Derwent Sailing Squadron opens $6.5m marina extension

DSS Marina

The Derwent Sailing Squadron today officially opened Tasmania’s largest and most technically advanced floating marina, built on the western shores of the River Derwent at Sandy Bay.

The Governor of Tasmania, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AM, named the $6.5 million upgrade the Roy Barkas Marina Extension, in honour of the driving force of the project, DSS committee member Roy Barkas.

The extension has doubled the club’s total marina capacity to 270 berths, including berths large enough for the biggest yachts competing in ocean races to Hobart.

The marina extension is welcome news for boat owners in the south-east of Tasmania where marina occupancy has been at capacity for the past five years. With this in mind, many boat owners have already opted for long-term berth contracts of 10, 20 and even 40 years in the new marina. 

The design and construction of the $6.5m extension has also provided a welcome injection of cash for local firms. Local marine engineering consultants, Burbury Consulting, won the design contract, whilst global marine firm, Bellingham Marine, led the overall construction, using local Tasmanian firm, Tas Marine Construction, as sub-contractors. Tas Marine Construction also won a separate contract to construct the required seawall. Local firms, Professional Plumbing and Innovative Electrical, have carried out all plumbing and electrical work.

Many of the Derwent Sailing Squadron’s 800-strong membership attended the official opening on a perfect autumn day, also enjoying a barbeque on the lawns that run down to the river.

From its humble beginnings in 1906, the Derwent Sailing Squadron, more commonly known as the DSS, has grown to become one of Tasmania’s  premier yacht clubs, with an 800-stong membership base, many of whom berth their boats in the Club’s marina, its capacity doubled as a result of the Roy Barkas Marina Extension.

Situated in a magical spot on the banks of Hobart’s River Derwent, next to Wrest Point Casino and opposite the University of Tasmania, the Club’s location is really second to none.

The DSS is best known for its sailing program, which features internationally renowned events such as the Pipeopener Series, Melbourne to HobartLaunceston to Hobart and King of the Derwent Races, as well as a full schedule of summer and winter racing for keelboats and dinghies.

In January 2018 the DSS will join with the neighbouring Royal Yacht of Tasmania in conducting the World Championship for the SB20 sports boat class, with an international fleet of more than one hundred boats expected to compete.

The DSS is also home to a growing contingent of cruising enthusiasts, who delight in being able to explore the hundreds of nautical miles of surrounding sheltered waterways. The club makes an ideal starting point from which to explore popular locations along the River Derwent, D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Frederick Henry Bay, Wedge Bay and Safety Cove, all of which are within a day’s leisurely cruising of the club’s marina.

From Frederick Henry Bay, the magnificent Tasmanian East Coast is accessible via the Denison Canal, or for the more adventurous, around Tasman Island.

For experienced sailors, the world-renowned natural wilderness of Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour – which lie within the Port Davey Marine Reserve and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area – provides an unforgettable destination for an extended cruise.

With it’s friendly and welcoming membership body, combined with its packed calendar of racing and cruising events, expansive marina, smoothly operated boatyard, vibrant sailing school, refurbished bar, dining room and outdoor barbecue area, it is easy to see why the Derwent Sailing Squadron is a hive of activity for young and old, new and experienced sailors alike.

– Peter Campbell

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