“Old age and cunning” aboard Atilla prevails in DSS Winter Race

The average age of John Hunn and his crew of Atilla may have gone up another year to 73, but this team of veteran Hobart sailors have lost none of their cutting edge.



Photo: Peter Cambell

“Occasionally old age and cunning will prevail, especially when the winds are shifty on the river,” quipped Hunn, a retired professor of surgery, after steering Atilla to victory in Division 2 of the Derwent Sailing Squadron’s opening winter series race on Sunday.

Atilla, a Farr 11.6 which Hunn has owned for the past 25 years, finished third in fleet and won by just 26s seconds on corrected time from Spare Time (Shane Powell) with another 22 seconds to Wildfire (Team Wildfire).

Hunn and his crew are among the most active sailors on the River Derwent, enjoying the combined club’s distance races and weekly twilights over summer and turning out again for the DSS winter series on an often chilly morning.

“We have a crew group of around ten or so who enjoy sailing together,” said Hunn. “In addition to racing on the Derwent we go away on charter sailing trips together. Ten of us went to the Whitsundays last year and we’ve just come back from the Bay of Islands in New Zealand where we chartered a couple of boats.”

Owner/skipper Hunn, at 85, is the oldest in the crew of Atilla. “When we did a count last year the average age was 72, so I guess it’s gone up to 73 now,” he said.

Hunn began his sailing with the late Murray Drew, also a medico and a former Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, back in 1965. “These days, my philosophy is that if anyone asks me ‘do you want to go sailing?’ I always say ‘yes’,” the veteran skipper added.

Last Sunday, a fleet of 38 boats turned out for the Derwent Sailing Squadron’s first Winter Series race, all completing the course in a light to moderate morning breeze.

In Division 1, Peter Haros’ Wings Three took handicap honours from David Taylor’s Pisces and Steve Harrison’s Temptation, only 38 seconds separating the first three on corrected time.

Division 3 saw first place go to Tramp (Graham Watkins) from Acacia II (Jory Linscott) and Epoxy Warrior (Ross Mannering).

The SB20s raced as a one design class and also on PHS scoring in Division 4 while three of the new I550 sports boats also sailed as one design and Division 5. Each class contested two windward/leeward races.

In the first race for the SB20s, State champion Scott Brain steered Brainwave to a three second fleet win from Karabos (Nick Rogers) with another five seconds to Mind Games (Phil Reid). On corrected time, first place went Colleen Darcy helming Sudden Impulse, second to Mind Games and third place to Ciao Baby III (Steve Chau).

Hi-Vis (Matt Westland) won the I550’s first race on both scratch and handicap from Fired Up (Steve Davison) and Zorro (Brendon Herron).

In race two for the SB20s, Stephen Catchpool’s Hypertronics won the double, taking line honours from Karabos and Mind Games and on handicap winning from Mind Games and Roo-Ted (Ted Grubb).

In the I550’s, Zorro also won the double from Hi-Vis, with Fired Up and non-finisher.

Next Sunday, it will be Bellerive Yacht Club’s turn to begin its Winter Series.

Written by Nova

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