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?

About Phil Yeomans
Phil grew up sailing on Pittwater (north of Sydney) racing in many classes over the years including Manly Juniors, Lasers, 5.5’s, 505’s, several trailer Yachts, E22’s, 1/2 and 1 Tonners, A10m, Sydney 38’s and more. Phil is well known for his knowledge of boats, having built several classes and has a freaky ability to recognise boats and designs. Phil is a National Race Official (Yachting Australia) and is the Principal Race Officer at Middle Harbour Yacht Club.

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