Hobart's PHS winner

Peter Campbell looks at the performance of Delta Wing

Wednesday January 1st 2003, Author: Peter Campbell, Location: Australasia
Delta Wing, the second oldest boat in the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, has created yachting history with a rare double – this year winning the PHS Divisions of the Sydney Hobart and the Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race, Australia’s only annual Category 1 ocean races.

The steel-hulled, 20 tonne, 13.52 metre cruising yacht also created her own personal best performance for the 630 nautical mile Sydney Hobart Race.

Not only did Delta Wing not finish last in the fleet, as she did in the 2000 Race when it took her seven days to sail the course, but she cut three days off that time and crossed the line in 51 st place among the 55 finishers.

On corrected time, Delta Wing, skippered by Bill Koppe from the Gosford Sailing Club, won the PHS Division from the aptly-named aluminium boat, Kickatinalong, skippered by Mike de Berg, and the veteran boat, Berrmilla, skippered by Alex Whitworth.

Like the rest of the fleet, Delta Wing enjoyed fast but easy sailing conditions from start to finish, although she did blow out her biggest spinnaker in 30 knots.

“I feel I’ve only sailed half a Hobart,” owner/skipper Koppe quipped after he reached Hobart. “We had three aims for this race – to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Hobart instead of at sea, to win the PHS Division, and not finish last – and we’ve done all three.”

Koppe said he had been delighted just before Delta Wing left the CYCA basin on Boxing Day to be introduced to Sir Edmund Hillary, the Official Starter of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. “He wished us fair winds and fast sailing – and we got just that,” Koppe said.

“We believe we are also the first yacht to win the PHS Divisions of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and the Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race in the one year; the previous AFR Midnight Rambler won the IMS Divisions of both races,” he added.

Quest, Bob Steel’s Nelson/Marek 46, not only finished Overall Winner but also won IMS Division A, while in the IRC category, she placed second to the New Zealand yacht Starlight Express (Stewart Thwaites) and won IRC Division B.

The Currawong 30, Zeus II, skippered by Jim Dunstan on his 25 th race to Hobart, missed out on being Overall winner for the second time (the first was back in 1981) by only four minutes, but won IMS Division B.

IMS Division C and third Overall went to the veteran Melbourne yachtsman Lou Abrahams, skippering his Sydney 38, Another Challenge, in his personal 40 th race.
Of those races, 38 have been as skipper of his own yacht.

Another 30-footer, Redrock Communications, designed by Robert Hick and skippered by Chris Bowling, won IRC Division C, while Star Express, a Davidson 55 won IRC Division A as well being first overall in the IRC handicap category.

Andrew Short Marine Mercury, skippered by Andrew Short, won the Sydney 38 One Design division from Polar Star, a joint Australian/Russian campaign with the yacht skippered jointly by her Australian part-owner Natasha Henley-Smith and Russian Olympic sailor Georgy Shayduko.

While Neville Crichton’s Reichel/Pugh 90 missed out on breaking the race record when she took line honours, the entire fleet had its fastest ever voyage to Hobart.

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