Ichi Ban the powerful Farr 52 has won the IRC handicap division of Boags Sailing South Race Week

The Sydney yacht Ichi Ban today provided expat Tasmanian yachtsman Roger Hickman with his third successive winning boat in the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s third annual Boags Sailing South Race Week.

Hickman, who learned to sail out of the RYCT, is still a member, but is now a Rear Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney, skippered Bumblebee 3 in the inaugural Sailing South Race Week.

He is now sailing master for Matt Allen aboard his powerful Farr 52, Ichi Ban, winning the IRC handicap division of Race Week last year and again this week.

“And we will back again for Sailing South Race Week in 2005,” confirmed owner Allen after the state of the art Ichi Ban won the IRC division from the 19-year-old Tasmanian boat Intrigue, skippered by Don Calvert. He continued: “It was great racing throughout the regatta, always close with Don Calvert in Intrigue, and it was not until this morning’s race that we got in front in the pointscore.”

Ichi Ban won today’s two final races, sailed in extremely variable river winds that swung from the north to north-west and even to the south-west and back again. This gave Ichi Ban its fourth win in six races.

Ichi Ban burst away from the fleet at the start of the morning Race 5 and, picking the windshifts well, rounded the windward mark several minutes ahead of the main bulk of the combined keelboat fleet.

Several boats broached when they attempted to set spinnakers as the freshening northerly breeze funnelling down the river, but Ichi Ban continued as if sailing on a railway track.

By the time she had finished, the powerful 52-footer had lapped several smaller boats to sail the 12 nautical mile windward/leeward course in 1 hour 28 minutes, finishing 22 minutes ahead of Intrigue and beating the Tasmanian boat by just under two minutes on corrected time. Third place went to Mark Ballard’s 42 South.

The final race, held south of the John Garrow light, saw the wind shift dramatically from north to the south-west soon after Ichi Ban rounded the weather mark for the first time, setting her massive spinnaker for a run back down the river.

In contrast, the other boats astern of her found themselves beating to windward on what should have been a spinnaker run.

The IMS division, for the prestigious Charleston Trophy, was virtually sewn up by the Mumm 36, Tequila Slamma (John Radonic) when it won this morning’s race 5 and major rival Invincible (Harold Clark) finished back in sixth place. Even though Invincible won the final race, with Tequilla Slamma third, the Mumm 36 won the series.

The Farr 37, Silver Mist (Andrew Sutherland) won race 5 for PHS Division 1, but a well-sailed second by It Happens (Stephen Boyes) strengthened the Payne 39’s pointscore lead. It Happens then won the final race to take the series by a comfortable eight points from Josh Ey’s Quetzalcoatl and Silver Mist.

PHS Division 2 went to Ron Bugg’s Buggbear afterscoring a win and a third today, beating Wild West (Michael Denney) and Saga (Ken Boden) by a comfortable margin.

The Tamar River boat, Shoot the Dog, skippered by Richard Fischer, won the Sportsboat division without finishing worse than third in any race, beating Maxpower, skippered by West Australian Steve Battley and RYCT member Bruce Calvert in ABN Amro Morgans.

The strong Cruiser Divisions ended Race Week with a distance race down the Derwent to Opposum Bay with the fleet encountering some gusts of 28 knots as they worked back up the river.

A third on corrected time in Cruiser Division 1 assured retired school teacher Ian Smith of first place in the regatta with Innovator, his 23-year-old classic Compass 33. David Gough’s Buizen 48, Eclipse, finished second overall with Wayne Behrens’ Knoop 30, Allez-Oop, third.

OnIy one point separated the two top boats at the end in the Cruiser Division 2 series, with Joma, Garry Evans Roberts 35 winning the series from Don’t Bug Me, Peter Bugg’s Bugg 26. Third place went to Sprindrift, Donald Cushion’s Knoop 27, just one point further back in a very tight final pointscore.