of the PHS division from Penfold Audi Sport and the Sydney 38, Obsession, skippered by David Allan from the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club at Beauty Point.

There could not have been a happier skipper aboard the L2H yachts berthed at the Kings Street Pier this afternoon than David Ellis on Penfold Audi Sport.

'After all the bad luck we had before the race, we had lots of better luck once the race started,' Ellis said, referring to flight delays between Melbourne and Launceston and the damage to the boat’s rudder and hull when it tilted backwards on its cradle while on the slipway at Beauty Point.

After undergoing repairs on the morning of the start, last Thursday, Penfold Audi Sport got to the start on time only because a shipping movement on the Tamar River forced the Tamar Yacht Club to delay the start by 80 minutes.

'The fast ebbing tide helped us keep up with bigger boats going down the river to Low Head and reaching across Bass Strait we were able to hold our position, ' Ellis said. 'Going through Banks Strait we had less current and a strong westerly to drive us through.'

'We had learned a lot from last year’s race and we had two excellent new sails, a Code 0 and an A7 reaching sail, and we used both a lot of the time.

'Our big break came early this morning when the wind shifted from west to south-west in Storm Bay, and we gained a lot on the bigger boats, including Ramrod which had been leading on handicap at that stage

'Coming up the Derwent with the sou’wester gusting to 28 knots were had a reefed mainsail, originally a No 2 headsail, then down to a No 4 jib,' Ellis added.

As of 4pm, 19 yachts had finished the L2H, five others had retired with damage, and three boats were sheltering in bays along the eastern side of the Tasman Peninsula.

Careena, Hummingbird and Tilt have retired with mainsail damage, Salt Air has broken steering and is on her way to Hobart under motor with emergency steering. Kaiulani has retired to motor through the Dennison Canal at Dunalley rather than face the ferocity of rounding Tasman Island.

Fordplay, Genevive and Take 5 have all taken shelter, but have not retired from the race.

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