Combined Clubs Summer Pennant Series Preview 2020/21
Hobart sailing fans will get a taste of a Tasmanian summer this Saturday when the River Derwent returns to its colourful best with the start of the Combined Clubs Summer Pennant Series.
The series, which incorporates five harbour races and five long distance races, hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, the Derwent Sailing Squadron and the Bellerive Yacht Club, has drawn nearly 60 entries, and if the recent Pipe Opener series is any indication of current form, it will be a closely fought affair.
The forecast 19 knot westerly breeze will provide excellent racing conditions for the super-sleek Melges 32 sportsboats skippered by Brett Cooper (Crusader), Chris Sheehan (Assagai) and Andrew Smith (Cockwomble), while bigger boats like Michael Pritchard’s Cookson 50, Oskana and Peter Cretan’sMarten 49, Tilt, will relish the blowy conditions.
Last year’s Division 1 winner Midnight Rambler (Ed Psaltis) is in good form, winning the Pipe Opener Division 1 series on IRC and AMS, while Dr Who (Roger Jackman) and the legendary Don Calvert (Intrigue), who was recently awarded Life Membership of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, will be hard to beat.
The series sees a few boats change divisions. Ian Johnston (Zephyr) will move from Division 2 to the top division, while Michelle Boutchard and Paul Boutchard have their Murray-Burns-Dovell 36-footer, Young Magic, in top shape and will be hoping to carry forward their recent Division 2 success in the Channel Race into the top division.
Peter Haros sailing his Northshore 38, Wings Three, is expected to be another consistent performer in Division 2.
The early favourite for Division 3 on IRC is Steve Chau sailing Young Lion. Chau, who has a talented and experienced crew which includes Derwent Sailing Squadron Commodore Scott Brain, took out Division 2 of the Pipe Opener on IRC and Division 3 on PHS of the Combined Clubs Winter Series.
“This year has been a tough year, but if it has taught us anything it is that we need to stay connected and support each other when things get tough. I’m really looking forward to the sailing community coming back together again for what will be really fantastic and competitive racing in Hobart” said Brain.
Division 4 PHS favourites include Neville Georgeson’s Hornet, Smither Aberle’s Innovator, and Allan Morgan’s Wayatih.
Racing gets underway mid-river with the first warning signal at 13:25. Racing results will be available at: https://dssinc.org.au/yacht-racing/race-results-2020-21/
Words/photos: Jane Austin