Interclub Yachting - Combined Clubs summer racing on the River Derwent

Bigger Combined Clubs fleets will provide exciting racing on the River Derwent this summer
Rob Cruse
Hobart’s three major yacht clubs, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Derwent Sailing Squadron and Bellerive Yacht Club, for the first time in over a century will combine their Saturday racing on the River Derwent this coming summer season in an interclub effort to boost keelboat fleets.

The clubs have agreed, with strong support from yacht owners and crew, to replace their individual club harbour pennant race days with a Combined Clubs Harbour Summer Series for the 2011-12 sailing season. Four Combined Club Harbour race days are scheduled before Christmas and four post-Christmas.

Six Long Races over the summer also will become a Combined Long Race Series. Clubs will take turns in running the harbour and distance races but the overall conducting authority will be the Combined Clubs Committee.

However, individual clubs will continue to conduct independently their traditional inshore and offshore events, ocean races and regattas. Clubs will also run pennant series for members but to be eligible, yachts must enter the Combined Clubs series.

The action, determined by meetings of flag officers and senior club officials over the winter, follows a marked dropping off in the number of yachts competing in individual club Saturday summer pennant racing in recent seasons.

Announcing the program in a joint statement, the Vice Commodores of the three Clubs, Steve Chau (DSS), Danny Cunningham (BYC) and Roger Martin (RYCT) said: 'This is an endeavour to come up with a sailing program that will provide more interest among yacht owners and stimulate an improvement in the number of yachts competing during the summer season.'

Importantly, the combined club racing has received strong support at a combined BYC, DSS and RYCT yachting forum held to discuss the proposals for the 2011-12 season.

The summer Saturday season on the Derwent will comprise:

• A four race day Combined Clubs Harbour Series before Christmas, starting on Saturday, 15 October 2011, with the last race on 10 December 2011
• A four race day Combined Clubs Harbour Series after Christmas, starting on Saturday, 4 February 2012, with the last race on 31 March 2012.
• A six race Combined Clubs Long Race Series spread over the season, starting with the RYCT’s Channel Race on Sunday, 9 October 2011 and ending with the Green Island Race on 3 March 2012.
• The traditional Combined Clubs Opening Day will be held on Saturday, 8 October. The yacht clubs will be joined this year by craft from the Motor Yacht Club.
• Each club will continue to conduct their own pennant series within the Interclub series, based on results from all harbour race day performances and not individual club race days. However, to be eligible for club pennants, yachts must be entered in the entire Combined Club series.
• Each club will continue to conduct is own major regattas, such as the RYCT’s The Showdown, BYC’s Crown Series and the DSS/Huon Yacht Club Pipe Opener and Sprint Series.
• The RYCT will continue to conduct its three major ocean races, the Maria Island, the Bruny Island and the Mewstone Rock Races, while the DSS will conduct the Launceston to Hobart Race and the King of the Derwent.

The Interclub Committee will prepare the Notices of Race for the events. The final program will be published shortly, with another significant change being to avoid too many events close together in January 2012.

Individual club pennants will be based on results from all eight harbour performances and not individual club race days and to be eligible yachts must enter for the full series although there will be provision for drop races. A separate, nominal entry fee will apply to those yachts wishing to compete for each club pennant.

All Groups (the term to be used in place of divisions) will be scored using Performance handicaps while Groups one and two also will be scored using AMS and IRC rating systems, according to the number of rated boats in each group.

Half tonner Kaiulani is expected to be one of the keen competitors again this summer in the new Combined Club racing
Rob Cruse

Most of these boats, pictured contested the Cock of the Huon on Saturday, will be competing in the Combined Club harbour and distance races
Rob Cruse