Back to normal, sort of

Last weekend was the first sailing regatta for me as a race official in many months. Like plenty of sailors, no one’s been near their yachts for probably 6 months. For me it was out on the water with the Farr40s, a fleet of seven for the weekend after several have been sold and two of the new are yet to settle crew lists.  There was a scattered array of well known champion sailors including,  Nathan Wilmot, Tom Burton and Will Ryan, all Olympic medallists bringing their talents and experience to the fleet.

Race start offshore Saturday

We headed offshore on Saturday where the NorEaster had come in early, greeting us with a steady 16-19 knots. The seaway however was something different, there was a good cross swell which made it hard to keep your balance, all the start team having issues just hanging on .  We got in 4 good races, two laps with about 1nm windward works.

Good swell offshore on Saturday

Consistency was the name of the game and the Victorian owned Nutcracker with stand-in helm Ray Roberts assisted by Nathan Wilmot as tactician, won three of the four.  There was a mixed crew of locals including one non sailing Farr40 owner Jason King /Solimar providing some guidance on trim.  Covid19 not allowing the Victorians to leave  Melbourne and come to Sydney to sail.  At the end of the day, the other Victorian owned boat, Double Black with their own mixed crew and ring in skipper Mal Parker lay in second.

Inshore start Sunday

On Sunday we were back inshore and I brought the start time forward with the hopes of getting a couple of races in prior to the forecast wind change. We started Race5 in a 8knot Westerly and  100m from the finish of the two lap course, the wind went  180 degrees to the east catching the leaders out and allowing the boats behind time to get jibs up and spinnakers down, close finish that one.  We ran another 3 one lap races in the Easterly of about 5-8knots and minimal swell, thankfully for us on the Start boat after the rolling of the day before.  So we got in all 8 scheduled races, certainly in two very different conditions.

Smooth water Sunday

This time the tables were turned and Double Blacks made up crew took the days honours, whilst Nutcracker took the overall by 4 points. Well done to both Victorian owners for allowing their boats to be sailed by ring in crews. The last race initially started with a General Recall, so we brought out  ‘U’ /RRS 30.3 for the re start which caught out three competitors who pushed it a little too far.  I’ve been starting the Farr40 Sydney fleet since 2013, so many of the competitors, both crews and boats are quite familiar and with a small fleet easily recognisable on the start line.

Sailing towards North Heads out of control bushfire

For now it’s back to work in these difficult times, hopefully we can all safely get out on the water and travel interstate again. Certainly something that I know I miss.

4hr scenic tour

Last Sunday I dropped the DeckHardware RIB Cadence in the water at Bayview.  It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time now, go for a tour around Pittwater and have a look back in time at the water in which I learnt to sail. The RIB of course was the perfect boat to do it in. I’m lucky that it’s now all set up that it’s easy to launch and retrieve singlehanded.

I started off by going anti-clockwise, first up into the upper reaches of Newport an area that was pretty much mangroves in the 50’s and early 60’s mucking about as a kid.  As time has gone on, all of it is now fully developed with many a home and wharf building out the land and the water.  I can remember picking up my first Manly Junior crew by boat as he lived on the opposite side, it was either that or  a pushbike for him. Continuing around and remembering the old  Newport pub, where our parents would be inside whilst we played on the carousel, that’s now a multi story carpark rather than the drive through to the bottle shop.

Then into Crystal Bay, where again it was all mangroves where kids could run amuck  and we did!  However this time it was stopping to say Hi to a couple of old salts, one on  the end of his jetty and the other in the cockpit of his lovely yacht. It was good to stop and say an all but brief ‘G’day’ to Hugh  Treharne and Ken Beashel, both legends of the sport of Sailing and certainly don’t need any introduction. Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has certainly grown and changed with the times, as kids we used to climb the trees where the main clubhouse now is. One boat spotted on the marina was Patsy a Swanson37 that I did my first Mooloolaba race on in ’81. Still in the Yaffe family ownership, Daniel who I sailed with for a number of years was on board with his family and about to head out for the day. It was good to catch up.

The major change to Pittwater over the decades is the sheer number of boats on  moorings, the area that we leant to sail on in the 60s is full.

Heading north past Salt Pan Cove, and on a mooring  was a rather familiar Adams10. Yet more memories although they’ve made many changes to what I thought was the best A10 deck layout.  Then into Clareville and there was the old Swanson42 Tawarri,  as a teenager I did a RSYS Cruise on board with the Lewis family, spending a week aboard racing offshore and up to the lake.

Up to Barrenjoey and across to the western side brought more memories of camping at Resolute Beach with our Manly Juniors and walking up to West Head. Then on into  Coasters Retreat or  the Basin as many know it and more camping  and overnight memories.

Then it was around the corner of Longnose Point and into Towlers Bay. There’s a lovely beach on  the Northern side where we spent a week with the girls on Indulgence after a Coffs Harbour Race one January. We literally had it to ourselves but the other day it was packed , times have changed.  Next up was Lovetts Bay and then Elvina Bay, where there was once  plenty of bush and now there’s houses right round both bays. Still going at 4knots [the speed limit] and heading up McCarrs Creek, for a change [not] the water was full of ‘jelly blubbers’. The constant thud of hitting them with a centreboard, didn’t matter what I was sailing. Another boat that I was surprised to see, was a little Primaat called Tainui. Tainui was built by Bill Burrows, an old sailing foe of my Dads. Many a JOG race was had against her in the 60s. Bill also made the mast for my fathers first yacht  Temeraire, so there’s the connection.

I finished up my tour of Pittwater by going past Church Point and Bayview, looking at where we used to live and how things have changed. Surprisingly the houses are still there, they haven’t been updated. Only the addition of solar panels to Church Point was noticeable, but Bayview is still the same colour some 5 decades later. It was a great day, something I’d been wanting to do for some time.

Next up however, it’s back on the MHYC start boat and running a regatta for the  Sydney Farr40 Fleet this coming weekend.

More of the same

That’ll be back on the water and back on the road interstate.

January wrapped up with the Australia Day long weekend and officiating racing for the Adams 10s at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. It was a reasonable weekend weather wise, with a bit of everything, the best day being Sunday with four short races from Middle Head up to Little Manly. It’s a good track in a NorEaster and especially when the ferries aren’t running for a few hours. I had a call from Phil Barnett who captains one, letting me know that due to the festivities at Circular Quay and under the bridge, they had a break for a few hours. Nice.

Sometimes there's a breakaway leader

Sometimes there’s a breakaway leader, MH118 with a nice lead

Racing wise, it was all about the Lake Macquarie boat Backchat, winning four of the eight races. The minor placings were keenly fought with L2, Dilemma and Powderhulk finishing in that order. It was also great to see Extender/SSV/Animus/Mad Max racing again. Now known as Organised Chaos and sailing on Pittwater, the only timber seater in the fleet gave a few a run for their money even winning one of the races.

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Day one race start

Then it was back on the road, south. Initially a day trip south of Sydney and into the recent bushfire zones. It’s certainly something else going from green bushland to burnt black and tree trunks only. There was however quite a few thank you signs for the Firies. It’ll be many years before life returns to ‘normal’.

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Southern NSW January 2020 and bushfires devastated many.

I then headed south to Melbourne with my first stop at Geelong for the NACRA/49er/FX Worlds, catching up with a few of the Aussies involved and assisting the local chandlery who had a stall at the club. Then it was over to Sandringham for the Laser/ILCA Worlds and catching up again with a few of the Aussies competing. DeckHardware has been supporting the Australian Sailing Team from just after the 2008 Olympic games and a few of the team over the years have become good friends. So I tried to give a little moral support as well as product and technical support. Whilst I cut this trip short and didn’t catch up and see everyone I wanted to, I’m sure that there’ll be another trip south at some stage this year.

Coming up is the Farr40 States at MHYC followed by the SailGP the following weekend. I quietly saw one of the AC45s a while back, so I look forward to seeing the F50s out on the harbour. I hope that they have breeze this time though. Then I’m back to Geelong for their Wooden Boat Show where we’ll have a range of LIROS on display with the Wooden Boatshop. Unfortunately this coincides with the MHYC Sydney Harbour Regatta, so no race management that weekend.

Welcome to 2020

2019 finished off for me and many others with the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, for over a decade now I’ve been fortunate to head a MHYC team running the second start line. This time , the 75th running of the race south, we had four lines with the CYCA on the front, MHYC on the second, RPAYC on the third and RSYS on the fourth. Each year, my friends know that I try to bring someone who hasn’t experienced the opportunity, to come along and be part of the team. This year I extended an invitation to Peter Tinworth from Middle Harbour 16s who thoroughly enjoyed the day on Sydney Harbour watching the yachts head south, so much so that as he put it -” I can’t watch the start from anywhere else after this, you’ve spoilt me”. I think that means he wants to come back.

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Boxing Day, spectators and officials alike waiting for the Rolex Sydney Hobart start.

It was great to have all four lines with a clear start as we’ve had a few try to start early recently. Getting the anchor up and clearing the way for the entrants behind is always a priority. Our line is not a mark of the course for them and it doubles up to get going and see everyone heading offshore. It’s certainly interesting for those non competing sailors to follow the weather and the tracker to plot a reasonable course, something you couldn’t do last century.

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Pre-start maneuvers within the exclusion zone

Next up was the 16′ Skiffs at Soldiers Point Port Stephens, where DeckHardware was representing Allen Sailing and LIROS Ropes as sponsors. I was only there for the first weekend, whilst Melissa stayed for the week and took out the media on the RIB each day. It certainly was exciting watching up till the last couple of metres of the last race, with overall being decided on a countback. One mistake and you could easily lose up to ten places very quickly, it was hard work to get them back too. Everyone had their own races right through the fleet.

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DeckHardware van and RIB at Port Stephens

Melissa had a 36hr turnaround and is now up at RQYS in Brisbane where again she is representing DeckHardware on behalf of Allen Sailing as the title sponsor of the Flying Elevens. Whilst she’s done the trip a few times now, this was the first towing the RIB all the way, she made good time too. Following the Flying Elevens, she took a detour home via Noosa to see one of her old crew from Animus days.

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Heavy weather start

This weekend I spent the weekend again with the Farr40s, their prelude event prior to the States in February. Saturday was hard, there’s no other way of putting it. With a 20-25knot Southerly with rain at times and a good southerly swell it made for some good rides and wipe outs as well. We started with 8 of the 10 entries for race one and at the finish of race 3 had 3 1/2 finish. The fourth finished under mainsail only although not that far behind the others. Jeff Carters team Edake won all three races showing some great boat handling.

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Towing in the second gate mark on Saturday

Sundays racing however was a lot better, we got in two races in a nice southerly with a little shift left before the last two in a nice soueaster, both in a nice 8-10knots and flat seas south of Sow & Pigs Reef. Father and Son, Tom and Allan Quicks team Outlaw duelled with Edake for the honours overall. Edake winning by virtue of winning the last race, taking the regatta win. Double Black from Sandringham Yacht Club in Victoria were third for the weekend.

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Good Form from Newcastle nailing the pin end start

This coming weekend will see me out on the water with the Adams10s again at Middle Harbour Yacht Club for the three days of the Australia Day festivities. More of the same as Sunday hopefully, may be a NorEaster?

Farr40 Jan 2020 Clear start

Good Form, right on the pin

A new boat, regattas and more

A new boat, regattas and more

So the 19/20 Summer season started off for me officiating with a Farr40 regatta, since then we’ve had another. I’ve always enjoyed officiating for the Farr40s, they have a group of enthusiastic owners who enjoy their sailing, added to this they are very social as well and their dock parties at MHYC after days sailing reflect this. Their association secretary, Jen Hughes rounds them all up and tries to keep them all sorted both on and off the water taking photos and arranging the pizzas and beers.

Farr40s offshore

Off the beaches of Freshwater and Curl Curl, wind and flat water

My next weekend on the water was down at Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. Something a little different this time but I had done a few years back, running the ACT Dinghy Championships with some 70 boats across 8 divisions. A mix of Sharpies, Flying Fifteens, Lasers, Sabres with a few solo entries like an Impulse and RS100. Terry Peak ably looked after the Sailability and Optimists on another section of the lake.

Sailing in Canberra

Weather was like this for the two days whilst on the water.

The Wind Gods looked after us and we are able to get in two days of racing on a trapezoid course in 10-15knots of westerly with the odd bullet coming through causing a capsize or three [dozen]. I was assisted by the Canberra start team and one even called me the ‘wind whisperer’ as he hadn’t had such an easy regatta wind wise on the lake before. The wind came in on both days just prior to heading out and cut off not long after the last finisher. We had minimal delays and everyone knows that on LBG it’s not uncommon to have boats working and running on the same leg of the course, the joys of inland waterways.

A the end of the day

It was like this on both days once racing had finished.

In amongst all of this, there’s a new boat in the family. For sometime Melissa has thought about having a RIB enabling her to go to various clubs and regattas to take some photos and support DeckHardware ambassadors. We started looking at second hand 5m and ended up with a brand new 6.5m RIB with all the extras required. I’ll also be able to use it at the various country regattas I attend. In order to tow it around, it’s necessitated two new vehicles, a van for me and a larger car for towing. This has been paid for out of Robyn’s inheritance and the sale of her family home.

On the RIB, on the harbour

I can’t remember a time going under the bridge by powerboat, I’ve always sailed.

Last weekend, I spent some time in the new RIB watching the 16’er States up the harbour, something a little different. They had a great NorEaster for two races on Saturday and a Southerly came through for the single race on Sunday. Good racing for the 40 odd boats in an otherwise very crowded area, although after a leg or so most were spread out, especially with a few capsizes.

Rounding Cockatoo Island

Hazards of racing on the upper harbour, the race 3, 1st mark  leader TED cutting it fine. Eventual winner with Orange spinnaker, IMEI.

16's sailing up the harbour

Some of the 16s fleet on Sunday

Having not had a trailerable boat since the early 80s when Mel was a baby, it’s all about getting in the queue at the ramp both in and out. I’m getting better at organising at home first so it’s not mucking about wasting time prior to launching. The facilities are far better now with floating pontoons to tie up to once launched and whilst the car and trailer are parked. So far so good, the electric winch works a treat too, no winding!

 

Mel’s gone to METS in Amsterdam this week to meet up with many of our suppliers. Around this time of year they release new products and catalogues and it’s the opportunity to meet in person with the people at the other end of an email or phone line. It’s a busy week for her with scheduled meetings over the three days of the show. I know that when I’ve been, almost the best part is the sleep on the plane home!

Been a while but.. [part two]

Shortly after returning from driving down south, I was in the air for a couple of days in Perth.  I’d planned on just three rather full days seeing as many DeckHardware customers as I could. I started off heading down to Australind and Bunbury a couple of hours drive south of Perth and then working my way back to where I was staying in Fremantle. It was a busy day driving several hundred kilometers, having arrived the previous night, but it was good to see some of the customers there and to show some of the new product range.

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Fremantle Bridges over the Swan River at night

 

That evening however changed everything. I’d gone to bed early to catch up on some sleep to be awoken by a call from the Fremantle Police. A couple of local youths had gone on a rampage in the area and I was one of the victims. They’d smashed the passenger window of the hire car and stolen my little red lunchbox containing my business cards. These were found in the backpack of one of the youth cornered by the dog squad. Evidence! Unfortunately, I had to wait till lunchtime for the Forensic fellow to do his job, then it was in to Perth CBD to swap over for another vehicle. So I lost a full day’s work.

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Broken side mirror and window

 

Friday in Western Australia was pretty full on and naturally I didn’t get to see as many as I normally would have. Saturday morning however, I was given the opportunity to go out on the Fremantle Sailing Club start boat for the first Offshore race start of the season. As a National race officer, it’s always good to see how others do it, you always pick up on something. Yes I did pick up a treat and those who report in to my start team this season may have a little surprise. The conditions however were not to anyone’s liking with barely a ripple on the water at start time. It did slowly build and the leaders were able to be finished before sunset. I had one more stop before heading to the airport mid afternoon and returning home for a day on the water Sunday. Thanks must go again go to Paul and Sarah for providing the home to come back to each evening, they’ve been wonderful hosts over the years.

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Freo pin boat heading out with the start boat

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Slow start, some of the boats ahead started 15 minutes earlier!

Normally I get the bus in to Mascot, however this time I’d driven in due to the late evening arrival. Downer number 2 for the trip – a flat battery and a wait for the NRMA who unfortunately for me had a busy evening.

2019-09-15 12.00.55

Farr40 offshore start Sunday

 

So after a few hours sleep it was back to Middle Harbour Yacht Club and a day of racing with the Farr40s. They’d raced with the offshore boats the day before and the schedule was for a few races inshore on Sunday. Unfortunately the lack of breeze followed me from the day before. Hanging around the heads looking for something, we noticed some wind offshore, so a course was set. Again the conditions were not to our liking and the first race was abandoned. Moving back inshore looking for something we were able to run a couple of quick races to round out their weekend. Perhaps, we should have stayed inshore, but at least we gave it a go.

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Back in the harbour with wind on Sunday

 

 

So that’s now the start of the summer of sailing 2019/2020.

Been a while, but [part one]

I hit the road again not long after going to South Australia. This time to south to Victoria for a week or so. First up was a stop to Canberra. I’ll be running the ACT Dinghy Championships in early November, so it was good to see Steve and his team and sort out a few things. Whilst there of course, it was an opportunity to run through some of the new product lines recently added to the DeckHardware range. Being a Saturday morning there were also a few boat owners working on their boats going through pre season checks. They too joined in looking at the DeckHardware range.

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Saturday afternoon sea breeze on Wallagoot

Being a Saturday afternoon and driving south via the coast, I dropped by Wallagoot Lake Boat Club. Whilst there was no one around, someone had thrown a rock through a glass window upstairs. I rang one of the members and let him know, the call was naturally appreciated and a makeshift repair was arranged.

Heading further south on Sunday into Paynesville, again a caught up with a few there and a little gossip. Ironically it was on the highway just north that I crossed paths with a mate towing his fishing runabout, the people you see on the road. Usually when I visit Melbourne, I work my way around Port Phillip Bay anti-clockwise. For something different, I did the rounds clockwise starting in Geelong and Queenscliff.

Seeing a range of DeckHardware customers kept me busy until Wednesday lunchtime when the heavens opened, it bucketed down. I headed to Sandringham Yacht Club to meet up with a few there and it was surprising to see some boats heading out to do the Wednesday race, Chris made the comment that you needed a navigator to sail the course. We had trouble seeing them through the rain! Ironically there were more in the clubhouse than out on the water, dryer too.

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Marina at Westernport Hastings

Working my way around the bay, I again was fortunate to stay with my old skipper John Eyles who’s ‘retired’ to Safety Bay. John of course has got himself involved in the local sailing club at Martha Cove, so it was off to the clubhouse for the Thursday evening after work drinks. There’s a good bunch there at this fledgling club, plenty of miles between them all. As a reminder of what Melbourne weather is like, on Friday morning on leaving John and Sharons, there was ice on my windscreen, not the usual dew! I finished up late Friday afternoon and headed out of Melbourne. A full week with only a few hours lost to the weather. I just wish that some of it had hit those who need it most.

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Timber Dragon in re-build near Hastings

Again I drove the coast road north, heading back to Great Lakes Yacht Club, however there was no one around, so back on the road to Wallagoot. When I spoke to Rob the previous Saturday, he mentioned a club meeting Sunday morning. As I run their annual regatta, it was an opportunity to catch up and have a chat about the upcoming season. At the same time, Carl Webster from Australian Sailing came to present a club race officer course so it was a chance to see how he presented it too. Also the member maintenance team replaced the broken glass pane I had reported the week before. A busy day at a great little club, unfortunately with a good seabreeze for the second weekend, there was no one heading out for a sail. That’ll come soon enough.

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Sunrise over Lake Wellington at Marlay Point.

Wallagoot Lake 2019

Last weekend saw my now annual trip south to Wallagoot Lake for their annual regatta. This was my 4th time they’ve asked me to be the Race Officer and this year saw the NSW Sabre class include this event as their State Titles for the second time. The class have indeed made the decision to make this event at Wallagoot a fixture on their calendar. This year also saw an influx of Sabre sailors from Victoria for the first time and the locals are hoping that some of their knowledge will be passed on after the first six placings were held by those who came north.

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Sunset view from the clubhouse of a lone pelican

It’s normally a six hour drive south, however as is the norm these days there’s always someone to stuff the road system getting out of Sydney and it took me nearly ninety minutes longer due to an incident in one of the tunnels heading down the Hume Highway. This backed everything up to the harbour tunnel making it a crawl, something I’d hate to do on a daily basis. Instead I took the coast road and it made the trip just that bit easier once past Botany Bay. I came home via the inland and had a good run especially up Brown Mountain, part of the Great Dividing Range.

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Sabre fleet working to windward

Saturday morning was more of the same that I’ve experienced before at Wallagoot, the land breeze fades out, giving in to the seabreeze, this time with a bit of south in it. We got in the first race an hour late, then a break for lunch and at 1500 got in two more races in a nice 5-8knot seabreeze. A good day on the water for all.

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Saturday afternoon

Sunday morning saw more of the same with a dying land breeze and the seabreeze struggling to come in and even though we only had two races to run, the seabreeze only allowed one for the rest of the divisions.  We just got in the fifth race for the Sabres shortening them after the first triangle.

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Hurry up and wait, we had a bit of this. The Pacific Ocean is just over the hill and you can hear the surf at night.

In checking the weather up and down the coast, it was interesting to note that the Farr40s on Sydney Harbour were also postponed due to lack of wind over the weekend.

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With over fifty entries this was the largest fleet at Wallagoot for quite some time and those coming for the first time all expressed that they’ll be back. With the candlelight dinner on Saturday evening and live music from a local NS14 sailor, why wouldn’t you put this on your calendar.

Jindabyne moved

In previous years the annual Snowy Mountains Regatta was held in late February, however Lake Jindabyne Sailing Club had several clashes at that time of year, so a move was on. Bringing it forward to pre-Christmas was the go, I was able to fit it in then too.  Returning again for another stint as the regatta race officer is always a joy, I thoroughly enjoy the country hospitality too.

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Coming ashore Friday evening

 

Again as in previous years, I’ve left Sydney around lunchtime and headed south, although this time I had a quick stop at Woolwich Dock to drop off some PROtect Tape for the 100’er Infotrack. Luckily once out of the horror metropolitan city traffic it was a good run and whilst I missed the start of the Friday evening race, I was there in time for the team to come and pick me up off the beach for the finish. They had a great evening sail with just enough to make it pleasant. The club locals then put on the usual great spread for dinner, finishing with a couple of rather large pavlovas!

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Whilst we programmed for 4 divisions, Multi’s, trailerable, dinghies and Lasers, we only had the one competitive trailer yacht, an Elliot7 who we put in with the mixed dinghies. I’d been talking about this regatta to a couple of close friends, James and Marita who talked a couple of their friends Steve and Paul in to coming to Jindabyne. I know it’s a long haul from Sydney but it’s a great country regatta and hopefully we can attract more again next year. We’ve had all sort of mixed trailerables from VX1’s to Flying Fifteens in the past.

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Good fleet of Multihulls

 

 

Saturday dawned with a typical local glassout but the forecast looked good and it was, for one race. Again it was good to have boat driver and Sabre sailor Ross and the Lake Jindabyne Sailing Club RO John with me on the start boat, the three of us have done this for a few years now. We shortened up the Multihulls so we could get another race away, however with only Brett White’s 20′ carbon flyer remotely looking like finishing it was time to abandon and go ashore. Hurry up and wait was the order of the day and in the end it was ‘beeroclock’. Given that the temperature was in the 30’s, everyone was quite happy on that call. One thing about sailing in Jindabyne, the water is fresh and drinkable.

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Laser start

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Saturday afternoon glassout

 

Sunday started as a followup to the day before until the breeze arrived out of the east. It was fantastic to get two good races in, around 10-15 knots of wind. Plenty of laughter as the tail finished the second race screaming downhill in a huge squirt. The 14 strong fleet of Lasers especially made it hard work for Ross and John to keep up with the pencilling, luckily I had my tape running and John was able to work off that, forward – rewind – forward – rewind..

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Sundays breeze 

 

 

And then as they say, it all happened. A large nasty black cloud appeared and then dumped some heavy rain on us, the breeze rotated right 90degrees and upped the ante to over 20knots. Many sailors sheltered in a little cove on the side of the lake, smart, better than sailing around. In the end I decided that it was AP over A, too hard for some of the younger sailors to stay upright and the older ones too enjoyed a little relief. Typically as Ross pointed out, the front went through and the wind died completely resulting in us becoming a towboat, towing competitors home.

2018-12-09 12.04.55

 

The breeze however stayed calm as the Sun came out, so at least it was nice for the regatta presentations. One of the lighter comments that afternoon was from MG/NS14 sailor Tony Hastings from Wallagoot Lake, I asked him why he was taking so long to unrig preferring a beer instead. His reply? “Hey, the boat’s got a good wash, waiting for it to dry!’ Thoughts of a saltwater sailing in fresh, brilliant. Another competitor hadn’t sailed there for a few decades, he said he’d be back next year not leaving it too long. I hopefully will be back too, unlike some dams like Keepit there’s plenty of fresh water for sailing.

And this appeared on the club notice board, courtesy of John Byrne. I’m yet to work out what I have.

2018-12-09 13.58.50

 

 

 

Just a quick trip south

Last week I spent a few days south. First up on Saturday morning, was a quick stop in Canberra then across to the coast where I stopped by Wallagoot Lake Boat Club. They were just finishing their days racing and a few of them were pleasantly surprised to see me. One thought I was an apparition! It was good to see them again as many have become good friends in my time officiating their annual regatta. They were quite pleased to show me their new start/rescue/mark laying boat, a new alloy runabout with more room in the bow for buoys. They were yet to set it up fully and were keen on my input. I’ll be back again for their annual regatta later in the season which again incorporates the NSW State Sabre titles.

Wallagoot Lake

Heading further south down the coast, the next stop was Paynesville, where again I surprised a few at the club by turning up. It was the first race of the season for them and I enjoyed wandering around chatting with those who remembered my DeckHardware product talk last season. After a couple of hours break, it was back on the road and heading to Port Phillip Bay.

2018-10-14 13.02.57

I spent the next couple of days driving anti-clockwise around Port Phillip, starting at Sorrento and finishing off at Geelong and Queenscliff before heading home. It’s always good to catch up and have dinner with friends and in this case it was Marty and Sue Sly, legends for their boatwork in Melbourne. It’s nice to catch up on all the gossip around the traps after hours when you have a bit more time on your hands. Whilst I didn’t have the time to see every one this time around, hopefully I’ll make it up on the next trip.

Again it was nice to see Vicroads updating the rest areas and the facilities on the Hume, however like NSW Roads and Maritime, there’s a great expanse of new tar and concrete but no shelter from the Sun or rain. Like the Pacific Highway in northern NSW, all the trees that provided some sort of relief in the past have been removed. I guess those that those who design these rest areas don’t use them.

Clear start

This weekend past, I spent another couple of days officiating the local Farr40 fleet for their monthly regatta, only six boats this time but again the racing was close. Tom Quick’s Outlaw was the eventual winner with tactician David Chapman bringing his father Richard and uncle Bob Wilmot out of hiding to assist. It’s always enjoyable working with the Farr40s, they are a great bunch of very keen and experienced sailors and those who volunteer to assist me on the start boat always go away having learnt something.  We had a great day offshore on Saturday with a 10-12knot NorEaster and a reasonably flat sea and on Sunday in the harbour despite the forecasts, we had another great 12-14knots from the South East. Sunday was the shiftiest breeze inshore I’ve seen for a while, there was no pattern to it, but the shifts were all over the place from 150* to 200*, those that worked them made the most. Very testing.