The summer season of Combined Clubs Long Race Series starts tomorrow (Sunday) with the traditional Channel Race, a 50-plus fleet and several newcomers to regular combined club distance racing.
The Channel Race will take the fleet down the Derwent to a mark near Bligh Point on Bruny Island just inside the northern entrance to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, a return distance close to 30 nautical miles.
The first of eight races in the Combined Club Long Race Series over the summer, the Channel Race starts off Castray Esplanade at 10am on Sunday.
Making their Long Race Series debut in the 23-boat Group A are Shaun Philosopher’s Philosopher, Mike and Michelle’s Wild West, Rohan Clark’s Co-op Toyota while Darren Clark will be skippering Filepro, the former Nexedge.
Another newcomer to the summer pennant race is Graeme Wood’s Wot’s New, a power Sydney 47.
Most of these boats have raced with success in the various Hobart clubs’ winter pennants, including Philosopher, Wild West and Wot’s News.
Recently successful in the Pipe Opener Series last month, Matthew Denholm’s Mumm 30 Cleopatra will have boat-for-boat competition from another Mumm 30, Rowan Clark’s Co-op Toyota.
Returning for a yet another season is Intrigue, veteran Don Calvert’s Castro 40 Intrigue, while heading the fleet is Gary Smith’s The Fork in Road, returning to racing with a longer bowsprit to enable the 45-footer to carry larger Code 0 reaching headsails.
The booming SB20 one-design sports boat fleet attracted a record 27 starters for the opening pennant race of the summer, again being run in conjunction with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania/Derwent Sailing Squadron Thursday evening twilights.
Class pioneer on the Derwent, Nick Rogers sailed away from the big fleet for a comfortable win in light and flukey winds, steering Karabos to victory from Porto Ross, helmed by young skipper Elliott Noye. Third to finish was The Honey Badger with former International Cadet world champion on the helm.
With the SB20 world championships here in Hobart in January 2018 the fleet on the Derwent has reached 43 boats, the largest fleet in Australia and the summer pennant racing fleet is expected to increase later in the year.
Among those racing on Thursday evening were several women skippers and all-women crews including Felicity Allison (Peter Johnston), the three Athena Sailing boats, Fire of Athena (Jo Breen), Essence of Athena (Sam Bailey) and Pride of Athena (Kirsty Gray), and The Hutchins School two SB20s, Murray Jones ((Sam Abel) and Warwick Dean (Will Allison).
Words: Peter Campbell - 8 October 2016