Bruny Island Race line honours to Oskana
Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania member Mike Pritchard this evening added to his competitive racing honours in state-of-the-art rally cars and yachts by finishing first in the Club’s iconic JJ Richards Bruny Island Yacht Race with his Cookson 50, Oskana.
Oskana crossed the finish line off Hobart’s Castray Esplanade at Battery Point at 21:41:04 AEST for an elapsed time of 12 hours 11 minutes and four second.
She sailed slowly up a murky River Derwent, finishing less than half a mile ahead of The Fork in the Road (Gary Smith). Next in fleet was Crusader, followed by Peregrine.
The Fork in the Road finished at 21:47 followed by Crusader at 22:15 hours.
Since Pritchard bought the 2013 Sydney Hobart winner and renamed her Oskana, the Cookson 50 has rewarded the Hobart surgeon with line honours victories in the Maria Island and Bruny Island long offshore/inshore races.
As Oskana finished tonight most of the fleet was still tacking up the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, but a strong sou’wester about 2130 hours has given them a boost (and some quick sail changes) as gusts of up to 40 knots roared up the Channel and the River.
From the morning start this morning, Oskana had revelled in the downwind spinnaker run in the Tasman Sea off the rugged east coast of Bruny Island.
She then had to overcome frustratingly light and flukey breezes through the winding reaches of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
Snapping at her transom throughout the 89-nautical circumnavigation of the historic island south of Hobart were past line and handicap winner The Fork in the Road (Gary Smith) and lightweight flyers, Scott McKay’s Melges 32, Crusade, and David Stephenson’s Farr 40, Peregrine, along with 11-times past winner Intrigue (Don Calvert).
The Bruny Island Race, Australia’s oldest offshore/inshore long yacht race, first held in 1898, had a morning start just south of Hobart’s Tasman Bridge, marking the opening day of the 180th Royal Hobart Regatta.
Oskana bounced out of the start and quickly opened up a lead over the 16 boat fleet, but throughout the spinnaker run down the Derwent, and down the rugged Tasman Sea coast of Bruny Island, she was constantly challenged for the lead.
As the leaders passed Tasman Head and the Friars, a rocky group of islets off South Bruny, less than a sea mile separated the four leading boats, Oskana, Crusader, The Fork in the Road and Peregrine.
The long spinnaker run down the Bruny coast, past historic Adventure Bay, followed by the light and flukey winds in the Channel, are favouring smaller, lower rated boats on handicap.
Last evening, the Beneteau Oceanis 34 Off-Piste, skippered by Paul Einoder, was provisionally ranked number one in all three handicap categories, IRC, AMS and PHS, with Intrigue and Whistler (David Alpin) well placed on corrected time.
The fleet was reduced off Cape Bruny when Will Justo’s Groove snapped her mast at deck level. However, the rig has stayed upright, supported by her rigging and this afternoon the crew were motoring to Kettering.
Haphazard (Andrew Sinclair) also retired this evening with a torn mainsail and was motoring back to Hobart.
Words: Peter Campbell
Photos: Penny Conacher/Peter Campbell
2200AEST/10 February 2018