Best fleet in years for Bruny Island Race

  • February 8, 2019

The Bruny Island Race, Tasmania’s oldest inshore/offshore yacht race, first held in 1898, starts tomorrow morning with a fleet of 19 boats, the largest and arguably the best line-up for years.
The fleet includes Tasmania’s line and handicap winning yachts from the recent Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster (Oskana and Whistler) and the Launceston to Hobart races (The Fork in the Road and Philosopher).
Also in the fleet is 11-times Bruny Island Race winner Intrigue, with skipper David Calvert entering the Castro 40 once bushfires no longer threatened the family home and business down the Huon.
The fleet is back to 19 with Magellan Cromarty ‘re-entering’ after initially pulling out over technical problems.
The 89 nautical mile circumnavigation of elongated Bruny Island south of Hobart south of the Tasman Bridge at 9.30am.
Heading the fleet is 2018 Melbourne to Hobart race line honours winner Oskana, Mike Pritchard’s Cookson 50 which also led the fleet home in last year’s circumnavigation of the elongated island south of Hobart.
Other front runners are expected to be multiple line and overall winner The Fork in the Road, skippered by Gary Smith, Black Sheep (Matthew Pilkington) and Filepro (Tim Gadsby).

Off-Piste won AMS and PHS in last year’s Bruny Island race.

Also entered are last year’s handicap winners, Paul Einoder’s Beneteau Oceanis 34, Off-Piste, which took out both AMS and PHS categories, and Shaun Tiedemann’s Sydney 36cr Philosopher which won the IRC category.
The fleet actually includes seven past line and/or handicap winners: Intrigue, Oskana, Philosopher, Off-Piste, Whistler, The Fork in the Road and Footloose.
The Bruny Island circumnavigation was the first ocean race recorded in Tasmania, starting from Hobart on 17 March 1898. For the first 30 years it was simply known in the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania records as ‘The Ocean Race’.

The course is from a line south of the Tasman Bridge, opposite the Royal Hobart Regatta (which also opens tomorrow), down the River Derwent to circumnavigate Bruny Island.
The signal as to whether the fleet ‘leaves Bruny Island to port’ and thus sail down the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and then home in the Tasman Sea and Storm Bay to the Derwent, or the ‘leaves Bruny Island to starboard’ will be made tomorrow morning tomorrow morning. In recent years the course has mostly been to ‘leave Bruny to port.’
The fleet’s progress can be followed on satellite trackers through the RYCT web site:
www.ryct.org.au/sailing/J.J. RIchards Bruny Island Race/race tracking/

Words: Peter Campbell
Photos: Peter Watson
8 February 2019