When in 2007, the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria made the bold decision to run their Blue Ribbon Hobart race down the east coast of Tasmania, they could not anticipate just how popular the event would prove.
Again and again the competitors commented on the desirability of a race on that shore. Not only did it provide immense challenge to the navigators in the fleet, due to the coastal nature of the course. Also it provided scenery of great majesty, wildlife in abundance and quality sailing. ORCV are a club who listen to and respond to their membership and so the new Eastcoaster course was born.
This year the course was changed slightly with Flinders Island being a mark of the course and Maria Island not being. The weather for this race started a little softly but competition was fierce amongst the leading group of boats.
Kevin Robinson, skipper of No Fearr, commented ‘It was a very scenic trip around Flinders Island. It was a great course. The only thing is that crossing Bass Strait there is a few things on the rhumbline, like Deal Island and Devil's tower. Also you have to keep clear of the shipping lanes.'
Shamrock, the Mornington based Reichel Pugh, stamped their authority on this race from the very beginning. At each sked they seemed to gain a little more ground on their competitors. Helsal II, Ocean Skins, eXtasea and Icefire all worked hard to peg back the lead but the final straw was when Shamrock rounded Flinders Island.
The boats on the coast had fallen into a hole, with eXtasea reporting just four knots of breeze. Shamrock came home to finish at 6.30pm on the 29th, so emphatic was their Line Honours victory second place getters, eXtasea, did not finish until 3.55am the next morning.
eXtasea and Helsal II certainly had a battle to the finish with just a five minute difference in the finish time. Ocean Skins followed some half an hour later and Icefire an hour after that.
Whichever race the yacht comes from and whatever time they arrive the welcome at Elizabeth Pier is warm.