Rudder Cup win is pure eXtacea

Sailing master Jamie Bennett and the rest of the eXtasea crew sailing into Low HeadGEELONG yacht eXtasea took line honours in the Centenary Rudder Cup Melbourne to Launceston yacht race at 3.25 pm yesterday and her crew were delighted with their performance.Paul Buchholz bought the 14.1m yacht just three months ago but a fierce rivalry has developed with Sandringham yacht Dekadence, a similar British DK46 design.”Dekadence beat us out the Heads and we had a two-hour tacking duel with them off Cape Schank and came out in front,” sailing master Jamie Bennett said. “We had our best Bass Strait crossing ever, it was pretty calm. We’re really pleased with the way the boat has gone.”The boat led the fleet for most of the race and had a six or seven mile break on Phil Coombs and Matt Hannaford’s Dekadence as they approached the Tasmanian coast. Bennett said getting an early two-mile break and keeping to the east of the rhumb line when the north-easterly breeze came in overnight paid dividends.EXtasea crossed the Low Head finish line more than an hour in front of Dekadence and fellow Sandringham yacht Alex Team McAdie. The two-hander Alex Team MacAdie, sailed by father and son Jock and Hamish MacAdie, won the Melbourne to Osaka race earlier this year.EXtasea, which is also an entrant in the Melbourne to Hobart race, took 28 hours and 25 minutes to complete the course. It was nearly 10 hours outside the Melbourne to Launceston race record of 19 hours.The crew of 13 included expatriate Tasmanian Damian Charleston.EXtasea immediately headed off to Banks Strait and expects to be in Hobart by tomorrow afternoon. It is the second big win for three-year-old eXtasea since being acquired by Buchholz. The yacht won the November Melbourne to Stanley race on handicap.The first Tasmanian yacht home was Hobart’s David Rees in Creative InTension, 12th across the line, followed by Tamar Yacht Club commodore Richard Fisher’s Blue Sky, which finished 17th. A record Bass Strait fleet of 82 boats started in the Centenary Rudder Cup race at Portsea on Thursday.Handicap placings are expected to be available tomorrow before the Melbourne to Launceston fleet will compete in the third race in the Rudder Cup series at Beauty Point today.The TasPorts Cup race starts off Inspection Wharf at 1pm.A trophy presentation dinner will be held at the Tamar Yacht Club’s Beauty Point marina tonight.The first Rudder Cup race in 1907 was Australia’s first ocean yacht race and attracted just four entrants with winning yacht Thistle, skippered by Edgar Newlands, taking 35 hours.To celebrate the event’s 100th anniversary the Ocean Racing Club, which organises the Kidder Williams Melbourne to Launceston yacht race in association with the Tamar Yacht Club, combined this year’s race with the Melbourne to Hobart race, sending the fleet down Tasmania’s East Coast.
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