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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Had another sail and another drive.

Following on from my first offshore sail in a decade, I had another sail, this time a Middle Harbour Yacht Club point score race on an Adams10, funny that given the decades sailing them. It was another day with Garth and his crew on Sirius, however this time it was a blustery westerly. The line was a little biased to the pin and Garth did an excellent job in timing the starboard run down the line. Those who tried to port tack start were confronted by us hollering, so there was a little bit of ‘ducking’ our transom.

It was a pretty uneventful race except for the last spinnaker reach, this was one of those beauties, over 14knots on the dial before dropping the kite and coming back to course. Then on the last tack to the finish, I slipped and extended my knee, the good one. Needless to say I’ve had a few visits to the physio since. But what about that ride – made the day.

 

Then it was back on the MHYC Start boat and race officialdom. It was the first of the monthly Farr40 regattas for the season and whilst it was a non point score, six boats turned up for three races in a nice southerly on Sunday. This followed on from an offshore race the day before and a rather late night for some at the Farr40 20th anniversary function on Saturday night. The Association awarded five previous owners for their successes and support of Australian yachting in general. It was fantastic to be in attendance to see Marcus, Richard, Martin, Lang and Guido presented with a brilliant red jacket with their results embroidered on the pockets.

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Out on the water Sunday and it was good racing between Outlaw and Exile with only seconds between them for the days honours. Race 1 saw Exile win their first Farr40 race, giving guest helmsman Chris Way some bragging rights. In race 2 it was the Victorian team on Double Black,  it was great to see these two boats especially get amongst it at the front. The Farr40s will be back next later in October for another round and it’s always a pleasure to watch them, albeit very closely.

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This weekend past saw me at a club that I hadn’t been to for 40 years! A long time ago the Sydney Laser sailors used to head to Wallis Lake for a regatta once a year. Great Lakes Sailing Club certainly hasn’t changed all that much, the main change is an upgrade recently on more grassed rigging and camping space. One of our DeckHardware ambassadors was competing in the Wildcat Regatta, a 3 day event that has been held for quite some time. So it was an opportunity to drop by and aside from dropping off a ‘goody’ package for Lily, it was a chance to see what the event was about.

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Interesting was the number of well-known sailors looking for a fun weekend. Jason Waterhouse was sailing his father’s Hobie16 with his sister Bridget. His NACRA17 coach Darren Bundock decided to sail a foiling A Class as was Steve Brewin. There were plenty of other high profile sailors too, such as Brett Goodall coming from Victoria and Warren Guinea driving from Brisbane.

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Jason Waterhouse and Lily Smith at GLSC

 

It was great to return to GLSC, I guess I shouldn’t leave it as long till the next time either. It was also good to catch up with a few of those wandering around the boat park, with 80 or so entries there wasn’t much space left.

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Not much space left after 80 odd catamarans and trailers.

 

 

 

 

 

Time for a little reminiscing

I’ve been told that my first time sailing was being put in a 505 spinnaker bag whilst still in nappies. Dad [Peter Yeomans] was a lifelong sailor having grown up at Vaucluse and sailing VJs at the local yacht club. He then continued sailing 14’skiffs whilst studying in the USA where he met my Canadian born mother.

Upon returning to Sydney, they settled at Newport and Dad was sailing at ‘The Alfreds’ with George and Tim Clarke in a Dragon, KA44. In the early Sixties he started building his first yacht on the front lawn and at the same time building me my first Manly Junior Pipsqueak. Needless to say I learnt heaps about building boats whilst helping Dad, be it painting and varnishing, the other end of a copper Rib rivet or steaming the ribs in an old 44. I sailed as much as I was allowed as a kid growing up and this continued when we moved to the waterfront at Bayview.  Dad sailed Temeraire in many JOG events both out of Pittwater and Sydney Harbour where I often joined him as a crew. I can remember on one occasion, Dad dropping me and a couple of school mates off at Lavender Bay to sail her back to Pittwater, we would have been 16 at the time.

 

I sailed two MJs, updating Pipsqueak to Leucothea when the Mk2 design came in. From there I crewed on many yachts at RPAYC, midweek and Saturdays whilst sailing F11s at RPAYC, then Fireballs and 505s at BYRA. Upon leaving school I started work at Performance Sailcraft Australia building Lasers. Initially we unpacked containers of boats from Canada before the moulds arrived from New Zealand which had started production before us. Naturally sailing Lasers was a must and over the next 7-8 years I competed in many events in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Yeppoon also including many NSW country regattas like at Wallis Lake near Forster. My first Aussie built boat was 14127 and the last of many, 70000. These were great years and many of my opposition have become lifelong friends.

I delivered new Lasers up and down the east coast, although one trip was made to Darwin. PSA had two specially built trailers, one held 6 boats and the other 10. With another employee Les,  we towed the larger of these to Darwin in mid ’75, six months after Cyclone Tracy demolished the city on Christmas Day. It was one of those eye openers, I hadn’t been there before, nor had I really experienced or seen the power of nature. Les and I arrived around Midday and the locals wanted to go sailing, so we did. Unpacked the car and trailer and went sailing. We had written on the outside packing before leaving – Instant fleet just need water. Tick.

I spent a year working in Brisbane in the mid-70s and continued sailing Lasers and whilst there bought one of the first Windsurfers to Queensland. Upon returning to PSA in Sydney and then working at Sydney Sailboat Centre, I met Robyn and as they say, the rest is history.

I moved from RPAYC to MHYC and commenced sailing both inshore and offshore on a variety of yachts. Robyn and I started campaigning a Farr6000 which SSC imported from NZ. We had a lot of fun over a couple of years with our third crew Marita Wilmot.  Soon a change of occupation gave me added days on the water and I rarely missed a Wednesday for 20 years.

 

 

South of the border

003 I’m now south of the border in Melbourne. I’m here to help officiate at Sail Melbourne an ISAF World Cup event and the first after the London 2012 Olympics. The photo shows the van pretty full and this was without my gear!

After an early start and an 11hr drive [with stops], first stop was to Anchor marine a long time chandlery here in Melbourne to drop off more stock.  I then spent the afternoon at Sandringham Yacht Club, the host club for a lot of sailing events here in Victoria.

After unloading Krystal Weir’s Laser and her sailing gear, I caught up with Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin who recently visited DeckHardware and purchased some of the TBS Speedgrip non skid. We made a few changes to the setup and hopefully it will all suit their Viper Catamaran. I’ll be able to have a look after each days sail, on the spot reporting!

 

The club has a range of services including a chandlery run by Ian Marr -The Yacht Shop. I was able to assist Ian in answering a few questions on the DeckHardware range of products that he hadn’t seen, so that some of the 300 odd competitors who visit his shop will hopefully get the right answers and of course buy some DeckHardware. I also caught up with another chandlery owner, Gavin Reitman from OTB Marine who is sailing with his daughter in the Viper catamaran class and was able to remind him of the products available.

As I was about to leave, I saw our Olympic Gold medalist Mat Belcher and his new crew Will Ryan and coach Victor, good to see some familiar faces. In the coming months, I’ll also be involved in further regattas for the 470 class.

Final stop for the day, was to my hosts for the week, Leonie and Peter Coleman. As with a lot of the interstate trips that I do, we have to thank those who host me and in the New Year, Melissa when she goes to Tasmania. The support given is greatly appreciated by Robyn, Mel and I.

I’ll have photos tomorrow as most of those I saw today were working on boat preparation, hopefully also a trip out along the marina to have a look at what’s new.

 

 

2012 NSW Youth Championships

After many years of involvement in competing in and then running the Heaven can Wait 24 hour race around Lake Macquarie over the October long weekend it was time for a little change of scenery. To the other side!

I put my hand up several months ago to help run the NSW Youth Championships, not really knowing what I was in for. There were two courses, I was the Race Official on Bravo and Jeremy Atkinson from Woollahra was on Alpha. I had 29ers, 420s, Laser radials and 4.7s and the largest fleet in the Flying Elevens. Overall there were some 200 boats and 275 competitors.

I was fortunate to have my daughter Melissa once again backing me up on the start boat looking after the clock, she usually avoids most race management with me except for the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, preferring to do her own. Rhys Llewellen a DeckHardware Ambassador parent came from Narrabeen Lakes Sailing Club to do the flags. I was extremely fortunate to have another MHYC member in John Winchester offering his time to lay all the marks of my trapezoid course. Having these three with me made the three days and fifty starts [plus generals!] a lot easier. I didn’t have to worry about anything happening behind me, all went to plan. Rhys also took care each day in picking up the radios and trackers and returning them upon returning to the shore, John had to load and unload his boat daily with 5 marks. I think I had it easy worrying about the weather and the course to set.

Saturday dawned with a forecast of strong winds, we were not disappointed! The sailors came out and were greeted with gusts to 30 knots, a decision was made to send them ashore to wait it out. After several hours and the breeze reaching 35 knots on occasion it dropped down to a more manageable 18-20 and we were able to get in 2 races before sunset.

Sunday was a total change as Hughie definitely disappeared overnight. This time the land breeze took several hours to rotate around to a nice seabreeze of 10-12 knots, perfect. Even though most of the sailors were out there all day, we managed to get in 4 races. I’m sure that there were plenty of exhausted youth sailors that night, I know of a couple who were asleep early.

Monday was the same as the day before, except this time we kept them all ashore till the seabreeze arrived. We were fortunate to get in the required number of races after the gear breaking conditions of Saturday, there were several masts broken in the F11s and Lasers.

As for the results, I’ll leave that to the NSW Yachting website. What was notable was the number of ‘repeat offenders’ starting at our end of the line each time, the start team had a repour with some, “he’s back…”. There was one female Laser sailor who had the boys bluffed; she certainly nailed the start on more than one occasion. It was also nice seeing those who did timed runs in from the port end working out the line bias.

What disappointed me most was the total disregard by many parents and coaches in Sailing Instruction 25 requiring them to stay 50m away from the course area. This is one point that has been duly noted the next time I run a Youth Event. Jeremy said that he could almost have spent the night in the protest room blowing out his Alpha fleet, but decided against it too.

Next year? Maybe time to go sailing again in the HCW.

Queensland this week

This week I’m up in Queensland seeing DeckHardware customers, old and new.

I have had the opportunity to stay with my Aunt and Uncle on the Gold Coast. Geoff is the owner of a Ross780 which he keeps in the canal at the rear of his house. At low tide as you can see the boat only just stays afloat. Normally it’s up on the floating pontoon, the ease of launching and retreiving surprised me.

Doing the rounds of the Gold Coast marine businesses is surprising. There’s those who seem to be doing OK, others who seem to be  lowering their stock levels. Then there are those businesses who have shut up shop all together. I saw one builder yesterday, who once he finishes his own boat in the next 12 months, will be looking to close down. I don’t know how those looking to start out in boat building will get a start, unlike I did back in the early 70s, with no builders left.

The fleet for the Wednesday late afternoon race was an assorted lot, like most clubs. There were an assorted fleet of trailer yachts, including Geoff in his Ross780, a large number of Etchells and even a couple of old IOR Quarter tonners.

The interesting thing here is that they sail the same course each week due to the confines of the Broadwater and the tide flows such that the smaller boats seemed to struggle against it.

Saturday I hope to drop by the World Laser Masters championships at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Brisbane and catchup with a few old foes.