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TasPorts Maria Island Race

Greg Prescott’s modified Farr 40 2Unlimited, skippered by Oliver Nicholas, took line honours in the 73rd TasPorts Maria Island Race, sailed in Tasmania from 13-16 November, in one of the slowest races for some years.

2Unlimited, from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, also won the IRC and AMS handicap divisions of the 180 nautical mile ocean race while Peter Haros’ Wings Three, a Northshore 38 from the Derwent Sailing Squadron (DSS), took out the PHS handicap division.

Second across the line was John Dryden’s Bakewell-White Z39 Jazz Player with Rob Gough and John Saul’s specialist two-hander Sidewinder, an Akilaria Rc2, third across the line.

The fleet experienced mostly light conditions for the Friday night start, while very light to non-existent breezes prevailed for the latter part of the race. In contrast to last year’s race which saw several boats withdraw prior to the start due to the predicted heavy weather, this year, seven boats retired due to slow progress.

Ian Johnston’s Zephyr, Wings Three and Tom Macdonald and Nick Smith’s Prion ghosted to the finish on a fluky north-westerly leaving Stewart Geeves’ Footloose to finish in the early hours of Monday morning.

Footloose may not have taken the silverware this year, but the crew experienced a rare treat, being surrounded by whales on their journey at various times during the race which is indicative of the healthy populations on Tasmania’s east coast.

by Nick Hutton / Jane Austin

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