Derwent Sailing Squadron and Kettering Yacht Club’s opening event of the yachting season, the Ronald Young & Co Builders Pipe Opener Series, is celebrating its 53rd year on Friday the 17 September 2021.
A firm favourite and most eagerly anticipated sailing weekend, this year’s event has been kicked off with record breaking entries.
Growing in popularity, the 16 strong Cruising Division is leading the starting groups for a 3pm start. The very social Division are looking forward to an afternoon start, with much discussion about a “Le Mans” start from the DSS Club! The rivalry between event sponsors, Paul and Lisa Burnell, racing Stella (Beneteau Oceanis 45) and Richard (Fish) Fisher’s, Believe (Beneteau First 45), is ramping up to be another match racing spectacular as they hit the start line. The finish is expected to see a “Ronald Young & Co Builders” ruler length between these highly competitive skippers.
Changes to the race format is expected to see Division 1 and 2 enjoy an earlier finish at Oyster Cove. Starting at 7pm from Castray Esplanade, skippers will be looking for a quick race track as they sail direct to the finish just south of Oyster Cove.
Recognising the sheltered waters of the Derwent River and D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Race 1 of the Pipe Opener is now an event for all sailors. The Friday night race has been revamped, moving away from an offshore Category 3 race. The new DSS Two Capes Race, scheduled for the 27 November, 2021, will introduce the innovation of virtual turning marks to the Combined Clubs Offshore Series.
Back to contest his 2020 series win, Ed Psaltis, racing Midnight Rambler (Sydney 36), should expect to have some close competition. Coming off the back of a successful Combined Clubs Winter Series, Drew Latham’s, Whistler (MBD 36), is likely to be a hot contender, along with Wayne Banks-Smiths, Wargames (Farr 40), challenging Midnight Rambler for the IRC crown during Race 1 of the series.
Kettering Yacht Club (KYC) Vice Commodore, Brent McKay, will also be one to watch, racing his newly purchased, Jazz Player (Bakewell-White Z39). With a hot young crew McKay will have his eye on the prize as he heats up the competition in Division 1.
With over 47 entries the Oyster Cove Marina will be a hive of activity over the weekend. Saturday afternoon will see the Duggan’s Concrete Cove Race, hosted by the Kettering Yacht Club. Leading the charge, with a home town advantage, will be KYC favourites, The Dog House, Talofa and Planet X.
On Sunday the fleet will enjoy a quick morning race from Oyster Cove and finishing at Dennes Point. The outstanding support of the Oyster Cove Marina is being recognised this year as the naming sponsor for race 3 of the series.
The revamped Pipe Opener has proven successful with crews enjoying a great social weekend and a great competitor experience in the sheltered waters of the Derwent River and in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, making it an event for all sailors.
DSS Vice-Commodore, Will Justo is looking forward to racing his own boat, Groove and is impressed with the calibre of entries. “This is the 2nd year of the new format for the Pipe Opener. Last year was a resounding success and we are excited and looking forward to building upon that success”, said Justo.
For race action and results follow the DSS Facebook page.
Words & photos: Colleen Darcey