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Hobart Combined Clubs Long Race Series Race 3 Preview

by Liz Rountree 30 Nov 2023 22:35 PST 2 December 2023
The Dog House prepares for their Launceston to Hobart Campaign © Charlotte Frankcombe

The Heat is "On"...

It may be damp, it may be overcast, but the Southerlies and Easterlies have been pumping, which means the heat of competition is on - and this Saturday looks to be no exception.

The results are tight across all divisions, as the fleet lines up for Saturday's start to the third race of the Combined Clubs Long Race Series.

To make the most of the day, Bellerive Yacht Club's RO Grant Sutton and his team will make the decision to lay a mark off the Bruny shore or opt for an Island or Storm Bay mark giving a longer tactical upwind sail in the building morning wind, followed by a speedy downwind home in afternoon breeze.

Add to that a few notable absences, as teams make final preparations before the Summer offshore events, there is plenty of room for a reshuffle in the standings.

In Div 1, Sundowner, winners of last week's Two Capes, and Joint Custody are well poised to climb up to a podium position each in ORC and IRC divisions, if they can stay in touch with Zephyr Insurance Masters, currently 3rd in both. Jazz Player just tails current series leader Intrigue.

In Div 2, Xcite is a mere point off the podium in ORC and improving each time out. "We are constantly learning its idiosyncrasies and quirks," says skipper John Mills, in the wake of all the Winter modifications. "There is no middle ground [in the trimming], it's either right or wrong - and the boat lets us know pretty quickly."

Mills also notes that much of the crew ("The Xciters") has a background in skiff sailing which helps with the tuning and handling. "Xcite can be challenging to sail, is extremely sensitive to trim, which makes it enjoyable, exhilarating, satisfying - and never boring!"

Stephen Mannering's team on Camlet Way, looks forward to "a good beat to the South and spinnaker run home." The team won Div 3 outright in the last race of the series, enjoying a head-to-head with Joie de Vie.

Meanwhile, Div 2's The Dog House prepares for their Launceston to Hobart campaign. "We have only recently finalised our crew for the upcoming L2H, so this race will be a great opportunity to refine our crew work, and for the recent [crew] additions to familiarise themselves with the boat," reports skipper Charlotte Frankcombe.

The Doghouse debuted the season with new joint ownership between Peter Coad and Steve Duggan. "Over winter our dedicated crew gave the boat a full refurbishment: the engine was rebuilt, new electrics throughout, new rigging, the keel and rudder came out and a number of halyards were replaced, a huge thanks to Duggans Concrete for their support." says Frankcombe.

The Dog House currently leads Arunga by 1 point, for 3rd place, behind Footloose (2nd) and IYKYK (1st).

The Combined Clubs Series is a big part of preparation for many teams who plan on attending events further afield.

"Our priority is to enjoy being on the water but obviously like all the guys out there we aim to be competitive" shares Frankcombe. Not only does the series bring clubs together, but as she says, "[It] increases in fleet numbers increases the competition and the variety in the courses."

One notable absence will be Wings Three, who at the time of writing was off the Northeast coast of Tas doing 7.5 kts in 3-4m swell. Peter Haros and the team will be in the L2H lineup - perhaps a fortuitous delivery window for their competition in Div 2.

Sailors take note, according to Mills "The BYC post-race BBQ and entertainment is as important as the racing itself!" There will be music and a spread after the races. It's not just about the teamwork and camaraderie, there's got to be a bit of fun, too.

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