90 reasons to celebrate
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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).