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Entries open for 20th anniversary of the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta

by Jane Austin 30 Jan 23:20 PST 23-25 February 2024
Off-the-beach dinghy classes are a big part of the Banjo's Shoreline Crown Series Bellerive Regatta © Jane Austin

Sailors from across Tasmania are gearing up to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta, regarded as one of the most successful sailing events on the Tasmanian sailing calendar.

The 2024 Banjo's Shoreline Crown Series Bellerive Regatta will be sailed from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 February with the event including a competitive program of racing for keelboats and off-the-beach dinghy classes across five different race courses, plus great food, wine and entertainment onshore.

Commodore Jeff Cordell expects the 20th anniversary event to be bigger than ever.

"The Crown Series has become the pinnacle of keelboat racing in Tasmania, providing a wonderful opportunity for sailors to test their skills against the best sailors.

All racing is conducted within the confines of the River Derwent and offers spectacular viewing from a wide range of vantage points around the race course," said Cordell.

The regatta begins with a twilight race on Friday evening for keelboats while the dinghies and sportsboats join the racing on Saturday and Sunday.

The original Bellerive (or Kangaroo Point) Regatta was held in 1853 and incorporated six rowing races and two sailing races. It evolved somewhat but experienced various highs and lows

In 2005, long term BYC members Stephen Keal and Robin White, with the support of the BYC, reimagined the event as a three-day sailing program bringing sailors and the local community together for an action-packed weekend, and the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta as we know it was born.

This year's 20th anniversary of the modern-day format of the regatta marks the 11th year that Banjo's Shoreline Bakery Café has been the naming rights sponsor.

The event receives generous backing from a wide range of Tasmanian businesses and enjoys the assistance of other local sailing clubs providing a flotilla of support craft and an enormous contingent of volunteers.

The BYC is expecting a strong fleet of Sabres to contest the 20th anniversary event.

The Sabre, a one design single-hand dinghy with good handling performance in both light breezes and strong winds, is a popular sailing Class, with Matt Westland and Jason Followes some of the top performers from the Lindisfarne Sailing Club expected to sail the event.

BYC life member, Chris Sheehan, has had a long association with the Banjo's Shoreline Crown Series Bellerive Regatta sailing his Young 88, Saga in the early days and more recently, racing his super sleek Melges 32, Assagai.

Sheehan won Performance Cruising Division 1 on ORC in last year's regatta and is looking forward to celebrating the 20th anniversary event in February.

"The BYC is a very community-minded club so it's great to open our doors to local families and provide onshore entertainment that suits the kids as well as the adults.

"In terms of sailing, what I love about the regatta is that it's really the only chance we have during the Tasmanian sailing season to bring a group of boats together that are quite similar, that don't usually sail together, and that do limited racing outside of the Crown Series," said Sheehan.

The first Crown Series Bellerive Regatta in 2005 had 47 entries. While the event peaked at close to 200 entries in the heyday of sailing, the annual event now draws close to 100 entries across the Classes.

This year's event will see three of the original starters compete with the same boat although the names may have changed over the years.

Commodore Jeff Cordell will be racing his Mumm 36, Hooligan in the unofficial Mumm 36 'world championship' sailed as part of the regatta, while father-son co-skippers, Chris and Richard Andrews will be racing The Goodies for the 20th consecutive year alongside Ian Smith and Dean Aberle who co-skipper Innovator.

The regatta also includes what will be a hotly contested 2024 SB20 Tasmanian Championship with the current Tasmanian, Australian and World Champion SB20 sailor Will Sargent expected to participate in the event.

Alison Merridew, from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, sails on regatta regular, Invincible.

"On Invincible, we've always aimed to have a 50/50 male/female crew and to welcome new sailors to the sport. The regatta format is great for giving new crew members the opportunity to compete in high quality racing, and by sailing on 3 consecutive days, we really see the improvement in our crew work.

"The Crown Series is our favourite regatta, and the number and diversity of people who participate - and who we get to celebrate with in the evenings - makes it a standout event in the Combined Clubs summer calendar," said Merridew.

The event is open to a wide range of sailing classes including International Cadets, Optimists, ICLAs, WASZPs, Sailboards and Sabots.

Notice of Race for the 2024 Banjo's Shoreline Crown Series Bellerive Regatta is available here.

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