Prince Philip Cup - Tasmanian Nick Rogers at his best

Tasmanian Nick Rogers (right) and mainsheet hand Leigh Behrens after their opening race win - Prince Philip Cup Regatta 2012
Rob Cruse
Prince Philip Cup Regatta, organised by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, first day of racing got underway today on Hobart’s River Derwent.

Tasmanian yachtsman Nick Rogers, helming Karabos IX, today emphatically set his sights on breaking his own record for winning the most Prince Philip Cup Australasian championships for the International Dragon class.

Rogers led all the way to win the opening race of the seven-race Prince Philip Cup on Hobart’s River Derwent, scoring a comfortable win from British yachtsman Robert Campbell, skippering Indulgence, and fellow Tasmanian Steven Shield, helming Ridgeway.

The winner of nine Prince Philip Cups as a helmsman and one as crew, Rogers and his crew, Leigh Behrens (main) and Simon Burrows (bow) were at their skilful best today after mediocre results in the lead-up series last week.

Today, it was down to the serious one-design yacht racing, with Rogers going for the pin end of the start line and, favoured by a significant wind shift, quickly tacking on to port tack and crossing the fleet.

'We felt certain the wind was going to swing to the west and, fortunately, we had no one close above us, so were able to quickly tack and cross the fleet, ' Rogers said after the racing. 'From there on, it was a matter of covering the opposition for the rest of race.'

Crewing with Rogers are his longtime combination of Leigh Behrens (main) and Simon Burrows (bow).

After light winds in the lead-up regatta, the Ted Albert Memorial series and the Charles E Davies Memorial Invitation Race, the 13 boat fleet from Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Gret Britain enjoyed fresh to strong north-westerly winds, averaging 15-25 knots but gusting to 30 knots late in the race.

'The nor’wester was almost too strong for a Dragon, reaching 30 knots on the final spinnaker run to the finish,' commented Steven Shield after finishing third in Ridgeway.

Rogers and his crew, Leigh Behrens and Simon Burrows won race one of the Prince Philip Cup by a comfortable 1 minute 19 seconds from Indulgence, skippered by outgoing president of the International Dragon Class president Robert Campbell and his crew of Rene Nel and Simon Cash, who normally race at Burnham-on-Crouch, east of London.

Just under a minute away in third place came Ridgeway, sailed by Steven Shield and his young crew of Elliott Noye and Christopher Jones, both successful Laser sailors. 'We were second for most of the race but again got overtaken by the British crew,' Shield said.

Another RYCT yacht, Xanthos, skippered by Michael Wilkinson, finished fourth, just 11 seconds ahead of Shapes, skippered by newly elected president of the Australian International Dragon Association.

Race two is scheduled to be sailed tomorrow, starting at 2pm.

For complete results click here.

Outgoing president of the International Dragon Association, Robert Campbell (back) still wearing pink sunburn cream and his crew o Indulgence, Rene Nel and Simon Cash at the RYCT. - Prince Philip Cup Regatta 2012
Rob Cruse

Outgoing president of the Australian Dragon Assocaition, Andrew Merrett, and his crew of Amazing Grace, Chris Kell and Charles Stanton, tidy up their boat after race one - Prince Philip Cup Regatta 2012
Rob Cruse

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