Prince Philip Cup Regatta - Steven Shield emerges as serious contender

Ridgeway - Prince Philip Cup Regatta 2012
Rob Cruse
Prince Philip Cup Regatta, organised by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, third day of racing got underway today on Hobart’s River Derwent.

Hobart yachtsman Steven Shield today emerged as a serious contender for the Prince Philip Cup Australasian championship in the International Dragon class, 30 years after he won the prestigious trophy.

Shield, sailing the locally built Dragon, Ridgeway, scored a convincing win in race three of the series. With a third and a fifth in earlier races, he is second overall to fellow Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania member Nick Rogers, who has had two wins and a second at the helm of Karabos IX.

Rogers and his crew of Leigh Behrens and Simon Burrows scored their second successive win with Karabos IX in today’s morning race, sailed in flukey easterly breezes, but Shield and his crew of Elliott Noye and George Jones, both young and successful Laser sailors, led all the way in the fresher 12-15 knot breeze to win the afternoon race.

After three of the scheduled seven races, Rogers leads the championship with four points, while Shield is sharing second place overall on nine points with British yachtsman Robert Campbell, sailing Illusion.

'Steven had blistering speed and won race two despite breaking the end fitting on his spinnaker pole in the first race today and sailing the second with the some running repairs,' said Zane Ridgeway, the Tasmanian based sole Australian builder the Dragon class yachts.

Campbell, the outgoing president of the International Dragon class association, suffered a split in his yacht’s mast in the second race today, but managed to finish fifth and hold his position of third overall. He has a spare mast which has been stepped in preparation for tomorrow’s race four of the Prince Philip Cup.

Steve Shield returned to the International Dragon class after a break of 25 years just over 12 months ago, campaigning the new Ridgeway-built Dragon in the 2011 Prince Philip Cup and World Championship on Melbourne’s Port Phillip, without major success.

This summer, he and his young crew of Ridgeway have shown a competitive challenge to Tasmanian champion Nick Roger in Karabos IX. In the current Prince Philip Cup regatta they have led the fleet several times, only to get beaten near the finish line.

After a setback in race two this morning due to broken end fitting on the spinnaker pole, Ridgeway finished fifth, but the Tasmanian bounced out of the blocks in race three this afternoon to lead all the way in a fresh breeze.

Another local sailor, Jock Young is sailing well with Aquila, improving on his first race sixth with two third placings. He is fourth overall on 12 points, followed by newly elected Australian president of the International Dragon Association, Wolf Breit, sailing Shapes. Shapes is on 15 points from placings of 5-6-4.

Event website