Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility


Patriot pulls out all stops to win Melbourne to Devonport Rudder Cup 

Published Sun 05 Nov 2023

Patriot, Jason Close’s J/133 has won the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s (ORCV) 195 nautical mile Melbourne to Devonport Yacht Race for the Rudder Cup in which ’J’ boats were successful across the board. 

The 195 nautical mile race, which started off Queenscliff at the mouth of Bass Strait on Friday night at 6pm, provided tactical and navigation challenges for all.

Close agreed: “It was a challenging race mentally and tactically. The start was fine, but we fell into a hole around Wilsons Promontory for around four hours and had to battle from there.  

“We didn’t fully stop, but waiting for the breeze to fill in from the east was hard… There were lots of transitions zones, especially leading into Devonport, with light patches thrown it. We sailed well though and we all enjoyed it. We have a good crew of dinghy sailors who kept their heads out of the boat.” 

Close acknowledged, “This is the first time we’ve won the Rudder Cup – we’ve finished runner-up a couple of times.  It was our qualifier for the Sydney Hobart, so a good result going to that.” 

To finish, he said, “I’d like to thank the ORCV and their volunteers. They’re great organisation who work hard to put on a great event. They also do a lot to promote sailing, which I am also passionate about. They just won the Sport Promotion award (Australian Sailing Awards) again.”

Ginan, a J/111 owned by Nigel Jones and Cam McKenzie, placed second. 

“We’re pretty happy the way we went and had a good crew, said Jones, runner-up in the 2022 Westcoaster race. “Unfortunately we had a little incident on the start line with Patriot, which cost us. It was our fault, we take responsibility,” Jones said.

Explaining their tactics, he shared, “We take time to study the weather and tracking. We followed what the tracker said and made full use of the race course, chasing wind angles etc, so we’re happy with how we tactically sailed the race. 

“We did the Sydney Gold Coast Race in July, which was also busy with sail changes – the Rudder Cup was a mini version of that. You had to put in the hard work to achieve.

“We used the Code Zero, jib top, staysail and No 2 jib, plus three spinnakers. We used them all! We have an extensive wardrobe for small boat because we’re keen to experiment with sails,” said Jones, whose boat will continue the season with ORCV races, including defending their 2022 Sprint Series title.

A second J/133, Joker X2, owned by Grant Chipperfield and Peter Downdey, won the Double-Handed division. They were uncontactable for comment as they were sailing back to Melbourne.

Peccadillo (Charles Meredith) took multihull line honours, while Paul Buchholz took monohull line honours with his Cookson 50, Extasea. To reach the finish line, Extasea had her challenges too.

Buchholz, Vice Commodore of Royal Geelong Yacht Club and 2023 Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s (ORCV) Ocean Racer of the Year, explained: “The start went well out the Heads. The weather was pretty good. We had a southerly that petered out on Saturday off Tassie. We went round in circles for about two hours. 

“A nor’ westerly of up to 15 knots finally came in and we put up kite and made it to Devonport doing 9 knots. Coming into Devonport though, the Spirit of Tasmania (a large passenger/car carrier) was coming in. We lost around 45 minutes, as we had to drop the kite, gybe and wait for them to move on. 

“Overall, it was fine, the sea state was fine, but the forecast was all wrong. It was an enjoyable race though. The breeze was fairly consistent except for the part in the middle. We were lucky we got the change when it came through,” the veteran offshore yachtsman ended.

On arrival Devonport, competitors from the fleet once again enjoyed the hospitality Mersey Yacht Club, which also hosted the prizegiving. 

Top Three results:

Line Honours 
1st Multihull - Peccadillo (Charles Meredith) 
1st Monohull - Extasea (Paul Buchholz)

AMS overall – for the Rudder Cup
1st Patriot (Jason Close)
2nd Ginan Cam McKenzie/Nigel Jones
3rd Arcadia (Peter Davison)

AMS (Div1) 1st Patriot, 2nd Ginan, 3rd Arcadia 

AMS (Div2)
1st Streetcar Racing (Aidan Geysen) 
2nd Vertigo (Tim Olding)

ORC overall:
1st Ginan 
2nd Patriot 
3rd Bandit (Ashley Trebilcock)

ORC (Div1) – 1st Ginan, 2nd Patriot, 3rd Bandit 

ORC (Div2)
1st Yolla (Patrick Clarke)
2nd Streetcar Racing
3rd Alien (Justin Brenan) 
PHS Overall
1st Arcadia
2nd Kioni (Dennis Ward)
3rd Jaffa (Andrew Neeson) 

PHS (Div1) – 1st Arcadia, 2nd Kioni, 3rd Jaffa 

PHS (Div2) – Toecutter (Robert Hick/Brad Bult)
2nd Vertigo
3rd Street Car Racing 
1st Joker X2 – Grant Chipperfield/Peter Dowdney

For all information on the Rudder Cup, including full results, please visit:

Di Pearson/ORCV media