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Mid-July return of Derwent yacht racing?

by Peter Campbell 23 May 00:33 PDT
Yachts ahoy on the River Derwent © Peter Campbell

Sunday, July 19 is looking as the possible date for the resumption of yacht racing on Hobart's River Derwent.

The Combined Clubs Committee, which represents The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Derwent Sailing Squadron and Bellerive Yacht Club, this week finalised plans for a proposed joint six-race Winter Pennant Series on the Derwent for keelboats from each club.

"The proposed Combined Clubs Winter Pennant Series will replace the individual club winter racing, cancelled earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic," current Combined Clubs chairman Richard Bevan, Vice Commodore of The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, said today.

"Hopefully, this will follow the easing of Government and Health restrictions, with a move to Stage 3 scheduled for Monday, July 13. We will follow those guidelines strictly in returning to racing.

"Australian Sailing has sought clarification and/or exemptions for some sailing specific activities that relate to the 1.5m distancing and four square metre rules.

"Australian Sailing believes sailing is a relatively low risk activity and will soon publish further information to assist clubs with their 'return to sport' risk mitigation strategies.

"Our plan is to give Hobart yacht owners and their crews, six competitive river races as a vital lead-up to the 2020 -2021 Combined Clubs Summer Pennant Series.

"The traditional season opening event, the Pipe-Opener is scheduled to start on the 18th September 2020 with the Combined Clubs official Opening Day set for Saturday, October 3, with the Channel Race the next day and first Pennant Race on Saturday, October 10," Vice Commodore Bevan added.

Explaining the proposed Combined Clubs Winter Pennant Series, Vice Commodore Bevan said it was planned to use the same format as used for combined clubs Wednesday keelboat racing, but with boats able to fly spinnakers.

Courses would be around mainly fixed marks, with Sunday morning starts. Each of the three clubs would conduct two race days with starting areas off Castray Esplanade, Battery Point, and Victoria Esplanade, Bellerive, depending on which clubs was running that race day.

The Combined Clubs Summer Pennant Series is currently under review, awaiting feedback from competitors. Over the last few years it has comprised nine race days, including a combination of river races and long day races taking the fleet beyond the Derwent into Storm Bay or D'Entrecasteaux Channel.

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