Maria Island Race - Record-breaker Cougar II adds IRC win

Provisional AMS handicap winner The Fork in the Road - 2012 Maria Island Yacht Race
Dane Lojek
Maria Island Race line honours winner Cougar II has added first place on IRC corrected time to her record-breaking race time, with IRC handicap results and provisional AMS handicap results announced this morning by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Only two yachts had yet to finish the 180 nautical mile ocean race around the rugged south-east of Tasmania at 7am today, but both Footloose and Kaiulani are in the River Derwent on the final leg to the finish off Castray Esplanade at Battery Point.

During last night Fordplay joined Auch as retiring from the race which saw 16 boats set sail from Hobart at 7pm on Friday evening.

Tony Lyall’s TP52, Cougar II, finished the race at 2.22pm yesterday but as the breeze faded and the ebbing tide got stronger the next yacht, Gary Smith’s Bakewell-White 45, The Fork in the Road, did not cross the line until 6.09pm.

The Ker 11.7 Dump Truck, skippered by Justin Wells, followed at 8.37pm with Royce Salter’s Kaufman 36 Ramrod sailing a fine race to finish at 9.21pm, 20 minutes ahead of the MBD36, Whistler.

On corrected time, under IRC ratings, Cougar II has been declared the winner from Fork in the Road and Dump Truck. IRC is the rating (handicap) system used for the Rolex Sydney Hobart in which Cougar II is expected to be one of the strong contenders for overall handicap honours.

Dump Truck is also a Tasmanian entrant in the Sydney Hobart, along with Anthony Williams’ Martela and Rob Fisher’s Helsal III.

Provisional top three placings under AMS handicaps have gone to The Fork in the Road from Ramrod and Dump Truck but PHS handicap results will not be announced until all yachts have finished the course.

The performance of The Fork in Road marks an impressive return to long ocean racing after a break of two years by owner/skipper Gary Smith. The yacht is the likely favourite for line honours in this year’s Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race in late December.

The outstanding performance by the smaller boats has been that of Ramrod, whose skipper Royce Salter got out of a sick bed to compete in the Maria Island Race with his 36-footer.

Salter, like Tony Lyall (Cougar II), Gary Smith (The Fork in the Road) and Justin Wells (Dump Truck) are all members of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania which has been running the Maria Island Race since 1947.