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45th annual Pipe Opener - Cock of the Huon race

by Peter Campbell on 21 Sep 2013
Division 1 start of the Cock of Huon swith Planet X the first to fly a kite. Peter Campbell
Derwent Sailing Club and the Huon Yacht Club’s 45th annual Pipe Opener, which includes the prestigious Cock of the Huon race, is southern Tasmania’s traditional pre-season regatta.

Appropriately, the Cock of the Huon race on the Huon River today went to a Tradition 30 class yacht, Take One, skippered by Ian Gannon from the DSS.

This was Take One’s second success as overall winner of the Cock of the Huon and the third year in succession that the winner has come from Division three.

The Pipe Opener comprises three races, a night race from Hobart to Gordon in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel on Friday evening, the Cock of the Huon on Saturday, and a race back from Port Huon to Gordon on Sunday. Once again it attracted a quality fleet including 2013 Sydney Hobart contenders Cougar II and Martela.

The Friday night race began with a bang – a spectacular fireworks display in Sullivans Cove, not for the Pipe Opener fleet but to welcome visiting vessels for Hobart’s Tall Ships Festival. Nevertheless, it livened up the first half hour of the race in a light breeze.

The night race down the Derwent to Gordon in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel ranged from 0 to 22 knots from the south-west and 'a lot more in between' according to Mike Denney, DSS sailing manager who skippered his own yacht Wild West. 'The wind seldom offered a chance to hoist a kite; we had ours up for literally one minute; Cougar II’s crew used one briefly to ghost along,' he added.

Tony Lyall’s TP52 Cougar II, arguably the fastest offshore racing yacht in Tasmania, led home the fleet in the night race but had elected not to the Cock of the Huon.

The night race was a bonanza for Jeff Cordell’s Mumm 36, Host Plus Executive from Bellerive Yacht Club, which won PHS Division one and also AMS overall.

Under AMS scoring, Host Plus Executuve won from Whistler (David Rees) and Pisces (David Taylor)


In PHS Division one, Host Plus Executive won the Huon Yacht Club entry, Bellandean, Andrew Scott’s Jarkan 38, third place going the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania entry, Whistler (David Rees)

First place in PHS Division two went to Jeffrey Sharp’s Femme Fatale from HYC entry Off She Goes (Robert Cleary) and Stewart Geeves’ Footloose.

Camlet Way (Steve Mannering) took out Division three from Take five (Ian Gannon) and Huon Yacht Club entry Kharis (Terry Dalby).

With a number of boats heading back to Hobart after the Friday night race, a smaller fleet of 25 boats raced in the Cock of Huon, sailed over a course with the broader reaches of the Huon River, starting and finishing off Shipwrights Point at Port Huon.

After an fast reaching start in a moderate south-westerly breeze, followed but a hard beat to windward and a broad reach to the leeward mark, the wind died away midway through the race.


On corrected times, these conditions favouring the Division three boats with their lower ratings in the overall results for the traditional Cock of the Huon. Take five sailed a consistent race in the varying conditions, winning Division three and also first place overall in fleet to win its second Cock of the Derwent.

With Take five elevated to Cock of the Huon, the first place trophy in Division three went to Myfanwy (Adrian Marsh), second to Kaiulani (Malcolm Cooper), third to Lock on Wood (Ron Akhurst).

Divisionone1 winner was Planet X (Mike Rowley), second place going to Bombora, skippered by Commodore John Mills of Bellerive Yacht. Back in 1993, Bombora won the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, then named MIcropay Cuckoos Nest. Third place in Division one went to TasPaints (Ian Stewart).

Femme Fatale (Jeffrey Sharp) followed up her Friday night race win by taking out Division two of the Cock of Huon race from Footloose (Stewart Geeves) and Granny Apple (David Leake).

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