The Derwent Sailing Squadron and Huon Yacht Cub will kick-start the ‘spring/summer’ sailing season this weekend when they join forces to conduct the traditional Pipe Opener Series.
The pre-season sailing regatta starts on Friday evening with a night race from Hobart down the Derwent and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to Gordon
On Saturday afternoon, the fleet from Hobart will be joined by local yachts for the Huon Aquaculture Cock of the Huon, starting and finishing off Shipwrights Point. A return race from Port Huon to Gordon will be held on Sunday morning.
Forecasts indicate that there will be more of a winter feel to the weekend, with Saturday’s maximum temperatures forecast to be10 degrees or less and some fresh
Among the 20 plus entries received for the Pipe Opener Series is Oskana, Michael Pritchard’s Cookson 50 which will be having its first race as a Tasmanian-registered yacht.
When named Victoire, Oskana won the 2013 Sydney Hobart and was bought by Pritchard earlier this year. He and his crew have training extensively to contest this year’s Sydney Hobart.
Oskana is expected to contest combined club long races leading to December and also the Maria Island ocean race in November.
At noon today (Wednesday) 19 yachts had entered for the Series although some are expected to only contest the Friday night race.
The DSS is expecting between 20 and 30 entries by the time entries close with the club at 5pm tomorrow.
Having its first race in southern Tasmania is the former Tamar Yacht Club boat Haphazard, now owned by Andrew Sinclair. Haphazard, a Radford 14, is noted for her past performances in the Three Peaks Race.
Other entries include Philosopher (Shaun Tiedemann) and Wild West (Michael and Michelle Denney) which could see an on-the-water duel between two DSS senior staff as Shaun Tiedemann is the club’s general manager and Michael Denney the sailing manager.
The fleet includes last year’s Cock of the Huon winner, Michael Hutchinson’s Hobie 33 and a number of potential entries in this year’s Launceston to Hobart Race, also a DSS event.
They include Frontline (Ian Snape), Groove (Will Justo), Helsal V (Robert Smith), Rad (Brent McKay), Zephyr (Ian Johnston) and possible L2H entrants Haphazard and Whistler, now owned by David Aplin.
The 2017-18 summer season of yacht racing on the River Derwent will begin on Saturday, 7 October with the Combined Clubs Opening.
The following day, at 10am, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania will conduct the Channel Race taking the fleet down the river to a turning marking in the Channel.
The first Combined Clubs Harbour pennant race day will be on the afternoon of Saturday, 14 October.
Words & photos: Peter Campbell
13 September 2017