REGATTAS - Century-old Weene ready for historic race

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175th Australia Day Regatta, Sydney Harbour, Jan 26

REGATTAS - Century-old Weene ready for historic race
REGATTAS — Century-old <I>Weene</I> ready for historic race

One Australia’s oldest yachts still actively racing, the 36ft Weene, will compete in the historic 175th Australia Day Regatta, Sydney Harbour on January 26.

She will be among a large fleet of wooden yachts, many gaff-rigged, which will contest a special Classic Yachts division to mark the 175th Australia Day Regatta, the world’s oldest continuously conducted sailing regatta.

Weene was the first of seven Tasmanian One Design classs yachts built in Hobart to a US design published in The Rudder magazine of February 1902 and modified by Tasmanian yacht designer Alf Blore to suit local boatbuilding methods and sailing conditions.
All seven boats still exist.

Owned and raced successfully by the well-known Batt family in Hobart for some 52 years, Weene turned 100 years of age in October last year.

The highly successful and beautiful classic wooden yacht was inducted into the Australian Register of Historic Vessels at the annual Classic and Wooden Boat Festival at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Current owner, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club member and antique restorer Ben Stoner, regularly competes in the SASC Classic Yachts division and regattas on Sydney Harbour.

Weene is still on the register of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania as well as the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and carries the sail number RYCT 1 in place of her original sail number of A1 in deference to the famous ‘Amateur’s’ yacht Ranger, which also has A1 as its sail number.

Ranger, skippered by octogenarian Bill Gale, will be among a large fleet of Ranger class yachts also competing in the Classic Yachts division of the Australia Day Regatta.

During her ownership in Hobart by the Batt family, Weene was "perhaps the best-known boat on the Derwent" according to contemporary reports. Among her wins were the Lipton Cup, the North v South Cup, the John Colvin Cup and the historic Bruny Island Race, twice.

Weene and her younger sister ship Gannet, now owned by Martin Cox who plans to bring this boat back to Hobart this year, were showpieces at the Classic and Wooden Boat Festival, berthed alongside each other.

The Classic Yachts division will sail a special course on the Harbour on Australia Day with a post-race gathering of the fleet at the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club in Mosman Bay. — Peter Campbell

Photo: The striking wooden yacht Weene at 100 is still an active racing yacht… classic divisions, of course.


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