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Tassie youth set to shake up Festival of Sails

AN all-Tasmanian crew of skippers, including Derwent Sailing Squadron (DSS) general manager Shaun Tiedemann and son Sam, will be heading off to Geelong, Victoria this month to compete against some of Australia’s top racing yachts in the grand prix racing division at the Festival of Sails.

The largest annual keel boat regatta in the southern hemisphere, the four-day event, to be held from 21-24 January 2017, attracts more than 3000 yacht entries and competitors every year.

Sailing on board Shaun’s modified Sydney 36cr, Philosopher, with 20-year-old Sam at the helm, the DSS crew will battle it out in the Passage Race from Melbourne to Geelong in the youth team category.

Philosopher has enjoyed a successful start to the year, being named “King of the Derwent” after winning the IRC handicap category of the National Pies King of the Derwent (KOD) regatta in Hobart earlier this month.

The competition saw a fleet of 41 Sydney Hobart, Melbourne to Hobart and Launceston to Hobart and local harbour racing yachts contest the KOD – 15 in the major IRC rating category.

While he has never competed at the Festival of Sails, Shaun said he and the crew were looking forward to “having a crack” at the event.

“I know the regatta well after seven years at the DSS. It’s been highly recommended by the Bellerive Yacht Club commodore, Graeme Mansfield, plus we’ve got a few members here who have done the regatta,” he said.

“I am looking forward to the festival as the boat is going very well racing out of Hobart – it is really well sailed.”

The first skipper aged 25-years or under with a majority crew aged under 25-years to cross the line in the Passage Race on Saturday 21 January will be awarded the Gill Australia under-25 trophy.

Other Rating Series entries include a second DSS club boat, Absolut (Richard Gates) and Sam Haynes’ TP52 Celestial out of Sydney.

Caption: Champion yacht Philosopher will take part in the 2017 Festival of Sails in the grand prix division. Photo credit: Peter Watson.

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