Swiftsure Regatta

posted Dec 15, 2019, 1:47 PM by Posts Editor   [ updated Dec 15, 2019, 3:02 PM ]
Jane Johnson sent the following report. 

'The Sunday forecast was grim but Living Boat Trust members were stalwarts. The prestigious Swiftsure Regatta had events and awards including the Roger Harwood Trophy, which were up for grabs. An increased number of competitors, all with impressive rowing credentials, meant Tasmania’s variable meteorological and nautical conditions could make a difference. A handicap system based on boat length and numerous other factors was in place and had been carefully finetuned over many years. The course was set. The crowd was on edge. 

Just over 44 minutes later, David Nash from the Yukon, who must have been secretly practising in between tours, crossed the line first and took out the honour. The crowd roared and welcomed in the other competitors – highly-rated octogenarian John Young was close behind. Another perpetual Roger Harwood trophy winner had been decided. Practising for the Swiftsure Regatta in 2020 may happen within days. 

The St Ayles Skiff pursuit was next over 1km. The “Huon Belle” women’s rowing team won their event in “Imagine” with nothing left in the paddock. A Huon Five-O men’s crew was victorious in a record time of 6 minutes and 27 seconds, followed by numerous mixed races which saw Billie’s team of five cross the line in the fastest time. 

A traditional Irish boat, a Curragh, came out for a trial. Having seen the documentary “The Camino Voyage” where a group of men rowed a similar vessel from Ireland to Spain, many took on the challenge to understand the rowing dynamics involved, which proved to be fun but a little tricky. 

As tension mounted with the wind conditions, the sailors prepared their craft for the Rat (Island) Race. The Iain Oughtred-designed Grebes plus other Living Boat Trust vessels had high credentials, as did the crews. The wind dropped and so did the tactics. All of the entries rowed across the finish line to hoots and cheers from the shore. Kevin Robson was the new Rat Race gold medallist.

There were awards and speeches, there were laughs, there were highs (the BBQ) and lows (the weather) – even some controversies. A perfect mix for the community Swiftsure Regatta in 2019 – mark it in the diary for 2020. 

And thanks to Kate for the BBQ!' 


Pics from Jane, Pip Stevenson and Deb van Velsen