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20th Banjo's Shoreline Crown Series Bellerive Regatta - Overall

by Jane Austin 25 Feb 22:39 PST 23-25 February 2024

Tasmanian sailors were tested in all conditions on the River Derwent in Hobart in the 20th anniversary of the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta last weekend, with wild conditions on Friday night, glamour sailing on Saturday, and confusing breezes on Sunday.

The largest keelboat regatta in Tasmania brought together over 500 sailors from across the state in a range of Classes, with the event cementing the reputations of some of our finest sailors and shining a light on some up-and-coming talent.

With a forecast of variable breezes under 10 knots, crews made changes to their rigging and sails ahead of the last day of sailing, but as is often the case on the River Derwent, the wind came in stronger and from different directions than predicted, presenting tricky conditions for sailors and race committees alike.

Competition was at its finest in the Sabre Class with Dinky Di (John Cerutty) saving his best until last, winning three races on the final day of sailing, but unfortunately it wasn't enough with Vinylester Madness (Matt Westland) winning four of the seven races to take the series on nine points.

Sabre Race Officer and Bellerive Yacht Club Rear Commodore, John Mills, was thrilled with the close racing and the return of the Sabre Class to the regatta.

"It was nice and tight racing. It's great to have the Sabres back...and after the success of this regatta, with spectators able to watch from the shore, I envisage we will have even more next year," said Mills.

Intrigue (David Calvert) and Heatwave/Fish Frenzy (Matt Keal) were the top performers in the Racing Group division with Intrigue winning six of seven races on ORC to finish on nine points from Eye Candy (Malo Leseigneur) on 18 points. Intrigue repeated the same feat on IRC handicap with Eye Candy again in second on 22 points.

Heatwave/Fish Frenzy claimed the win on PHS while also picking up the coveted Mumm 36 Cup for winning the 'unofficial world championship,' a light-hearted rivalry between the Mumm 36 Class boats.

To cap off a brilliant regatta for Intrigue, David Calvert received the Fergusson Trust Award for the best performing boat of the regatta while Skye Lawler, crew member on Heatwave/Fish Frenzy, won the Banjo's Shoreline Newcomer Award for keelboats.

The Jarkan/Lyons 38, Shere Khan, skippered by David Watkins with son Luke (sailing master on Rolex Sydney to Hobart handicap winner Alive) calling tactics, won on PHS in Division 1 of Performance Cruising on 12 points.

In Division 2, Andrew Jones from the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club (PDYC), skippered his Thompson 8 sportsboat Cutting Edge to victory, while CommBank (Craig Escott) took out Division 3 from Innovator (Dean Smith/Ian Aberle) on a countback on 14 points.

The Goo (David Paine) was the popular winner of Division 4 on 12 points from early leader, Yarindi III (Danny Cunningham) on 16 points.

Zephyr (Ian Johnston) won three from five races to take out the ORC Division 1 win while IYKYK (Steve Chau) from the Derwent Sailing Squadron (DSS) had a brilliant regatta winning Division 2 on ORC and taking out the IRC division with five straight wins.

Tasmania has an enviable record of producing world champions in the Off-the-Beach (OTB) dinghy classes with the Crown Series offering a good opportunity to test the skills of up-and-coming sailors.

Squid (Charlie Birch/Archie McQuillen) won two of five races to win the Cadet series on six points from Schmoken (Isaac Archer/Flynn Clougher), who took second on a countback from Little Devil (Sam Hooper/Thomas Pitt), both on nine points.

Good Question, (Tom Fader), produced an outstanding result winning four of five races to win the ILCA (Laser) series on five points, and as expected, Foiling Moth boat Wingman (John Genders), also bagged four wins to take the series on four points.

The Optimist fleet enjoyed the sailing with the fleet honing their skills in preparation for the 2024 Optimist State Championship to be hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania this weekend.

Send It, skippered by George Pilkington, negotiated the tricky conditions well in the Optimist single-handed dinghy Class, producing outstanding results with four wins from five races to win on four points. Riptide (Anna Lodge) was second on eight points and Sabota (Ruby Pilkington) third on ten points.

OTB Race Officer, Nick Hutton, commended the fleet for their patience and commitment in the frustrating final day of sailing but noted the importance of the regatta as preparation for championship events.

"The regatta was a great warmup for the State titles next weekend with the top performers likely challengers for the State Championship," said Hutton.

Versatile youth sailor, Harry Gregory, sailed Greg to win the WASZP Series on a count-back from Comfortably Numb (Kirsty Salter) both on nine points. Salter was recognised for her skill development in the new WASZP one-design foiling boat, winning the Bellerive Regatta Association award.

Salter will also be putting her helming skills to the test this weekend skippering Arunga in Saturday's Frontline Mind/42 South Women's Keelboat Regatta, hosted by the DSS.

The 2024 SB20 Tasmanian Championship went down to the wire with Karabos (Nick Rogers), sailing with Cole Dabner and Simon Burrows, winning the title on the last leg of the final race after a tactical gybe-set at the top mark saw Karabos pick up stronger breeze off the shore and gain four places in a blistering downwind run, which was enough to secure the trophy.

Rogers will be the boat to beat when the SB20 fleet travels north to compete in the 2024 SB20 Australian Championship hosted by PDYC on the Tamar River over three days, 23 to 25 March 2024.

The 20th anniversary event would not have been possible without the support of other sailing clubs on the River Derwent in Hobart, a large contingent of race officers and committees, volunteers, sponsors, families and friends, and the staff of the Bellerive Yacht Club.

Full regatta results available here.

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