Matt Bugg aboard Opening Day leading yacht

Rio Paralympic Silver Medallist Matt Bugg will take a place of honour in Saturday’s Opening Day of the Yachting Season,  sailing aboard Bellerive Yacht Club Commodore Graham Mansfield in Black Magic which will lead the fleet in the 136th annual Sail Past.

With the forecast for fine weather,  more than 200 craft – yachts, one-design sports boats and dinghies, cruising yachts and motor cruisers – are expected to take part in the colourful event on the River Derwent.

For the first time since her appointment as Governor of Tasmania, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AM will take the salute at the Opening Day of the Yachting Season.

Her Excellency will be aboard the motor yacht Egeria moored in Sullivan’s Cove,  with the fleet sailing or motor/sailing  in line astern and leaving Egeria to port.

Her Excellency will board Egeria at the RYCT marina,  where a pipe band wil be playing on the club lawns.

Hobart’s Opening Day of the Yachting Season is unique among yacht and sailing clubs in Australia, attracting a huge and varied fleet of the River Derwent from most yachting, sailing and motor boat clubs in Hobart.

Given good weather, spectators could see some 220-plus racing and cruising yachts,  one-design racing yachts,  motor yachts, dinghy classes, even kayaks and ‘tinnies’,  out on the river for a spectacular sail past and salute.

‘Opening Day’ has been a tradition on the Derwent since 1880 when a handful of yachts performed ‘evolutions’ off historic Battery Point, with then Governor taking the salute.

Many vessels will be ‘dressed ship’ with nautical flags, their crews dressed up on colourful uniform for the occasion.

The parade will start line off the Regatta Grounds at 2pm, with dinghy and centreboard classes at the forefront, following racing yachts and at the rear of the fleet will come motor yachts.

The fleet, headed by Black Magic,  will sail and/or motor into Sullivan’s Cove, leaving Egeria on the port hand in line astern with the senior officer on each vessel saluting by hand.

Matt Bugg celebrates his silver medal at Rio.

Matt Bugg celebrates his silver medal at Rio.

Opening Day represents the major clubs whose yachts race or cruise on the magnificent River Derwent and other southern waterways, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Derwent Sailing Squadron, Bellerive Yacht Club, Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania,  Geilston Bay Boat Club, Sandy Bay Sailing Club and the Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Following the sail past, many boats in the fleet will raft up for the traditional Opening Day rendezvous which will be signalled on the flag poles of the RYCT, BYC and DSS at 1.30pm.

The following day, Sunday 9 October, will see the first long race of the Combined Clubs Series, the RYCT’s Channel Race, with the first Harbour race day the following Saturday, 15 October.

However, the SB20 one-design sports boat fleet will begin their pennant racing this Thursday evening, 6 October as part of the DSS Twilight racing.

Peter Campbell

3 October 2016


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