DICKSON DOUBLE IN TASMAN CHALLENGE
Line honours in April’s father-and-son trans-Tasman tussle between Hamish (42) and Malcolm (72) Dickson were taken by Hamish sailing the Dickson 45 Zenith in a time of nine days nine hours and 52 minutes.
“I was pretty pleased to beat him,” said Hamish. “He’s a very good sailor.” Malcolm crossed the line 12 hours later in Sarau. “It’s good to be beaten by your son in a boat you designed-and-built yourself,” he smiled.
The two led the six-boat fleet that started from New Plymouth on 1 April for the 13th singlehanded trans-Tasman yacht race between New Plymouth and Mooloolaba, Queenland. The 1300nm race has been held every four years since 1970. It is the second longest, continually competed singlehanded ocean race in the world (after the OSTAR) and the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Bad weather prevented five Australian entrants for this year’s race from sailing across for the start but, in the event, the race developed into a bit of a light air drifter with tail-ended Graeme Francis in Robbery taking 17 days to make the crossing, a week behind the first yachts.
Malcolm sailed the 1978 solo Tasman race and tussled with David How in Ocean Gem, a Beneteau 445, for second place, swapping positions several times.
Diehard Aussie, Kevin le Poidevin, sailed the same Sigma 36 Rogue Wave, which he skippered in the 2014 event and kept close cover on Wellingtonian Geoff Thorn in his Bavaria 38 Am Meer.
The 1986 race record set by Ian Johnstone sailing the trimaran Bullfrog Sunblock was six days, eight hours and 50 mins which was only just eclipsed in 2014 by Austrian circumnavigator, Reini Gelder. He completed the course in six days, seven hours and 13 mins in Ave Gitana – a Lock Crowther-designed sistership of the previous record holder.