121 Years Old And Still A Winner

  • August 29, 2016
Bronzewing and Serenity taken in race three of the Winter Series. Photo Peter Campbell

Bronzewing and Serenity taken in race three of the Winter Series. Photo Peter Campbell


Bronzewing, coming up to the 121st anniversary of her launching in 1895, today won the final race for Division 3 of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s Winter Series on the River Derwent.

Skippered by Derek Adams, the latest in a long line of owners and restorers of the classic sloop, Bronzewing finished second across the line and first on corrected time, which gave her second place overall to Nigel Johnston’s Ingenue.

Bronzewing, as she has always been named, was launched on the River Tamar on September 28, 1895, built of Huon pine by the famous Launceston boat-builder Ned Jack. She was a replica of the English yacht Challenger, a successful Thames River One Rater.

Among her owners was the late Jim Hickman who bought Bronzewing in 1952 and raced her successfully for the next 40 years. His son, the late Roger Hickman, sailed her on the Derwent as a teenager.

Owner Adams describes Bronzewing as being “like grandpa’s axe…over the years she has undergone many changes to her original hull…with her narrow hull she just knifes through the water…she is brilliant going to windward.”

Bronzewing originally was built with a centreboard, her overall length being 28 ft 6in, a waterline length of 17ft 6in and a beam of 5ft 8in. Archives record that about 1930, the then owner had the yacht cut in half and a new mid-section to lengthen her to 35 feet. She was also given a fixed keel and a new Marconi rig.

In today’s race, Ingenue finished overall winner of Division 3 with a net 5 points, Bronzewing on 9 points, taking second place on a countback from Serenity (Graham Hall).

Today’s final RYCT/James Boag Winter Series race was sailed in a 10-12 knot south-westerly breeze, with several fresher gusts, an unusual winter’s breeze on the Derwent. The windward mark was set off Wrest Point, the leeward across the river off Kangaroo Point.

Overall first place in the Winter Series for Division 2 went to Graeme Wood’s Wot’s Next, but the Sydney 47 was unable to maintain her unbeaten record, today placing equal fifth on corrected time.

Wot’s Next finished with a net 8.5 points, second place going to Young Lion (Steve Chau) on 11 points and Footloose (Stewart Geeves) on 13 points.
Winner of the final race for Division 2 was Wildfire, skippered by David Berechree, second place going to Young Lion, with Ciao Baby II (Gary Cripps) a close third – just six seconds back on corrected time.
Only one boat, Piste, ventured forth in Division 1 for SB20s. Overall winner of the series was Big Ted (Alice Grubb and Tom Stearnes).


Wot’s Next leading in a RYCT Winter Series race. Photo Peter Campbell


Peter Campbell