Keelboat racing on the River Derwent, especially under IRC ratings, is to be boosted this coming summer in preparation for the Australian Yachting Championships in Hobart in January 2020.
The prestigious national event will follow next year’s 75th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and other offshore races finishing in Hobart, and is expected to attract a significant fleet, including a large local IRC fleet.
The Combined Clubs working group has just announced that a four-race day Combined Clubs Inshore Series using IRC style courses, and a weekend-long Tasmanian Yachting Championship, will be included in the sailing program for the summer season of 2018-19.
The traditional Combined Clubs Opening Day of the Yachting Season 2018-19 will be held on Saturday, 6 October and hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.
Hobart yacht owners will be encouraged and given incentives to have their yachts IRC rated, with the objective of more than doubling the number of boats currently holding an IRC certificate.
Details of the Combined Clubs 2018-19 Sailing programme have been communicated to yacht owners at the three major clubs, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Derwent Sailing Squadron and Bellerive Yacht Club and to members from other clubs who have competed in previous Combined Club events.
The full communication can be downloaded from the Derwent Sailing Squadron web site.
The Combined Clubs Summer Pennant will be a nine-race series, comprising five Saturday afternoon races in the river and four long day races.
Races will be scheduled approximately every second Saturday, with the first race of the season scheduled for 13 October.
The Combined Clubs Inshore Series replaces the Short Course Championships and will consist of four days of racing with a target of three to four races each day.
Courses will follow the format used for the Australian Yachting Championships with IRC style courses, a mix of ‘all points of sail’ to include river passage races, triangular and windward/leeward courses.
The Combined Clubs Inshore Series race days will be 20 October 2018, 8 December 2018, 2 March 2019 and 23 March 2019.
“The Combined Clubs believes short course racing is an important fixture in the calendar, particularly in the lead-up to the Australian Yachting Championships in January 2020,” yacht owners were told by the working group, chaired by Derwent Sailing Squadron Commodore Steve Chau.
The inaugural Tasmanian Yachting Championship (IRC and PHS divisions), will be conducted by the DSS over the weekend of 8-9 December 2018.
This regatta, to be conducted under the auspices of Australian Sailing, will determine the Tasmanian Keelboat IRC and PHS champions across divisions.
For the 2018-19 season, the Combined Clubs have successfully negotiated a 50% discount off new IRC certification registrations for the season.
The Combined Clubs Offshore Trophy Perpetual Trophy will be award-based on the combined score from the Piper Opener Night Race, the BYC Overnight Race, the Maria Island Race and the Bruny Island Race.
The Derwent Sailing Squadron/Huon Yacht Club 50th Pipe Opener will be held over the weekend of 21-23 September.
Pennants for the season will be awarded as follows:
Group winners will be awarded a Combined Clubs Pennant for the Combined Clubs Summer Pennant Series.
Scores for the Combined Clubs Inshore Series will be combined with the Combined Clubs Summer Pennant river races to determine the Combined Clubs inshore pennant. This pennant will be awarded based on IRC only and Twill require interested participants to lodge a specific entry for this pennant.
Each club will determine which races from the Combined Clubs calendar will form their individual Club Pennant.
The communication to keelboat owners also includes an agreed final Combined Clubs programme with race days allocated around the traditional regattas and races held each summer on the Derwent and offshore.
The pennant race has been removed from the Royal Hobart Regatta public holiday which now leaves all long weekends free of Combined Clubs racing.
Young woman sailor Joanna Breen has achieved a unique double in the 2018 Tasmanian Sailing Awards, on Saturday evening being named as joint Female Sailor of the Year and winning the Bennetto Medal as Offshore Sailor of the Year.
Breen, 29, skippered her yacht Morning Star into second place in this year’s two-handed Melbourne to Osaka Yacht Race, a distance of 5,500 nautical miles from Australia to Japan.
Breen, Vice-Commodore of the Tamar Yacht Club, shared the Bennetto Medal with her crewman, Peter Brooks, a member of Port Dalrymple Yacht Club.
She is a very versatile sailor, a ‘Cape Horner’ in a cruise to the Antarctic, navigator of Bellerive Yacht Club member Richard Grant’s Sydney Hobart Race Corinthian Division winner Cromarty Magellan, and a highly regarded crew/helmsperson in the high performance SB20 sports boat class on Hobart’s River Derwent.
Breen shared the Female Sailor of the Year Award with youth sailors Jasmin Galbraith and Chloe Fisher, from Sandy Bay Sailing Club, who won the bronze medal at the 2017 Youth Worlds in the 29er girl’s class.
The young women, who also won the Outstanding Youth Achievement award, have since moved into the Olympic women’s class skiff, the 29erFX. Galbraith is an Hobartian but Fisher began her sailing at the Tamar Yacht Club at Beauty Point.
Jo Breen accepted her awards by video from Brisbane before setting sailing in the race to Keppell Island.
The Tasmanian Sailing Awards, announced at the Derwent Sailing Squadron, saw the Tasmanian Male Sailor of the Year award go to well-known Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania member Michael Cooper, who skippered Export Roo into a close second in the 2017 SB20 World Championship at Cowes, UK.
Disabled Sailor of the Year is Wynyard Yacht Club’s Chris Symonds, silver medallist in the Hansa 303 dinghy class at the 2017 Para World Sailing Championship.
Steve Catchpool, the SB20 class Australian president, was named Yachting Personality of Year for his critical role in Hobart’s successful bid to host the SB20 World Championship 2018.
His wife, Jane Austin, was among four winners of the Volunteer of the Year award, for her media role in Hobart being awarded the SB20 Worlds.
Other Volunteer of the Year recipients were Paul Gray at Sandy Bay Sailing Club; Ken Gourlay, organiser of the Tamar Yacht Club’s Tasmanian Boat and Caravan Show; and Wynyard Yacht Club’s Sailability volunteer group.
Port Dalrymple Yacht Club at Beauty Point was named Club of the Year, William (‘Bill’) Brown as Administrator of the Year as secretary of Sailability Tasmania, Elliott Noye (RYCT) as Coach of the Year, while Josh Rag (RYCT) and Mike Darby (WYC) shared the Instructor of the Year award.
Two inductees into the Tasmanian Yachting Hall of Fame were also announced: Roger Jackman (RYCT), owner/skipper of Doctor Who, and the late Graeme ‘Frizzle’ Freeman.
Today was clearly Commodore’s Day in the Bellerive Yacht Club/Hobart Jaguar Land Rover Winter Series on the Derwent, with Graham Mansfield steering Black Magic to a fine win in Division 1.
With just one day of racing left in the Winter Series, the win has placed Black Magic within two points of Ian Stewart’s Tas Paints which placed seventh in the very, very light breeze.
The leeward rail got a ‘work out’ on each of the 24 yachts that competed in today’s drifting conditions, race four and penultimate race of the Winter Series.
“With a 29-35 knots nor-wester on top of the mount, you would hope and expect at least a moderate NW breeze on the River Derwent,” BYC sailing manager Peter Watson said.
“However, ‘she’ had other ideas and gave race officer Grant Sutton a very light, 2 knot SSW zephyr instead.
“Grant showed great intuition in realising that we most probably would not get a lot more wind, and sent the boats on their way.
“We managed only one lap before Grant shortened course,” added Watson, who still managed to get some fine photographs of the fleet and division winners.
With one day’s racing to complete a closely contested Winter Series, TasPaints heads Division 1 with 13 points, Black Magic is on 15, Wild West (Mike and Michelle Denney) 16, B&G Advantage (Jeff Cordell) 17 and Heat Wave (Matthew Keal) 18 points.
In Division 2, Chris Sheehan’s Saga maintained its consistency with a third place today and has 11 points on the board. Trouble (Mark Millhouse) is on 15 points, while today’s race winner, Derek Inglis’ Rousabout, is on 16 points, as are 42 South (Mark Ballard) and Footloose (Stewart Geeves).
In Division 3, Wayne Pitt’s Southern Cross won race four, but Hydrotherapy (Jim Thorpe) still holds the overall pointscore lead with 11 points after finishing third today.
On 13 points is Anthony Ellis’ Moonshadow while Southern Cross is third overall with 15 points.
The fifth and final BYC Winter Race day is Sunday, August 26.
42 South uses her two rudders to advantage and under perfect ontrol downwind. Filepro to leeward.
Bellerive Yacht Club race officer Grant Sutton again showed ‘nerves of steel’ in setting today’s course for day two of the BYC/Hobart Jaguar Land Rover Winter Series on the River Derwent.
Sutton disregarded the light northerly katabatic breeze and positioned the course for the predicted west-south-westerly breeze, with the windward mark off Nutgrove Beach.
A few minutes before the start of Division 1, the breeze dutifully filled in from the WSW, gradually increasing to around 12-15 knots before slowing fading away towards the finish.
“Division 2 is enjoying extremely competitive racing in this Winter Series, with the starts hard fought,” BYC sailing manager Peter Watson commented after today’s race. “Saga and Rousabout where both over the line prematurely.”
Watson said that although it was a relatively light wind race, some boats still managed “to have their moments of drama…particularly with crews pushing their yachts to the limit running downwind under big spinnakers.”
Hard-fought start for Division 2, with Rousabout and Saga over the line early.
Division 1 saw an outright win for Mike and Michelle Denney’s Wild West, taking corrected time honours from Ian Stewart’s Tas Paints and Black Magic, skippered by BYC Commodore Graham Mansfield.
Less than a minute separated the first three boat on handicap in Division 2 with Mark Ballard’s 42 South scoring an outright victory. 42 South’s twin rudders were used to advantage, giving her perfect control downwind.
Black Magic on a close reach under her famous rainbow rocket spinnaker.
Hydrotherapy (Jim Thorpe) again took fastest time in Division 3 but placed fourth on corrected time, with Moonshadow (Anthony Ellis) taking handicap honours from Off-Piste (Paul Einoder) by just 13 seconds. Third went to Southern Cross (Wayne Pitt).
Hobart’s winter yacht racing started today, in classic end-of-autumn/early winter weather – fog on the hills around the city, a wind chill factor of close to zero or below, and a shifty northerly breezes on the River Derwent.
Well rugged up for the weather, the hardy crews of 24 boats took to the river for a morning of close racing in Bellerive Yacht’s Club’s first race for its Hobart Jaguar Land Rover Winter Series.
“Derwent River at the beginning of winter…racing in 6 - 17 knots with 4 to 11 degrees.... eeek!” commented Michelle Denney, co-owner of Wild West with husband Michael.
BYC was first away with winter racing, the Derwent Sailing Squadron and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania running their winter pennants in consecutive Sunday mornings.
“The ‘Bridgewater Jerry’ was in full flight with the wind chill temperature close to zero degrees of below and the shifty northerly breeze of 8-15 knots made the upwind and downwind tactics critical,” reported BYC sailing manager Peter Watson.
“The ever-present down river current made the centre of the river problematic for setting a good course. Race officer Grant Sutton made the correct call in shortening Divisions 2 and 3 as not to exceed the 12 noon race time limit.
“We had an excellent fleet of 24 boats from all three main clubs.”
Wild West from the Derwent Sailing Squadron and TasPaints, skippered by retiring BYC vice-commodore Ian Stewart, had a close duel for line honours in Division 1, with the Mumm 36 finally overtaking Wild West to get the gun by 21 seconds.
TasPaints also took first place on corrected time from B&G Advantage (Jeff Cordell) and Commodore Graham Mansfield’s Black Magic. Wild West, top rating boat in the fleet, placed fifth.
In Division 2, Richie Upton’s Twist took fastest time, but was relegated to fourth in handicap results by Rousabout (Derek Inglis), Saga (Chris Sheehan) and Trouble (Mark Millhouse).
In Division 3, Paul Johnstone’s Skeme finished seventh in fleet but first on handicap, winning from Paul Einoder’s Off-Piste and Jim Thorpe’s Hydrotherapy which took fastest time in an impressive showing.
Bellerive Yacht Club Vice Commodore Ian Stewart headed a line-up of members who collected trophies at Saturday evening’s Tasmania Combined Clubs Prize Night Dinner held at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.
Stewart sailed his Mumm 36 TasPaints to victory in its division of the Combined Clubs summer pennant series for 2017-2018.
He also collected trophies on behalf of fellow Mumm 36 owner Jeff Cordell who won two divisions with B&G Advantage as well as runner-up in another.
Other BYC members who were overall prize winners as division placegetters were Mark Ballard (42 South), Frank Chatterton (Kamehameha), Chris Sheehan (Saga), the Syndicate-owned Titch, and Tim Gadsby (Filepro).
Commodores Steve Chau (DSS), Graham Mansfield (BYC) and Tracy Matthews (RYCT) each presented the trophies to the prize-winners.
Speaking on behalf of all competitors, veteran RYCT yachtsman Don Calvert gave a ringing endorsement of the format for Combined Clubs racing last summer.
More than 70 skippers, their crews and family members attended the prizegiving dinner with RYCT Commodore Tracy Matthews.
“Fantastic long day races out into Storm Bay (for Division 1) and great afternoon river races,” Calvert said. “I trust the Interclub committee will come up with a similar format for next summer.”
Come autumn and many keen Hobart yacht owners don’t have the problem of finding full crews to help them race on the Derwent.
It’s now all about two-handed racing with just two sailors on board (in some divisions three) as against summer racing crews of between three and ten crew, depending on the size of the boat.
The Combined Clubs Two-Handed Long Race Series ended on Sunday, unfortunately restricted to two races because of bad weather on the first scheduled sailing day.
The series attracted 17 entrants, and although only nine boats contested Sunday’s race they nevertheless provided a colourful spinnaker start in a light northerly off Bellerive Yacht Club’s Victoria Esplanade starting box.
Both divisions went down the eastern shore to a mark off Tranmere, returning to finish off Victoria Esplanade.
Luckily for the fleet a light NE breeze developed along the eastern shore for the return leg with no wind in the middle of the River Derwent.
BYC member Mark Ballard’s 42 South won the Division 1 AMS category of the final race while Planet X (Jory Linscott) won PHS.
Overall, Off-Piste, Paul Einoder’s Beneteau Oceanis 34 Off-Piste won Division 1 AMS with a 1-3 score on a countback from Whistler (David Aplin) which had two seconds, third place going to 42 South.
The PHS overall trophy went to Whistler from 42 South and Planet X.
Off-Piste’s racing record is certainly versatile: first overall in the 2015 Launceston to Hobart Race, first in AMS in the 2018 Bruny Island Race and now first in AMS in the Combined Clubs Two-Handed Long Race Series.
In Division 2, Graham Hall’s Serenity took out the series with place on Sunday following a win in race one. Second overall went to Sunday’s winner, Whoop De Doo (Thomas Macdonald).
Next Sunday, 15 April, will see the start of the Derwent Sailing Squadron’s popular Autumn Two-Handed Series, also known as ‘Gilbert’s Two-Handed Series’ in honour of club stalwart and life member Gilbert Leitch who introduced this concept of yacht racing on the river.
The DSS Autumn Two-Handed Series comprises five races through to 13 May with the individual clubs’ Winter Series starting with Bellerive Yacht Club on 27 May.
Early entries for the DSS Autumn Two-Handed Series range from the SB20 Mind Games to the Sydney Hobart racer Oskana.
Over the winter, BYC, Derwent Sailing Squadron and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania will conduct their Winter Series, sailing on alternative Sunday mornings.
Recently two boats on the BYC register – Brambletye (Huon 36 - John Mills, Ian Douglas and Ed Glover and Teos (Beneteau Oceanis 36i – Steve “Davo” Davidson and his wife Trina) cruised in company to Port Davey on Tasmania’s rugged south west coast. For John and Ed off Brambletye it was a return visit with John last there some 22 years ago and for Ed it was 40 + years. Davo had been there three times before but this was the first time in his own boat. Ian and Trina were first timers!
After some unexpected issues for the crew of Brambletye, both vessels were underway bound for Dover at 1100 hrs. At 1505 and abeam of Huon Island the decision was made to continue on to Southport where Brambletye dropped anchor in the Deep Hole at 1730 with Teos not far behind. There is a saying which should be adhered to when cruising in Tasmanian waters to “go while the going is good!” and after listening to a favourable forecast on the radio sched a decision was made to leave at 0445 the next morning for Port Davey. It is a distance of some 70 odd nautical miles so we expected to be there in about 12 hours.
We managed to pick the weather well and even though a decent swell of 3 to 4 metres was experienced at times the wind never blew much harder than 10 knots, primarily from the south west. We had some wonderful wildlife for company – albatross whose grace never ceases to amaze; seals, dolphins etc. There is a funny thing as you travel along the south coast. It seems to take forever to reach that cape or Island in the distance but once passed they seem to disappear fairly quickly!!
Around SW Cape and with the East Pyramids marking the entrance to Port Davey in view, our journey was nearly over! A word of warning for those travelling this stretch of coast, keep a good lookout for craypots!
It was a beautiful south west afternoon when we dropped anchor in Schooner Cove at 1645, exactly 12 hours after leaving Southport. Switched off the engine and the quiet is amazing. A cold beer is the order of the day. Davo and Trina arrived about an hour later.
Photo: Ed Glover, "Davo", Ian Douglas, John Mills - Happy Hour!
We spent the next 6 days cruising the Bathurst Channel and Bathurst Harbour area. Clayton’s Corner where Clyde and Win Clayton lived for many years. Up the Melaleuca Inlet by dinghy to visit the site of Deny King’s tin mine and the recently opened museum. The airstrip, originally hand built by Deny, had a number of planes arriving and leaving during the course of our stay. Day trippers, bushwalkers and those wishing to enjoy a few days in the SW wilderness without walking for 6 or 7 days or getting seasick! Casilda Cove, a beautiful anchorage and a great base from which to climb Balmoral Hill – which we did! Had a look around Bathurst Harbour and even found Ed’s Cove!
Photo: Teos and Brambletye in Casilda Cove
Photo: Bathurst Channel taken from Bamoral Hill
We kept a fairly close eye on the weather during our stay via the radio scheds. There are a couple of black spots in the area where it is not possible to receive or send VHF transmissions, Schooner Cove being one of them.
The weather looked great for the return voyage on March 8 so the decision was made. Spent the night prior to departure in Spain Bay. We were disappointed we weren’t able to visit Bond Bay and the Davey River area but unfortunately both time and weather were against us. Maybe next time!
Up anchor at 0600 with Recherche being the destination. We were advised by the crew of Teos they had some battery issues. Thankfully they were able to start their engine but use of other electrics was very limited. They followed us out and we stayed close by just in case. A strength of cruising in company.
The south coast proved to be no shorter on the return journey! SW Cape, De Witt Island and about another 22 nautical miles to SE Cape. We passed at least 9 boats heading west for Port Davey. It was a magic day. Light SW breeze, rolled out headsail, 2 – 3 m swell. Once again we had managed to pick it!
Dropped anchor at Cockle Creek, Recherche Bay at 1555. Teos arrived at 1610 and advised they had managed to sort out their battery issues on the way! All on board “Teos” for a “happy hour” and a debrief of our respective coastal passages. A wonderful hour – or two – spent in great company.
The next morning the respective crews bid their farewells. Brambletye was bound for Hobart and Teos was heading off to Cygnet for a few more days away.
It was a beautiful day and the crew of Brambletye enjoyed a nice sail home. There were a few issues caused by picking up some kelp near Acteon Island but for the most part we enjoyed a NE breeze and rolled the headsail out at Gordon, arriving back at the BYC at 1635.
It was a fantastic trip and there are a number of other boats on the BYC register who have ventured to Port Davey this summer. The trip can be a little daunting, but with planning, preparation and keeping an eye on the weather it is possible! BYC member Mick Sheehan once took Skua around. A vessel some older members of the club may remember!