420 State Titles at MHYC

Out on the water again this weekend was pretty much a joy. As Principal Race Officer at Middle Harbour Yacht Club, I get asked to run all types of events. This time it was the 420 State titles. Whilst I don’t run the centreboard division on a Sunday, this is usually left to the parents, I’m involved in most of the regattas at the club.

This one was one of the best and more enjoyable, we had a great team on the start boat, the two mark laying boats were filled with parents who knew what to do, just fantastic. We also ‘jagged’ the conditions. ‘Hughie’ obliged and provided us with pretty steady winds on both days. Saturday we got away a couple of races till the shift came through and then got away another 3 as the forecast for Sunday was bleak. As it turned out, Sundays racing started after a delay in perfect condition, the 10knot breeze only varied 5 degrees whilst the 20 boat fleet were racing. The only hickup was abandoning race three on Saturday before the finish. We had the 40 degree shift come through during the race and the smaller club start boat [ the yachts had the big one] couldn’t hold at anchor on position. Surprisingly only two competitors asked why? The rest must have agreed due to the shift.

Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to be involved again with the 420 class, they are certainly enthusiastic and a joy to work with. Here is a few photos I had the chance to take.

Next up is the start of the re vamped Sydney Mooloolabah yacht race, this time for multihulls.

So that was the weekends weather eh?

Middle Harbour Yacht Clubs race management team again backed up to run another regatta  a week after the clubs Sydney Harbour Regatta. This time it was the Melges32 National Championships. My RO offsider at the club, Steve Tucker ran three races for the class on Friday in what appeared to be a nice Noreaster. The decision was made to get in an extra race on both Friday and Saturday after viewing the forecast models for the weekend.

Saturday was yet another great day out on the harbour with the Northerly blowing around 12-14 knots, just nice. The fleet started with the usual general recall, the out going tide was a major factor here, no one had bargained on it even though it took the start boat a while to settle in. One of the things of running a fleet the calibre of the Melges32s, the Farr40s and the McConaghy38s, is the way they go about their start procedures. None of the running up and down the line like most club boats, they all work up to windward to check the shifts, come back check the line and then line up to start – text book fashion. Like the other two classes, they start from well back and are on the pace when the flags dropped. Good to watch, the class has a limit of three professional crew and it’s reflected here.

The racing was close with the Tasmanian Voodoo Chile team again making the trip north, they also did the Farr40s and MC38s. They have purchased an excellent second hand Farr40 in the USA to compete in this years World titles. They’ll be one to watch. Chris Way and his Easy Tiger team and another Tasmanian Greg Prescott with 2Unlimited gave the Voodoo Chile crew a run, these three swapped positions regularly on Saturday.

Sundays forecast almost went to plan with a light and sloppy westerly when we went out to run the final 2 races. The breeze was all over the place, shifting from 190 to 340 degrees and hardly reaching 6 knots. Along with the rest of the start team, I was also monitoring the weather, Toby on his Ipad and I had the phone going. A large storm cell appeared on the BOM radar, so I asked Kim Williams the Melges32 class president to come alongside and have a look for his thoughts. We made the decision to hoist AP over H and adjourned to the club, not knowing what was on offer. As the crews were settling down upstairs, there was a large crack of thunder literally over the marina. Those sitting nearby the start team were thankful for being ashore and inside and dry from the rain!

Following a mini meeting of myself, Kim and the top 3 competitors, it was decided to abandon racing for the day. With a time limit of 1500 for racing, it meant if we went out only one race could be held. The points in the top three wouldn’t change as a result, so I think everyone was happy for the early finish to the regatta.

Once again the core volunteer MHYC race management team of Steve, Toby, Ted, Andy and Philc did an excellent job in their assistance in this event, well done guys. Next up for us?

In a couple of weeks time in the 420 State titles.

Snowy Mountains, it’s been a while

I often make a joke on there being no Palm Trees in Hobart when some one mentions the Rolex Sydney Hobart race.  It’s an old family story that my parents took us to the snow and said ‘there it is, next time you pay for it yourself’.  We did much the same with our children, preferring to spend holidays afloat either on the boat or at regattas.

So it’s been several decades since I’d been to the Snowy Mountains. This one came about following a phone call, ‘would you like to run a race officers course in Jindabyne and then RO the Snowy Mountain two day regatta following?’. Why not?

So the DeckHardware van was loaded up and I headed to the Snowy Mountains for a couple of days. I had eleven students for the course, all were locals, pretty much the whole club bar a couple who were still overseas following the Winter Olympics. Friday morning we did the course and after booking in to the motel, I headed to Lake Jindabyne Sailing Club to check it out. We ran a Friday night twilight course using the laid marks in order to settle in the rest of the visitors as well as me! Lake Jindabyne is as big if not bigger than Belmont Bay or Botany Bay in terms of setting race courses for sailing – and it’s fresh water! I mentioned to the rest of the start team that we should take out some water, ‘we just have a drink when we capsize, the town water comes from here too’. The anchor line was quite visible going down, so yep, it’s clean.

We ran a couple of races starting at midday Saturday in winds of 8-10 knots from 120 degrees  for the 31 competitors, just nice. After an adjournment ashore and a quick briefing on a laid mark course, we had a short sprint starting just before 1700. With rain clouds beckoning, that was the preferred option by many.  Starting in reverse order this time, the small monos, trailerables and the multis starting last, we only just made it to the finish after a fuel issue on the start boat.  Then it rained, but only for 30 minutes or so as the sailors were finishing and unrigging.   All good, race 3 done.

Sunday morning was planned for one longer race, so after a 60 minute postponement, the multis got away in a nice 10-12knot breeze again from 120 degrees on a four lap course. This wasn’t to hold for long and the next two divisions as the breeze slowly dropped.   As most race officials would know, just as you move the start boat to the top mark to finish the race, it’s a race to the bottom again, this time against Hobie 20s !   I decided to shorten the race to just the triangle for all  , some just drifting across the line. AND, as per the norm, as they were sailing back in ‘Hughie’ came back in.   Not to worry, all were happy to have had a sail and whilst the results were all over the place for race 4 everyone enjoyed themselves.

I’d like to thank all involved,the hospitality shown by the  Jindabyne locals, the support of Matt Owen and his Canberra Yacht Club sailors and rescue boat team.  Country clubs are really community run with everyone chipping in.

I think I’ll be back next year – as long as there’s no snow.  Anyone else looking for somewhere different to hold a regatta should get in touch with Lake Jindabyne Sailing Club?