Launceston to Hobart Race: Masquerade 11 years in the making now a win

Masquerade ducks astern of 42 South soon after the start of L2H. - Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race 2011
The fifth Optus Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race provisional Overall winner is Masquerade, a yacht that took 11 years to build ‘in the front yard’ by owner Tony Harman. Masquerade achieved the lowest corrected time under the AMS scoring system.

Race director John Blackman said that although 13 of the 31 starters in the 285 nautical mile race around the Tasmania’s eastern coastline from the Tamar River to the River Derwent still had to finish, Masquerade’s position could be not challenged.

He also confirmed Sally Rattle’s Archambault 35, Archie, as taking first place under IRC scoring. However, he said, placings in all three scoring divisions, AMS, IRC and PHS, could change overnight as smaller boats finished the race; hence results were provisional until all boats had finished.

Masquerade is a New Zealand-designed Morgan 35 owned and skippered by Tony Harman, a member of Hobart’s Bellerive Yacht Club.

'The reason it took 11 years to complete was the time out bringing up a family and working overseas at times,' an elated Harman said at Constitution Dock this afternoon.

'I built the hull from stripped planks of western red cedar with structural fibreglass and exopy inside and out; then I had local naval architect Fed Barrett optimise the rig and foils, launching the boat in 2005. We also had a local rigger Ian Brett make the mast and to complete a Tasmanian-built boat Steve Walker of Wynyard made the sails.

'We won the Crown Series last year and are leading our group in the Combined Clubs Distance Race Series, but this was our first long ocean race,' he added. 'We got a good start and sailed out of the Tamar with the big boats and held our position well throughout a race that provided picture postcard sailing, some calms and the usual blasts off Tasman Island.'

While Masquerade was not competing under an IRC rating, there was some keen rivalry on the water, with Steve Davison sailing on Masquerade and his 22-year-old daughter Lauren crewing on Archie.

The IRC win is yet another success for Sally Rattle and her Archambault 35. She has won the Melbourne to Hobart Eastcoaster, the Maria Island and the Bruny Island Race over the past few years.

Celebrations aboard Archie, the IRC winner of the Launceston to Hobart - Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race 2011

Earlier today, Rob Fisher’s Adams/Barrett 60 Helsal 3 took line honours at 5:52am, holding her lead despite an overnight challenge by two-times line honours winner Mr Kite, skippered by Andrew Hunn. The two leaders were crossing tacks south of Cape Raoul in Storm Bay in the early hours of this morning, but Helsal 3’s longer waterline finally gave her the winning edge, 40 minutes ahead as she crossed the line of Castray Esplanade.

Helsal 3’s elapsed time for the 285 nautical mile race down Tasmania’s East Coast of 1 day 16 hours 22 minutes 18 seconds is the fastest since the course was lengthened two years ago with an upriver start at Beauty Point, cutting 22 minutes off Mr Kite’s time in last year’s race.

Masquerade skipper Tony Harman (left) with race director John Blackwood - Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race 2011