90 rea­sons to cel­e­brate

Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring - - WHEEL DEALS | BOATING -

NEXT week­end marks a mile­stone in the his­tory of yacht­ing in Tas­ma­nia — the 90th run­ning of the Bruny Is­land Race.

The race starts at 9.30am on Fe­bru­ary 6 from a line off the Hobart Re­gatta Grounds, thus link­ing it with an­other his­toric event, the an­nual Royal Hobart Re­gatta.

The 89-nau­ti­cal mile cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion of the elon­gated is­land is a de­mand­ing one-day con­test for most en­trants, which can stretch to an overnight race for some com­peti­tors de­pend­ing on con­di­tions.

The Bruny Is­land Race course takes the fleet down the River Der­went through the wind­ing, en­closed reaches of the D’En­tre­casteaux Chan­nel across the south­ern tip of the is­land and into the Tas­man Sea, be­fore fin­ish­ing back up the river at Hobart.

The first Bruny Is­land race was held on March 27, 1898, and it is ar­guably the old­est off­shore/in­shore race in Aus­tralia with an al­most con­tin­u­ous his­tory, the gaps in its run­ning be­ing dur­ing the two world wars.

The first race, called sim­ply “the Ocean Race’’ on the club’s sail­ing cal­en­dar, at­tracted eight en­tries, and since then, ac­cord­ing to a his­tory of the race com­piled by Royal Yacht Club of Tas­ma­nia mem­ber Rowan John­ston and yacht­ing jour­nal­ist Peter Camp­bell, the event’s hon­our roll reads like a who’s who of Tas­ma­nian yacht­ing over the past 117 years.

That first race was led by R. Cum­mings’ yawl Gift, but was won on hand­i­cap by Sun­beam, one of the old­est yachts in Aus­tralia, sailed by J. Black­ney.

One of the most dra­matic races was in 1902, when the race had five starters, with only two fin­ish­ing. One en­trant, Ma­bel, was run ashore off Cloudy Bay when its hull opened up, and its crew had to scale the South Bruny cliffs to the light­house to get help.

Tas­ma­nian one-de­sign yachts have had an out­stand­ing

Foot­loose, main pic­ture, is a two-time hand­i­cap win­ner of the Bruny Is­land Race. Photo: DANE LO­JEK Sun­beam, win­ner of the in­au­gu­ral Bruny Is­land Race in 1898. Photo: ROYAL YACHT CLUB OF TAS­MA­NIA record in the Bruny Is­land Race, with win­ners in­clud­ing Weene, Canobie and Ninie.

Other well-known yachts to have won the race on cor­rected time since the 1940s in­clude Mis­tral, Terra Nova, Huon Chief, Kin­tail, Southerly Buster, Huon Lass, Nire Loa, In­trigue, Doc­tor Who (with seven wins), In­vin­ci­ble, Cougar ll, The Fork in the Road and Foot­loose.

Prom­i­nent Tas­ma­nian yachts­men’s names on the Bruny Is­land Race hon­our roll in­clude O.R. Tin­ning, C.R. Rex, H.T. Denne, W.P. and H. Batt, Percy Coverdale, Jock Muir, G.W. Rex, the McKean brothers, Dun­can McRae, Hed­ley Calvert, C.E. Davies, Joe Cannon, Les Gabriel, Roger Jack­man, Ediss Boyes, Harold Clark, Michael Den­ney, An­drew Hunn, Gary Smith, Ste­wart Geeves, Roger Hick­man and Tony Lyall.

In 2008 Dianne Barkas be­came the first woman to win the Bruny Is­land Race, skip­per­ing Asy­lum to vic­tory, and the fol­low­ing year Sally Rat­tle won with Archie.

Since the ear­li­est days of the race prom­i­nent in­ter­state yachts­men have also com­peted.

Cul­walla lll (W.M. Marks from the Royal Syd­ney Yacht Squadron won in 1910, Sov­er­eign (Bernard Lewis) from the Cruis­ing Yacht Club of Aus­tralia won in 1981, and Bum­ble­bee 5, skip­pered by Roger Hick­man from the CYCA, won in 2002.

In 2005, the maxi yacht Kon­ica Mi­nolta (Ste­wart Th­waites) from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron won out­right, set­ting a race record that still stands — eight hours, two min­utes and 59 sec­onds.

Trailer sailer se­ries

THE next rounds in the newly started statewide trailer sailer se­ries will held on Fe­bru­ary 6 and 7 and the week­end of March 12-13.

The se­ries is be­ing hosted by the Lind­is­farne Sail­ing Club and spon­sored by North Sails Tas­ma­nia, and is fill­ing an im­por­tant niche in the sail­ing cal­en­dar.

LSC mem­ber Des Clark said the monthly trailer sailer se­ries sup­ported statewide com­pe­ti­tion, as well as en­cour­ag­ing fam­ily trailer sail­ers and sport boats up to eight me­tres to com­pete on an even foot­ing us­ing the Top Yacht hand­i­cap­ping sys­tem.

“This al­lows fam­ily boats such as the TS 16s to com­pete against such boats as the I550 sports boats and El­liotts,’’ he said.

Mr Clark said there was an em­pha­sis on fun and spir­ited sail­ing on the smoother wa­ters of Lind­is­farne Bay.

He said LSC prin­ci­pal race of­fi­cer John Mills was in­stru­men­tal in pro­vid­ing great rac­ing with wind­ward starts and mul­ti­ple races.

Mr Clark said one class that was at­tract­ing in­ter­est in the trailer sailer rac­ing was the Fly­ing Fif­teen (which is ac­tu­ally 6.9m in length) be­cause it was a boat that of­fered re­spon­sive, plan­ing dinghy sail­ing, but was also com­fort­able to sail and easy to move around in.

He said there were fleets of the Uffa Fox-de­signed Fly­ing Fif­teen in Vic­to­ria, Can­berra, South Aus­tralia and Western Aus­tralia, as well as lo­cally, and it was hoped to ex­pand the Tas­ma­nian fleet with the trailer sailer se­ries as a fo­cus.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the trailer sailer se­ries, lind­is­far­ne­sail­ing­clu@gmail.com

For more de­tails on the Fly­ing Fif­teens con­tact Des Clark on 0418 996 682.

It’s the real Deal

THE pop­u­lar monthly lunchtime talks run by the Mar­itime Mu­seum of Tas­ma­nia re­sume on Tues­day with a com­pre­hen­sive overview of Tas­ma­nia’s Deal Is­land in the middle of Bass Strait.

Ti­tled The His­tory and Mys­tery of Deal Is­land, the talk will be given by Dal­las Baker and cov­ers the is­land’s story from 1797 to 2016.

Mr Baker is a mem­ber of the group Friends of Deal Is­land Wild­care Inc, which, in con­junc­tion with the Tas­ma­nian Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice, seeks to help pre­serve and con­serve the ruggedly beau­ti­ful and his­tor­i­cally fas­ci­nat­ing lit­tle is­land.

This in­cludes preserving the his­toric build­ings that still stand on the is­land, and doc­u­ment­ing the sto­ries of peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with its his­tory.

The talk is from noon to 1pm on Tues­day in the Royal So­ci­ety Room of the Tas­ma­nian Mu­seum and Art Gallery (Davey St en­trance).

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