Crown Series Bellerive Regatta celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Sabot class continues to hold its strength in the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta
Peter Campbell
Tasmania’s most successful regatta of the modern era, the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta, next month will celebrate a decade of providing an outstanding annual sailing event for all racing craft: keelboats, sports boats, multihulls and a multitude of dinghy classes.

The 10th Crown Series Bellerive Regatta will be staged on the River Derwent from Friday, February 21 through to Sunday, February 23 with about 200 entries from southern and northern clubs.

Unique to this regatta is the Friday evening twilight racing for the keelboat and sports boat classes, extending their regatta to three days while off-the-beach multihulls and dinghies will race on the Saturday and Sunday.

Notice of Race for the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta 2014 is now available on the website.

While this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Crown Series, the link with the Bellerive Regatta goes back more than 160 years.

Back in the 1850s the (Royal) Hobart Regatta had been running for more than ten years and the settlers of Bellerive wanted a regatta of their own.

A Kangaroo Point Regatta committee was formed in January 1853, collecting subscriptions to cover the expenses of what was to be the precursor to the Belle Regatta. Newspapers advertised that a regatta was to be held on Wednesday, January 19, 1853 with a programme of six rowing races and two sailing races.

Wild weather forced the regatta to be postponed to the following day and a rival regatta was quickly organised off Battery Point, apparently the outcome of political controversy involving the then Governor and rich merchants and ship owners.

Entries for the inaugural Kangaroo Point Regatta were disappointing because of this rivalry, but the second regatta in February 1854 proved to be a great success with the Bellerive Regatta continuing as an annual event, for the past decade under its modern banner of the ‘Crown Series Bellerive Regatta.’

A decade ago, the original concept of the Bellerive Regatta had begun to wane, sailing entries falling. Not wanting to see the regatta fade into history, Bellerive Yacht Club members Stephen Keal and Robin White, reportedly over a couple of rums, decided what was needed was a sailing regatta with a key focus on fun and participation with a strong off-water celebration of sailing.

'This year, being the 10th anniversary, will bring greater on-water activity plus enhanced social activity after racing,' BYC Commodore John Mills said this week.

Spectacular keelboat racing in the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta
Peter Campbell

The Crown Series Bellerive Regatta will again place equal emphasis on the keelboat and off-the-beach racing with a highlight being the inclusion of the SB20 State championship with a fleet of up to 18 boats adding to the spectacle and excitement of the event,

Another big fleet will the Paper Tiger catamarans from Lauderdale Yacht Club with club officials predicting the club fleet to grow to 20 boats in anticipation of the nationals next summer.

A big fleet of International Cadets is expected this year - Crown Series Bellerive Regatta 2014
Peter Campbell

With Tasmanian dinghy racing on a high after championship successes at recent nationals on the mainland, strong support is expected from classes such as Sabots, International Cadets, Optimists, Lasers, B14s, Flying 11s, Sabres, Mirrors, B14s, 29ers, foiler Moths and the new Fire Bugs.

The success of the Combined Clubs harbour and distance racing over the past two seasons is indicative of the renewed interest in keelboat racing, with the Crown Series fleet always boosted by enthusiastic support from Bellerive’s big fleet of twilight racing yachts.