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Former Hobart Race Winner Ausmaid Takes Out Tough Ocean Race
Ausmaid, Overall Winner of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 1996 and 2000, made an impressive return to grand prix ocean racing yesterday, outsailing a small but high quality fleet in the Blue Water Pointscore race from Sydney to Bird Island and return.
The fleet had to battle galeforce winds and rough seas along the New South Wales Central Coast, with a spectacular ride north followed by a long hard slog back down the coast.
The start from Sydney Harbour saw some spectacular broaches as yachts carried spinnakers in the gusty 30 knot sou’sou wester, with winds reaching 40 knots offshore and seas rising steeply.
Indicative of the conditions, it took line honours winner Matt Atten’s powerful Farr 52, Ichi Ban, 11 hours 16 minutes 19 seconds to sail the 85 nautical mile course, more than three and a half hours outside the record.
Ausmaid, a Farr 47 now owned by Sydney yachtsman Alan Quick, has provisionally won the Blue Water Pointscore IMS division on corrected time from Ichi Ban by 3 minutes 37 seconds.
Quest, Bob Steel’s Nelson/Marek 46 which won last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, finished third, just 40 seconds ahead of Syd Fischer’s Farr 50, Ragamuffin, having its first race under a new sweptback spreader rig.
Ichi Ban took line honours and also won the IRC Division (Cape Byron Series) from Quest and Ragamuffin and the PHS Division (Tasman Series) from Nips N Tux (Howard de Torres), Ausmaid placing third.
In the Long Ocean Pointscore race, also to Bird Island and return, only four boats started, three retired, leaving only Cadenza (Gunnar and Ulli Tuisk) still racing back to Sydney.
The heavy conditions also took its toll on the Ocean Pointscore race to Lion Island and return with nine retirements from the 17-boat fleet.
Antipodes (Greg Newton) won the IMS Division from Pippin (David Taylor) and Balmain Experience (Tony Williams) with line honours winner Andrew Short Marine, Andrew Short’s Volvo Ocean 60, winning both the IRC and PHS divisions.
In the IRC division, CYCA Commodore John Messenger placed second with his Sydney 38, Utopia, third going to Julian Farren-Price, skippering his Cookson 39, About Time. In PHS, the placings went to UBS Wild Thing, skippered by CYCA Vice Commodore Geoff Lavis, and AFR Midnight Rambler (SEB Corporation).
On Sydney Harbour, the strong winds also reduced fleet sizes, with Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron cancelling racing for Etchells, Dragons and other one-design classes for safety reasons.
Peter Campbell – 0419 385 028 or email –firstname.lastname@example.org