Photo: Andrea Francolini.

Caprice of Huon and Lolita tame wild weather for Great Veterans Race wins

Wild winds provided spectacular racing as 21 classic yachts wound back the years in the 2021 Great Veterans Race.

A west-sou-westerly of 11-18 knots for the pursuit start belied what was ahead, with gusts up over 30 knots recorded on a moody Sydney Harbour.

The experienced fleet – which featured seven Sydney Hobart Yacht Race winners – largely dealt well with the challenge, though a strong westerly around the halfway point of the race forced some tricky manouevres and ultimately led to retirements across both divisions.

Nick Cassim’s Robert Clark-designed Lolita was first across the line to win Division 2, with Angus Clarke’s Plum Crazy and Samuel Hunt’s Nike close behind. Lolita was awarded the Vic Meyer Trophy.

Another Robert Clark design, David Champtaloup’s Caprice of Huon, scooped the Windward Trophy as the winner of Division 1.

Caprice of Huon finished more than two minutes ahead of three-time Sydney Hobart overall winner Love and War (Simon Kurts) and 1971 Sydney Hobart Line Honours winner Kialoa II (Patrick Broughton).

On board Caprice of Huon

We caught up with CYCA Member and Caprice of Huon owner David Champtaloup to get his insight on an exciting day of racing:

“Our division one start was in around 15 knots from the WSW, with a broad reach to Lady Bay. Close to 1pm, and exactly as forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology, 25 knots from the SW arrived, and on our boat, we saw up to 34 knots in gusts around Shark Island.

“On Caprice of Huon, we were sailing with a full main and number 3, and like most of the fleet, our sail choice had more to do with conditions at the start than some imagined in future, as you do.

“Clearly a pulling headsail and a flogging main is not ideal, although a happy characteristic of our longer keel fleet is that the boats tend to maintain directional stability as the centre of effort shifts all over the place.

“In the end, we got around the course with no harm done and some souvenir moments for my younger crew members. I chose to granny around our second to last mark at EC2, and then watched in admiration as David Salter’s Mister Christian, on the run from Clark to Shark Islands, smoothly gybed in close to 30 knots.

“Maybe I’ll get bolder as I get older.

“In the end, everyone I spoke with had a memorable day on the water and will be with us again for the Sydney Hobart Classic Yacht Regatta on 11 and 12 December.

“Part of the joy of classic yacht racing is to look around and marvel at the on-water company we find ourselves in, and on my boat we are so thrilled by a division one leaderboard that reads “Caprice of Huon first, Love and War second, Kialoa II third and Lolita, Plum Crazy and Nike at the top of Division 2″ that we are thinking of having a commemorative tea towel made!

“All in all, it was a great sailing day for proper yachts. Thanks to Tara Blanc-Ramos and the Sailing Office team and to the Gordon Marshall crew for their unfailing professionalism and great work.”

Check out some of the superb images captured by Andrea Francolini below.

Division 1BoatSkipper
1stCaprice of HuonDavid Champtaloup
2ndLove and WarSimon Kurts
3rdKialoa IIPatrick Broughton
4thFidelisNigel Stoke
5thArchinaBill Ferris
6thFair WindsMark Chew
RETElectraBradshaw Kellett
RET Margaret RintoulBruce Gould
RETNeridaDavid Hardy
Division 2 Boat Skipper
1stLolitaNick Cassim
2ndPlum CrazyAngus Clarke
3rdNikeSamuel Hunt
4thBoongownEddy Vinks
5thAnitra VPhilip Brown
6thMister ChristianDavid Salter
7thJasnarGordon Ingate
8thSurayaCarl Sriber
9thSolveigJohn Whitfeld
10thMarisTiare Tomaszewski
11thCardinal PuffMartin French
RETDuetJames Dalgliesh

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