Robert Green's yacht Dream won the Melbourne to Devonport Race in style, crossing the finishing line at 20:07:40 Friday night after what was a challenging and sometimes sensational race across Bass Strait. “Really pleased to be here. It was a very frustrating race with so many pockets of calm and we were so disappointed to hit 0.05 knots within 4nm of the finish line. We spent a further three hours chasing any breeze we could find but the crew did a great job,” Robert told waiting ORCV media at the Mersey Yacht Club.
The Pacific 50, Dream attacked the start line with gusto yesterday and bested all to exit Port Phillip heads first. They never looked back leaving the rest of the fleet in their wake, literally as they sprinted across the 'paddock' in mostly favourable following winds.
They were followed into Devonport by Eddie Mackevicius’ Beneteau 40.7 Merlion, that came up the Mersey River at midnight after trailing Dream by 16 nautical miles, followed by Bruce Early's Afrayed Knot, a Northshore NSX38.
Overnight, northerly winds kept the 10 boat fleet heading southeast, near the rhumb line for the 195 mile race that finishes at the Mersey River on Tasmania's north shore but the softer conditions towards Devonport frustrated the tired crews. So Dream's efforts were not good enough for the record, after her elapsed time of about 32 hours which is well outside the record of 19h 32m 56s set by Prowler in 1998.
Provisional handicap honours has been shared among the 10 boat fleet with Mersea (Neil Sargeant) claiming the AMS title and the Rudder Cup on his Hanse 445. “Glorious conditions after a very testing night; wind from all points of the compass and speeds from 0 to 27 knots!,” reported Neil when about 50 miles from Devonport. Sargeant was looking at the distances to the leaders and how much time allowance which would put him in contention for the three race Rudder Cup series.
The Rudder Cup is Australia's longest standing ocean race and the fifth oldest organised ocean yacht race in the world, pre-dating the Fastnet by nearly 20 years and the Sydney to Hobart race by nearly four decades.
The story of the day probably goes to John Hall on Wingara who overcame technical problems which delayed his start by 55 minutes, to go on to sail a very good race and his reward is the PHS title. However the biggest prize, the Rudder Cup could have been his, as he was pipped by only 4 minutes on corrected time for AMS by winner Mersea.
Another handicap winner under IRC is Merlion (Eddie Mackevicius's) who along with Afrayed Knot (Bruce Early)gave a strong chase to line honours winner Dream, with Merlion second over the line at the Mersey River entrance.
Overall, the race was done under mostly mild conditions and crews all made it safely to the very welcoming Mersey Yacht Club where the Victorian based yachts are planning a quick turn around to get back across 'the paddock' for new year celebrations.
The ORCV would like to say thank you to our Melbourne to Devonport race sponsor, Engine Property Group. Engine Property Group is an experienced, recognised and award winning industry leader in the management of large multi-level owners corporations and estates and is structured accordingly.