Combined Opening of the Yachting Season - Huge fleet turns out

Young crew members of Helsal II salute the Governor of Tasmania as they pass the M.L. Egeria in Hobart’s Sullivan’s Cove today
Rob Cruse
Combined Opening of the Yachting Season - Close to 300 racing and cruising yachts, motor cruisers, dinghies and multihulls, along with sailing and motoring craft of vintage age, turned out on Hobart’s River Derwent this afternoon.

Opening Day on the Derwent is a traditional event unique to Hobart that goes back more than 130 years, with club officials describing the turn-out as 'huge'.

'It’s the biggest fleet we’ve seen on the river for Opening Day in many years,’ declared Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania Vice Commodore Roger Martin. 'It’s a wonderful response by yacht and power boat owners from every major club in Hobart.

'This turn-out today underlines the significance of the sport of boating on the Derwent… there must have been close to 2500 people on board those boats… to my knowledge there is no similar combined sail past on any other major waterway in Australia,' the Vice Commodore added.

The Governor of Tasmania Mr Peter Underwood AC took the salute from the aft deck of this historic motor launch Egeria. Ashore His Excellency announced that he had chosen the yacht Birngana, skippered by Ernest Targett, as his choice as the best presented boat in the sail past and winner of the RYCT trophy.

Yachts taking part ranged from a foiler Moth and the Australian Sharpie class champion One Hump or Two to the prominent racing yachts Voodoo Chile, Auch and Helsal III.

Vintage craft included the 60 year-old cutter Westward, winner of the 1947 and 1948 Sydney Hobart Race, the 97-year-old yawl Gypsy, the restored Tasmanian One Design class yacht Vanity, and the restored racing speedboat Tomboy.

Tomorrow, more than 50 racing yachts are expected to line up for the first race in the Combined Clubs Long Distance Race Series, the 25 nautical mile Channel Race, starting from Castray Esplanade at 9.40am.

Smallest boat in the Opening Day fleet, this little gaff rigged yawl sails past the M.L. Egeria with the Governor of Tasmania taking the salute
Rob Cruse

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