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TasPorts Maria Island Race 2020 - Preview

by Nick Hutton 12 Nov 2020 22:35 PST From 13 November 2020
TasPorts Maria Island Race © Penny Conacher

The 73rd TasPorts Maria Island Race starts at 7:00pm, Friday 13 November, in Hobart from Castray Esplanade. The fleet sails the 180 nautical-mile race around Maria Island on Tasmania's east coast with the first finishers expected late Saturday night.

The weather forecast for the race is quite mild unlike last year's race where half of the fleet withdrew before the start due to the heavy weather forecast.

The boat to watch in this year's event is 2Unlimited sailed by current Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (RYCT) Governor's Cup holder and Tasmanian Offshore Sailor of the Year, Greg Prescott. 2Unlimited won the four handicap groups in the JJ Richards Bruny Island Race in February this year and won her division in the Australian Yachting Championship held on the River Derwent in January.

Close competition is expected from Mike Pritchard's Oskana, line honours favourite for the race, and Midnight Rambler sailed by Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race veteran Ed Psaltis.

Several boats are sailing two-handed in this year's race in preparation for the long ocean races in December this year and January 2021. The recently arrived Sidewinder, an Akilaria RC specially designed for short-handed sailing, is being campaigned by Rob Gough and John Saul and should be the two-handed boat to watch.

Kraken 42S, a Cookson 12 formerly known as Grace O'Malley, is being campaigned by Mark Bayles and Andrew Sinclair and is expected to feature in the final washup.

RYCT's Footloose, skippered by Stewart Geeves, Twitch sailed by the Twitch Syndicate from the Bellerive Yacht Club, and Prion, skippered by Tom Macdonald and Nick Smith from the Derwent Sailing Squadron will do battle for the honours among the 30-foot boats in the fleet.

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