Patriot pulls out all stops to win Melbourne to Devonport Rudder Cup
Patriot, Jason Close’s J/133 has won the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s (ORCV) 195 nautical mile Melbourne to Devonport Yacht Race for the Rudder Cup in which ’J’ boats were successful across the board.
The 195 nautical mile race, which started off Queenscliff at the mouth of Bass Strait on Friday night at 6 p.m, provided tactical and navigation challenges for all.
Close agreed: “It was a challenging race mentally and tactically. The start was fine, but we fell into a hole around Wilsons Promontory for around four hours and had to battle from there.
“We didn’t fully stop, but waiting for the breeze to fill in from the east was hard… There were lots of transition zones, especially leading into Devonport, with light patches thrown it. We sailed well though and we all enjoyed it. We have a good crew of dinghy sailors who kept their heads out of the boat.”
Patriot Wins the Rudder Cup Photo Steb Fisher
Close acknowledged, “This is the first time we’ve won the Rudder Cup – we’ve finished runner-up a couple of times. It was our qualifier for the Sydney Hobart, so a good result going to that.”
To finish, he said, “I’d like to thank the ORCV and their volunteers. They’re a great organisation that works hard to put on a great event. They also do a lot to promote sailing, which I am also passionate about. They just won the Sports Promotion award (Australian Sailing Awards) again.”
Ginan, a J/111 owned by Nigel Jones and Cam McKenzie, placed second.
“We’re pretty happy the way we went and had a good crew, said Jones, runner-up in the 2022 Westcoaster race. “Unfortunately we had a little incident on the start line with Patriot, which cost us. It was our fault, we take responsibility,” Jones said.
Explaining their tactics, he shared, “We take time to study the weather and tracking. We followed what the tracker said and made full use of the race course, chasing wind angles etc, so we’re happy with how we tactically sailed the race.
“We did the Sydney Gold Coast Race in July, which was also busy with sail changes – the Rudder Cup was a mini version of that. You had to put in the hard work to achieve.
“We used the Code Zero, jib top, staysail and No 2 jib, plus three spinnakers. We used them all! We have an extensive wardrobe for small boat because we’re keen to experiment with sails,” said Jones, whose boat will continue the season with ORCV races, including defending their 2022 Sprint Series title.
Ginan placed second overall Photo A Dillon pic
A second J/133, Joker X2, owned by Grant Chipperfield and Peter Downdey, won the Double-Handed division. They were uncontactable for comment as they were sailing back to Melbourne.
Peccadillo (Charles Meredith) took multihull line honours, while Paul Buchholz took monohull line honours with his Cookson 50, Extasea. To reach the finish line, Extasea had her challenges too.
Buchholz, Vice Commodore of Royal Geelong Yacht Club and 2023 Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s (ORCV) Ocean Racer of the Year, explained: “The start went well out the Heads. The weather was pretty good. We had a southerly that petered out on Saturday off Tassie. We went round in circles for about two hours.
Joker X2 won the Double Handed Division Photo Al Dillon
“A nor’ westerly of up to 15 knots finally came in and we put up kite and made it to Devonport doing 9 knots. Coming into Devonport though, the Spirit of Tasmania (a large passenger/car carrier) was coming in. We lost around 45 minutes, as we had to drop the kite, gybe and wait for them to move on.
“Overall, it was fine, the sea state was fine, but the forecast was all wrong. It was an enjoyable race though. The breeze was fairly consistent except for the part in the middle. We were lucky we got the change when it came through,” the veteran offshore yachtsman ended.
On arrival Devonport, competitors from the fleet once again enjoyed the hospitality Mersey Yacht Club, which also hosted the prizegiving.
Top Three results:
AMS overall – for the Rudder Cup
- 1st Patriot (Jason Close)
- 2nd Ginan Cam McKenzie/Nigel Jones
- 3rd Arcadia (Peter Davison)
- 1st Patriot,
- 2nd Ginan,
- 3rd Arcadia
- 1st Streetcar Racing (Aidan Geysen)
- 2nd Vertigo (Tim Olding)
- 1st Ginan
- 2nd Patriot
- 3rd Bandit (Ashley Trebilcock)
- 1st Ginan,
- 2nd Patriot,
- 3rd Bandit
- 1st Yolla (Patrick Clarke)
- 2nd Streetcar Racing
- 3rd Alien (Justin Brenan)
- 1st Arcadia
- 2nd Kioni (Dennis Ward)
- 3rd Jaffa (Andrew Neeson)
- 1st Arcadia,
- 2nd Kioni,
- 3rd Jaffa
PHS (Div2) – Toecutter (Robert Hick/Brad Bult)
- 2nd Vertigo
- 3rd Street Car Racing
- 1st Joker X2 – Grant Chipperfield/Peter Dowdney
- 1st Multihull - Peccadillo (Charles Meredith)
- 1st Monohull - Extasea (Paul Buchholz)
For all information on the Rudder Cup, including full results, please visit: https://www.orcv.org.au/results/2023-24/M2D/series.htm?ty=95561