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Wild at heart: Wild Rose won the heartbreaker Newcastle Bass Island Race.

Roger Hickman sailed his Farr 43 Wild Rose to a convincing win in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Blue Water Pointscore Series (BWPS), declared winner of the very difficult Newcastle Bass Island Yacht Race.

As has become a pattern with the 30-year-old Wild Rose, she held the leading contenders to ransom as they awaited her arrival. In the box seat was Paul Clitheroe's Balance, but the gods smiled down on the smaller boats and pushed Balance down to fourth overall.

Wild Rose won from the Sydney 38 Calibre (Richard Williams) by over one hour, and by nearly one-and-a-half hours from third placed Black Sheep (Derek and Martin Sheppard).

Wild Rose also won ORCi overall, from Rupert Henry's JV62 Chinese Whisper and Balance. With three races completed, the three also rule the top of the BWPS leader board on an equal 14 points. Les Goodridge's Wax Lyrical topped the PHS results for the second race in succession, with Calibre second and Wild Rose third.

In a final communication from Wild Rose at 4.39am on October 18, navigator Jenifer Wells said they had rounded Bass Island around 4am. "It was a tough afternoon in the office, drifting with the East Australian Current, waiting for the forecast north-easterly that never arrived.

"Finally the south-south/easterly kicked in about 10.30pm and we had up to 19 knots on the way down south to Bass. We're still holding up at 15 knots or so under 3A spinnaker, abeam of Flagstaff Point. We passed Black Sheep and Wax Lyrical a few miles before the Islet and hope to hang on to them on the way home."

Her prayers were answered in a race that took patience and courage - 200 nautical miles worth.

Chinese Whisper (with Michael Coxon skippering in Henry's absence), took line honours 44 minutes and 49 seconds after midnight in the time of 1 day 5 hours 44 minutes 49 seconds. Race record creator, Ichi Ban (Matt Allen), finished just over two minutes later, having led her rival for most of the race.

Ichi Ban keeps the record she created in last year's inaugural race, of 20 hours 52 minutes and 49 seconds.

Two TP52s, Balance (Paul Clitheroe) and Celestial (Sam Haynes), were next to finish, nearly two hours after Ichi Ban and just four minutes apart.

According to Tony Kirby (Patrice), who finished eighth overall, the top four took a big dig offshore: "They went 30-odd miles out to sea. It was a gutsy call. Halfway through the race they were well behind us, but it soon became apparent they had made the right move."

Aboard Wild Rose at 11.22am on Saturday, navigator Jenifer Wells said: "We're a pretty happy boat this morning. It was on the nose all night and the breeze went into the south-south/west about 15 miles from the mark after daybreak.

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Title Annotation:NEWCASTLE BASS ISLAND RACE
Author:Pearson, Di
Publication:Offshore Yachting
Date:Dec 1, 2015
Words:477
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