DSS | 23 Marieville Esp, Sandy Bay TAS 7005  03 6223 1977

Elderly yacht Pukana battles on in L2H

As the  leaders in the Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race, The Fork in the Road and Tilt,  tonight sailed their final 100 nautical miles to the finish, the elderly yacht Pukana was plugging along, 40 to 50 nautical  miles astern.

Provided the current good sailing winds continue, either Gary Smith’s The Fork in the Road or Peter Cretan’s Tilt should cross the finish line first off Hobart’s historic Battery Point by late tomorrow morning..   Pukana certainly won’t finish until late Wednesday

Aged 42, Pukana is the oldest and one of the smallest boats in the fleet of 26 mostly modern offshore racing yachts. She is the first boat to represent the Austin’s Ferry Yacht Club in the 285 nautical ocean race.

Owner/skipper Andrew Matton-Johnson is on a mission after missing the 2010 National Pies Launceston to Hobart when his Supersonic 30 suffered mast damage in heavy seas in Bass Strait on the delivery voyage from Hobart to Beauty Point.

“Dad’s aim is to finish; so long as he does that, he will be happy,” his daughter Sarah Quarrell posted on the Derwent Sailing Squadron’s Launceston to Hobart web site yesterday.

Early this evening, the leading yachts, The Fork in the Road and Tilt were sailing past the spectacular Freycinet Peninsula, about 110 nautical miles from Hobart. Pukana was off Scamander,  with about 150 miles to sail.

After a frustrating morning with light and variable winds off the East Coast, every boat in the fleet this afternoon was making good boat speed under spinnaker before a building nor’easter of 10-20 knots.


Nexedge, John Mills and Ian Douglas’ Lyons 40 which won the boat-busting 1993 Sydney Hobart,  was leading the main bulk of the fleet from fellow Bellerive Yacht Club boats Martela (Tony Williams) and B&G Advantage (Jeff Cordell).  They were off Friendly Beaches.

Martela had a few minutes of drama on Sunday night sailing through the Banks Strait in light winds when skipper Tony Williams hung over the transom, suspended by a halyard, to clear bull kelp from the yacht’s rudder.

Also well placed in a closely bunched fleet were the Victorian yacht Remedy, the Hobart entrants Emotional Rescue, Ciao Baby II, Helsal V, Mistraal and Winstead Wines.

Lawless, from the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club on the Tamar, also was making good time close inshore but fellow PDYC boat Obsession was further offshore and appeared to be missing the strong of the north to north-easterly breeze as it reached 20 knots late in the afternoon.

Peter Campbell

28 December 2015


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