Crown Series Bellerive Regatta - Big keelboat fleet set for battle

Paper Tiger catamarans will be out in force at the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta
Peter Campbell
The ninth annual Crown Series Bellerive Regatta, starting this evening, Friday, 22 February, has attracted an outstanding fleet of 96 keelboats, sports boats and trailable yachts.

A similar number of off-the-beach dinghies and small catamarans will join the yachts in racing over the weekend on the River Derwent.

The huge regatta is a co-ordinated effort involving the Bellerive Yacht Club and the Bellerive Regatta Association, supported by all the major keelboat and dinghy clubs and associations in southern Tasmania.

Heading the Division 1 fleet is Gary Smith’s 45-footer The Fork in Road, riding a wave of success with line and handicap wins in the Launceston to Hobart, King of the Derwent and Bruny Island Races.

Line honours favourite The Fork in the Road and Kiaulani, the oldest and one of the smallest boats in the fleet - Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race 2013
Peter Campbell

Certain to give the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania-based Bakewell-White 445 a run for her money in the shorter harbour races will be the Farr 40s, Tilford Auto Group (Hughie Lewis) from Bellerive Yacht Club, War Games (Wayne Banks-Smith) from the Derwent Sailing Squadron and Wired (Sam Boyes) from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Farr 40 Tilford Auto Group is among the big keelboat fleet
Peter Campbell

The Crown Series Bellerive Regatta traditionally produced great rivalry between yacht clubs on either side of the river, the classic clash being for AMS and IRC handicap honours between BYC’s Invincible (Harold Clark) and RYCT entry Intrigue (Don Calvert).

Within Bellerive Yacht Club members there is always the cut-and-thrust competition on the water between the two Mumm 36s, Host Plus Executive (Jeff Cordell) and Tas Paints (Ian Stewart). They seldom finish more than seconds apart in races they both contest.

Racing for keelboats and sportsboats will start with a twilight race this evening, with the warning signal for the first division at 1740 hours. On Saturday there will be back-to-back racing, the first warning signal at 1055 hours; on Sunday the warning signal will be an hour earlier, at 0955.

All divisions, including the dinghy classes, will have back-to-back races on Saturday and Sunday on different course areas on the main Derwent harbour area.

Biggest fleet in the keelboat division is Cruising with 22 entrants, ranging from Brian Bick’s Holland 25, Velsheda, to Stephen Mannering’s Zeston 40, Camlet Way.

Twenty yachts have entered the Performance Cruising division, including prominent racing boats such The Protagonist (Stuart Denny), Prirate’s Pride (Peter Masterton), Stephen Keal’s 50-footer Fish Frenzy, Wings Three (Peter Haros) and Bellerive Yacht Club Commodore John Mills’ Total Locks and Alarms.

The Crown Series Bellerive Regatta is also the State championship for SB20s, sports boats and trailable yachts.

Eight SB20s have so far entered including Colleen Darcey and her all-women crew on Sudden Impulse, and David Graney’s Wedgewood, a change of boats for Graney who last weekend took line honours in the Betsey Island race with his trimararan Rocket Alice.

Only three boats have so far entered for the sports boat State title, among them Sam Edmunds’ Lickity Split from the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club, while eight trailable yachts, including several northern boats, will race for their championship.

John McMahan is towing his TS16 Pure Steel down from the Tamar while Tristan Gourlay will race his 6m boat Forplay.