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Hobart Combined Clubs Long Race Series Race 5

by Liz Rountree 17 Mar 23:59 PDT 4 February 2024

The last of the Combined Clubs Long Race Pennant was true to the name, with most competitors describing the day as just that, "Long", made longer by the possibility of a sea breeze that never came.

"Sitting off Little Betsy Island with 5 kts of breeze, 3 kts of current and severe backwash from the island, we didn't think we would finish before midnight," laughs IYKYK skipper Steve Chau, sharing what just about the whole fleet was thinking at one point or another.

Luckily the breeze trickled in. managing to bring the troops home with kites up. "It was a glorious run back from Betsy," says Gus McKay the sometimes skipper of Jazz Player, "And we enjoyed some really close views of the impressive Porco Rosso."

While not quite enough for the Cookson 50 to "stretch her legs" according to skipper Paul McCartney, it was still a great day out for Porco Rosso to get ready for some Autumn training before Winter boat work and their 2024 Sydney to Hobart campaign. The team nabbed Line Honours ahead of Gary Smith's Fork in the Road.

And while they didn't have to, David Calvert and Team Intrigue went ahead and took the win for the day in the Division 1 IRC and ORC handicap, locking and throwing away the key on the Pennant win in both categories, leaving Jazz Player the win on PHS.

Intrigue of course is not just a champion yacht, but a maker of champions.

Only 2 weeks ago Jacinta Cooper skippered her for an overall win on the 42 South Women's Regatta, hosted by the Derwent Sailing Squadron.

"Intrigue was a pleasure to sail. She's a well-balanced boat in immaculate condition," shares Cooper. "Absolute credit to the Calvert family for looking after this 40-year-old yacht."

Cooper got her big start in yachting as a young sailor with the help of the Calvert family for her first overseas event in J24s in Newport Rhode Island, and later in J22s in Dubai.

"It was support from the Intrigue fund that helped make these regattas possible," continues Cooper.

Jill and Don Calvert continue to develop new talent, taking on the newest up-and-comers like Jack Harris who is well on his way to his Yacht Masters.

Just behind the winners, Matthew Keal's Fish Frenzy and "CWeeds" Joint Custody had an excellent performance in the final race for 2nd and 3rd in the handicap results for the day, giving Joint Custody the tiebreaker for 2nd overall in the IRC series over Jazz Player, Jazz Player holding on to 2nd in the ORC rating.

IYKYK finished 2nd to Stewart Geeves' Footloose on IRC both in the race and in the series by one point but managed to keep the ORC win for both. Ron Akhurst's Jigsaw had a standout performance in Div 2 to finish 2nd on ORC in the race, for a 3rd place overall in the series behind Footloose.

"Spending lots of time parked, followed by a reasonably fast run home helped us," reports Geeves.

Newcomers Polka Dot Lady (Michael and the Pritchards) and Anna (fresh import from QLD James Chilman) brought extra competition to the division, finishing 1st and 3rd in Line Honours.

Some of the tightest racing took place in Div 3, with a neck and neck nail-biter between Camlet Way and Joie de Vie - each thinking the other had won in the end. "Some boats did better with lifts up the Western shore," says skipper Ben Morgan of Joie de Vie, "Surprisingly it stayed lighter in the East although there was a South-Easterly forecast." He and his team managed to win the day by a mere 40 seconds and in doing so took the series, with Camlet Way (Stephen Mannering) and Astrolabe (Peter Bosworth) in 2nd and 3rd overall.

Once again RO Ian Ross and the team onboard made the most of a lacklustre day, for a competitive finish to the Pennant.

Once sailors have recovered, it might just be time to think about next year - and McKay has got a few reasons why:

"It's personally my pick of the racing out of Hobart. It's really close racing and a mixed bag of conditions that keeps everyone on their toes and provides plenty of hero to zero and then back to hero moments!"

One more Saturday to go, to finish off the Summer Pennants with the last of the Harbour Series...

Full Series Results

Combined Clubs Hosts: Bellerive Yacht Club * Derwent Sailing Squadron * Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania

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