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Mistral claims historic Cabbage Tree Island Race win as two-handers sweep podium

by Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 3 Dec 2022 18:41 PST 3-4 December 2022
2022 Cabbage Tree Island Race © Andrea Francolini

Mistral is the first two-handed boat to win Overall honours in one of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's major races, with co-skippers Rupert Henry and Greg O'Shea leading a two-handed sweep of the podium in the 2022 Cabbage Tree Island Race.

Sailing on Henry's Lombard 34 in the fifth race of the 2022/23 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, Henry and O'Shea completed the 172 nautical mile course in 22 hours, 27 minutes and 51 seconds.

Mistral was the only boat of the 69 in the fleet to finish with an IRC corrected time of less than a day, taking handicap honours ahead of fellow two-handers Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth (Jules Hall/Jan Scholten) and Transcendence Crento (Martin Cross/John Cross).

Two-handed entrants became eligible to claim Overall victory in Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore races earlier this year.

"It's good to see the double-handers doing so well," Henry said. "The race suited us. In some of the other races, the double-handers have been up there and the weather hasn't worked out for them.

"The Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore is a prestigious series and to win any race within that is a big achievement.

"We have good memories [in the Pointscore], we've won a few in the past on bigger boats, so it's nice."

Mistral's win was made more impressive by the fact Henry and O'Shea hadn't raced together since March, with Henry taking on two-handed and solo challenges around the world.

"We clicked back into a good rapport, especially in terms of communication and systems for allowing each other to rest when we needed to," Henry said.

"There wasn't a lot of strategy in the race; it was pretty much straight lining.

"The biggest decision was forcing yourself to stay on the rhumb line, not hunting for opportunities off it.

"It was a bit of an awkward angle the whole race. We didn't really have a lot of free running, we were in between sail set-ups, it was like sharp reaching."

Six of the top 10 boats on IRC were two-handed - Mistral, Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth, Transcendence Crento, Rum Rebellion (Shane Connelly/Tony Sutton), Sun Fast Racing (Lee Condell/Lincoln Dews), and Jupiter (Ian Smith/Ian Thomson). Sail Exchange (Carl Crafoord), Joss (Roberto Camacho), Alegria Republic (Rod Jones) and Enterprise Next Generation (Anthony Kirke and Andrew Nuttman) were the pick of the fully-crewed boats.

Mistral, one of 22 two-handed entrants in the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart, also won Two-Handed IRC and Two-Handed PHS.

Alegria Republic was sixth overall to win IRC Division 1, ahead of Enterprise Next Generation and URM Group (Anthony and David Johnston's Reichel/Pugh 72, skippered by Marcus Ashley-Jones).

Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth won on ORCi (all, Division 2 and two-handed), while Alegria Republic won ORCi Division 1.

Jon Linton's Dehler 46 Llama II won PHS honours (all and Division 2), as Kialoa II (Paddy and Keith Broughton) won PHS Division 1.

Transcendence Crento was the first Corinthian boat on corrected time, ahead of Rum Rebellion (Shane Connelly/Tony Sutton) and Midnight Rambler (Ed Psaltis). Meanwhile, Roberto Camacho's J/122 Joss finished top of the Wild Rose Pointscore, featuring boats with at least 10% female crew members.

The final race of the 2022/23 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore is the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart, which begins at 1pm (AEDT) on Monday 26 December.

View the final standings in the 2022 Cabbage Tree Island Race.

The Cabbage Tree Island Race also featured as the opener to the 2022 Australian Maxi Championship, which includes 10 boats across the Maxi and Mini Maxi Divisions.

In the Maxi Division, Andoo Comanche (skippered by John Winning Jr) leads the way on both Line Honours and the Overall standings, ahead of LawConnect, Black Jack and Hamilton Island Wild Oats.

URM Group is top of the Mini Maxi Division on handicap, trailed by Alive (Duncan Hine), Willow (Jim Cooney), Moneypenny (Sean Langman), No Limit (David Gotze) and Whisper (David Griffith).

Racing continues in the Australian Maxi Championship on Monday 5 December, with up to two passage races, followed by the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Tuesday.

The 2022 Australian Maxi Championship is proudly supported by Major Partner Sydney Brewery.

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