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.

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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.

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A busy month, nearly over for the year.

As the Australian sailing season winds down, I’ve spent four weekends in a row out on the water both days running events.

The first event was the Snowy Mountains Regatta down at Jindabyne, around 6 hours drive south of Sydney. This was the second year at Jindabyne and again the locals looked after me. We had a mixed fleet of dinghies, catamarans and trailer yachts including a good fleet of  19 Lasers, some of whom had driven down from Canberra for the weekend.014 017

Friday evenings twilight race was held in a nice 5-8 North Wester around the laid club marks and everyone finished which was nice after last years evening storm. Saturday we had a good Easterly and ran several races, good stuff. Sunday had the forecast 18-20knots Easterly and brought with it a short sharp chop on the fresh water Lake Jindabyne which made laying marks and holding anchor on the start boat difficult. The lake was made last century for the Snowy Hydro power scheme, drowning the original town so there’s a few no go areas as far as sailing and putting marks go. You may hook something harder than mud.

As the last competitors were finishing the last last, there was one young girl sailing a Laser on the last leg. She’d capsized multiple times and the last set was just short of the finish line. The rescue boat was off attending to a sinking Hobie16, so I asked the markboat to stand by her. Once the time limit expired, we came alongside to assist, she’d had enough and was starting to get cold, so we got her aboard. The only option was to jump in the water and right the Laser myself. The last time I’d sailed a Laser was a looooong time ago. After working out the vang and mainsheet were cleated off and releasing them, I had a pleasant 3 km sail back to the club. at least it was all one leg and no tacking! That’s one thing ticked off for a while, at least the water was fresh!

The next week end was the annual MHYC Sydney Harbour Regatta, so back to home base and running the Adams10m and the NSW State titles for the J70 Class. Saturday brought clear skies and finally a pleasant seabreeze of around 10knots. The main issue however was the runout tide, it was a big one. With the start boat laying across the tide and beam on the the breeze, it was a nasty day out rolling around all day.  014 015 036 054We had all sorts of issues trying to get a square start line. Sunday was far far better, the SouEaster of around 15knots was fantastic, still with a bit of tide but hey the startboat team were comfortable at least! Adams10s had their usual close racing and the J70s were shown around by my old Laser sparring mate Tony [Sir Arthur] Barnes. Sir Arthur was having his first hitout in the class on the demo boat and certainly hasn’t lost his touch on the helm.

The next Friday was the Annual Property Industry Sailing Event, this huge fund raiser attracted over 90 entries in 6 divisions. With a solid 20knots and drizzle at the start, I sent the boats off on the longer of the two options. Ragamuffin100 sailed around the harbour course in under 2 hours! Unfortunately with the last boats needing to sail from Middle head to Shark Island and back the the finish in 90mins, the wind dropped out completely, nothing, nada, zip. We ended up with only half the fleet finishing, which no one could have predicted. Those I spoke to after, were also surprised at the conditions collapsing. The non sailors however enjoyed the day and that’s one of the main things.

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The following day was a joint club race with the RSYS big boats coming around to MHYC for the day. Whilst it was a nice day weather wise, the only option wind wise was to set a windward leeward course. The smaller boats had it easy, however David Kellett aboard Sydney60 much preferred the longer legs than sprints. We got in two races in a nice seabreeze and I think most were happy with the day. Those who sailed the day before at least had a chance to dry out.038 058

Last of the full on weekends was running the NSW States for the 420s and 470s. With numbers well down due to clashes with other events both locally and overseas, the planned trapezoid courses were substituted for basic windward returns, which made it a lot easier on the volunteer [420 parents] mark laying teams. We got in all the races with time to spare, some made the comment that the races could have been a bit longer, but with only a handfull of each class, they were closer on the shorter courses. Spreading them out on longer courses would have seen a few of them sailing on their own most of the time.

Last Saturday was the last club race for me this 2014/2015 Summer Season at MHYC. With the Combined High Schools sailing at Belmont16s after Easter and then the inaugural Sydney Sailboat Expo following, that’s it for the summer. I’ll be back on the road taking the DeckHardware van to Queensland, South Australia then Victoria in the coming months showing off an ever increasing range of products.

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?