David Aplin’s much-travelled and successful MBD36, Whistler, is in top racing tune going into next month’s Banjo’s Shoreline Crown Series Bellerive Regatta.
Whistler won the final race of the IRC Division 3 of the Australian Yachting Championships on Melbourne’s Port Phillip earlier this week, finishing equal second on points to fellow Tasmanian boat, Shaun Tiedemann’s Sydney 36cr, Philosopher.
Whistler is among the 25 early entries for the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta to be sailed on the River Derwent on 15,16 and 17 February.
The yacht will be sailed back to Hobart next week after competing in the Festival of Sails regatta at Geelong over the Australia Day long weekend.
Whistler also won the long passage race of the Australian Yachting Championships but had to be content with third overall, second place going to the Victorian yacht Chutzpah on a countback.
Co-incidently, one of Whistler’s several female crew, Lucy Rees, has been invited to be a guest at the launch of the Banjo’s Shoreline Crown Series Bellerive Regatta at BYC next Thursday morning.
The invitation was extended following the overall win by Whistler in the recent Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster in which Lucy, 22, was also a crew member.
Lucy, a sailmaker with Doyle Sails in Hobart, played a key role in each of this week’s wins, specifically in Whistler’s long race victory on Port Phillip.
As the wind freshened in the fourth short windward/leeward race on day one, Whistler blew out her masthead symmetrical spinnaker, obviously a vital sail for next day’s 25-miler around the bay.
After the fourth race, Whistler headed across to the Doyles Melbourne sail loft at Williamstown where Lucy worked until 1.30 next morning, firstly repairing sails for Adelaide yacht Secret Men’s Business and then sewing Whistler’s kite back together.
“I think I got to bed about 2am and we had to be on the starting line at 10.30am….they let me have a nap on the downwind leg,” Lucy said after Whistler notched up her second win of the championship.
Shaun Tiedemann’s Philosopher will now go for a unique hat-trick in the 2020 Australian Yachting championships to be sailed on Hobart’s River Derwent and Storm Bay on 3-5 January next year, immediately following the 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
In January 2018, Philosopher became the first Tasmanian boat to win an IRC title at the Australian Yachting Championships and has now won back-to-back titles.
In an outstanding summer of sailing for the Derwent Sailing Squadron club manager, Philosopher has also won IRC overall honours in the Maria Island and Launceston to Hobart races this season.
The young crew of Philosopher (not counting the owner/skipper) has an average of 23 and a wealth of sailing successes in off-the-beach classes, high performance skiffs and sports boats before joining the racing yacht.
The winning crew, in addition to the owner/skipper, comprised his son Sam as helmsman, along with Elliott Noye, Alec Bailey, Oli Burnell, Chris Jones, Tom Stearnes and Will Sargent.
“They are all ex-Cadet sailors, including my son Sam, and they’ve come back to keelboat sailing on Philosopher, which is important for the sport. I get to sail with my son and he gets to sail with his mates,” a proud Shaun Tiedemann said this evening.
IRC Division 1 of the Australian Yachting Championships went to Australian Sailing President Matt Allen, sailing his TP52 Ichi Ban after a close-fought series against runner-up Hooligan (Marcus Blackmore).
Most yachts in the Australian Yachting Championships, including Philosopher and Whistler, will contest the huge Festival of Sails regatta at Royal Geelong Yacht Club over the Australia Day weekend.
Philosopher will contest the full-on IRC Racing division while Whistler sail in the Cruising division with her AMS rating, starting with an Australia Day race from Williamstown to Geelong.
Words: Peter Campbell, Lisa Ratcliff
Photos: Caitlin Baxter
25 January 2019