Launched back in 1975, Glen Roper’s elderly yacht Natelle Two today showed she still has a spring in her bow wave, winning both the PHS and the IRC categories of Division 2 in the Combined Clubs Summer Pennant race.
Designed by the US naval architect, the late Doug Petersen, to the old IOR Two Tonner rule, Natelle Two has retained the red with white stripes topsides that makes her a standout in Hobart yachting fleets.
She obviously still has a good turn of boatspeed in a fresh to strong breeze, notably beating to windward.
Roper has owned Natelle Two since 1990 and has raced her consistently in harbour and long ocean races. His daughter Laura, then aged 22, skippered the yacht in the 2011 Sydney Hobart.
With a fresh to strong westerly (it was mainly 15-20 knots but gusted to 24 knots mid-afternoon and swung to the NNW), Derwent Sailing Squadron set a course that took Divisions 1, 2 and 3 on a 29 nautical mile course around Betsey Island, with Division 4 to Little Betsey Island, three miles shorter.
In a race that had everything, Derwent Sailing Squadron Commodore Steve Chau summed it up as….”like a Launceston to Hobart in five hours!! Reaching down the Derwent, square running to Betsey, upwind from Betsey to Iron Pot and hard on the wind from the Garrow Light to the finish off Battery Point.”
Bad luck story of the day was Doctor Who which had been leading fleet back up the river but fell into a light wind hole just south of the Garrow. This allowed The Fork in the Road to close in and take line honours and for Intrigue to run down the ‘Doctor’s’ time.
However, her third place still gives Doctor Who a commanding points lead in the prestigious IRC category of Division 1, well clear of Intrigue and Philosopher, which received average points for her absence racing in Melbourne.
Natelle Two was one of three yachts to score a handicap double, another veteran boat in Don Calvert’s 34-year-old Castro 40 Intrigue winning Division 1, IRC and AMS while DSS Commodore Steve Chau steered his more modern Young 88 Young Lion to first place in Division 3, AMS and IRC.
In Division 2, Natelle Two finished third in fleet and on PHS corrected time won from Pirate’s Pride (Peter Masterton) which took fastest time, third place going to Ian Snape’s Frontline. Under IRC scoring the veteran yacht won from Wings Three (Peter Haros) and Illusion (David Brett).
Wings Three won Division 2 AMS from Southern Swordfish (Ian Stewart) and Illusion.
Another veteran yacht, Don Calvert’s 1985-vintage Castro 40 Intrigue, won Division 1 under IRC and AMS. Zephyr (Ian Johnston) won under PHS scoring and also placed second to Intrigue in IRC and third in AMS for a good all-round result. Jeff Cordell’s B&G Advantage finished second in both AMS and PHS, but is not entered in IRC.
It was a good day’s racing for DSS Commodore Steve Chau in his Young 88 Young Lion, winning Division 3 IRC from Footloose (Stewart Geeves) and Moonshadow (Anthony Ellis). Under AMS, Young Lion again won from Footloose with Young One (Nathan Mills and John Nibbs) third, all three Young 88s.
Another veteran yacht, Charles Peacock’s Serica, won Division 3 PHS from Miss Conduct (Brian Fleming) and Footloose.
In Division 4, the fresher breeze certainly suited Stephen Mannering’s Camlet Way which won outright, second place on PHS handicaps going to Astrolabe (Peter Bosworth), third to Wayatih (Allan Morgan).
Fleet numbers were down for this first post-Christmas Summer Pennant Race, with many yachties still away on holidays, and Shaun Tiedemann’s Philosopher away for the Australian Yachting Championships and Geelong’s Festival of Sail on Port Phillip.
Chris Sheehan had originally entered his recently acquired and as yet un-named Melges 32, but withdraw late on Friday. Only 33 of the 52 boats entered for the Combined Clubs Summer Pennant actually raced today.
However, the fleet is expected to be back to full strength for race six of the Summer Pennant on Saturday, 2 February, with the Bruny Island Race and the Royal Hobart Regatta the following weekend, 9 and 11 February respectively.
Then it’s the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta over the weekend of 15-17 February which includes the inaugural Tasmanian AMS Championships and the SB20 Tasmanian State Championship.
Words: Peter Campbell/Peter Watson
Photos: Peter Watson
19 January 2019