Cygnet Regatta at Port Cygnet Yacht Club preview

Close racing on beautiful Port Cygnet, south of Hobart. - Cygnet Regatta 2012
Rob Cruse
Cygnet Regatta, hosted by Port Cygnet Yacht Club, is being held this weekend in southern Tasmania. At least five of Hobart’s famous Derwent (D-class) yachts will contest as the venerable one-design class enjoys a revival of interest, notably among younger yachtsmen.

This year marks 148 years since the first regatta was held on the beautiful waters of Port Cygnet, a deep bay off the Huon River to the south of Hobart.

This is the 14th year since the Port Cygnet Yacht Club first revived the regatta, attracting some 50 keelboats and trailable yachts this year. The weekend begins with a race on Friday evening from Hobart to Kettering, followed by a Saturday afternoon/evening race from Kettering to Cygnet, with the Cygnet Regatta on Sunday afternoon.

The D-class yacht, a 24’6' sloop, was designed as an inexpensive cruiser/racer in the late 1920s and promoted by 'Teddy' Webster, a driving force in Tasmanian yachting of that era.

The early post World War II years through to the 1970s saw the D-classers reach their peak of popularity on the Derwent, a number of home-built boats launched, all given names relating to myths, fantasies and fairy tales.

2015 Maria Island Race
Peter Campbell

D-classers expected to race in the Cygnet Regatta include Merlin, winner of the recent ‘world’ championships conducted by Kettering Yacht Club, Goblin, Titania, Janis, which won the Cygnet Cup in 1979, the beautifully restored Gremlin, home-built soon after World War II by three returned servicemen, including Frank Heerey, recently honoured for his work with the Air Force Association.

Among more modern boats contesting the regatta include six International Etchells, and prominent Hobart racing yachts TasPaints (Ian Stewart), Wings Three (Peter Haros) and David Allen’s Sydney 38 Obsession, down from the Tamar Yacht Club.

Swansea, on the east coast, will host an annual ‘do-it-your-self’ regatta for a variety of off-the-beach classes over the weekend, including Lightweight Sharpies and foiling Moths.

A big drawcard will 2012 Australian moth champion Rob Gough, who is looking to build on his title defence in the Moths and also contest the Worlds in Europe.

Also competing on the foilers will be Will Logan and Julian Salter, with past Swansea Sharpie champion Richard 'Arch' Steedman looking to get up to speed on the foiling moth.

In the Sharpies, 2011 National champion One Hump or Two, sailed by Drew Latham, Nick Carter and Nick Johnston, will be racing against the 2011 Swansea champions, Tim Muir, Charles 'Rockstar' Donnelly and Marcus Carter.

Long time Swansea stalwart, Andrew 'Cyril' Rostrom is looking to get back on the podium as he guides Ben Price on the Geeveston Fanny around the tight course off the beach at Swansea.

New recruits to the Sharpie class will be sailboard champion Hugh Jones and dad, Tim, along with Henry Goodfellow.

Back on the Derwent, Kingston Beach Sailing Club is expecting a fleet of up to 50 Sabots from around the State and about a dozen B14 skiffs for their Tasmanian championships over the weekend.

Salamis sailing pursuit of other D-class yachts on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel at Kettering - Cygnet Regatta 2012
Andrew Norman