174th Royal Hobart Regatta preview - Missing trophy returns

Yachts racing past the Royal Australian Navy flagship at last year’s Royal Hobart Regatta.
The 174th edition of the Royal Hobart Regatta is set to get underway next Monday with the skipper of the winning yacht this year be able to accept the genuine Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, now that it has been recovered after it ‘went missing’ for several years.

Winners of the trophy at the last two regattas, The Saint (J Lewis and B Bradbury) and TasPaints (Ian Stewart) had to accept the word of regatta officials that the historic trophy did exist, but just 'couldn’t be located' for the prize-giving ceremony.

Regatta president Geoff Lucas said today that the Lipton Trophy had now been found. 'It seems a committee member who had not been along for several meetings had kept the trophy at his home for safe keeping,' Lucas explained.

'It is, after all, a valuable trophy…sculptured sterling silver, hall-marked ‘London 1912’, on a large, silver-mounted plinth, with a silver weight of 2,000gm,' he explained.

The ‘missing’ Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy
Geoff Lucas
Scotsman Sir Thomas Lipton, KCVO, a self-made man, merchant, creator of the Lipton tea brand, and a yachtsman who was the most persistent challenger in the history of the America’s Cup, presented the Lipton Trophy to the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in 1914 as a Perpetual Challenge Cup for the Tasmanian One Design Class.

The original Tasmanian One Design class yacht Weene won the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy for nine successive years, from 1915 through to 1921, and again in 1937, 1940, 1941 and 1941, when owned by the Batt family. Weene is now owned in Sydney and at the age of 101, contested the Classic Yacht division of the 175th Australia Day Regatta on 26 January this year.

At some stage, the RYCT re-dedicated the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup to the Royal Hobart Regatta and since then many other famous yachts have had their names engraved on the Lipton Cup, including Erica J (11 times), Ninie (Eight), Francis (10), Jenny S (Seven), Police Car five (Five) and Trump Card (Four).

The most recent multiple winner has been Terry Bragg’s Galapagos Duck in 2005 and 2006, while in 2007 Diane Barkas became the first female skipper to win the Cup, sailing Asylum to victory.

On Monday, 13 February 2012, another Tasmanian yacht will have its name engraved on the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup – with its owner/skipper able to receive the real trophy at the official prize giving.

Racing for the Lipton Cup will start off the Regatta Ground at 2pm with a strong fleet of local yachts competing, including last year’s winner of the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, TasPaints.

RAN helicopter rescue demonstration played havoc with some yachts in last year’s Royal Hobart Regatta.

Yachting Tasmania’s Yardstick Dinghy Races have also been transferred to the Monday which has been, since the first regatta in 1838, a public holiday for the citizens and sailors of Hobart town.

That year, then Governor, Sir John Franklin, led the regatta sail past and also turned on free beer and food for the populous of Hobart at the Regatta Grounds, something that no longer comes within the budget of Government House.

The present Governor, Mr Peter Underwood AC, will continue the vice regal involvement by entertaining Royal Hobart Regatta officials at a formal reception at Government House this week, and on Monday next will arrive at the Regatta Grounds aboard the classic motor yacht Egeria to watch events ashore and afloat.

To mark the opening of the three-day regatta events, that include swimming, rowing and powerboat racing as well as dinghy and keelboat events, the 86th Bruny Island Race will start off the Regatta Grounds, just south of Hobart’s Tasman Bridge, at 9.30am this coming Saturday, 11 February.