Nor-West for a day

Now and again I get the opportunity to teach a little about the art of being a Race Officer. Last June when at the Keepit Kool regatta near Gunnedah, I mentioned to some of the members that I was available to provide a session on race management.  Australian Sailing coordinated with the Club and I went up to the Lake on Saturday, about a 5 1/2 hr drive from Sydney to impart some of my knowledge and experiences. It was fantastic to see the effort taken as everyone present had quite a drive to the club, most over an hour from places like Gunnedah, Tamworth and Quirindi. The dam level is still pretty high at 63% but they were talking about those downstream needing water for farming, I hope that when the club hosts the 50th running of the Keepit Kool next June, there’s still plenty there.

 

I had a full room, pretty much every member of Lake Keepit Sailing Club attended and we went through the art of being a race officer. After nearly four hours of me talking, with a tea break in the middle, we finished up with a session on the clubs start boat running through a start sequence. The three members on the boat had an issue when I pointed out that we had a couple on the pontoon that were standing in front of the Orange flag. Hah, they were OCS and the Individual flag was called for, meaning a bit of a scurry to find it with a minute to go. Everyone enjoyed that part of the session especially, pushing each other, making sure it was done correctly.

 

For me the highlight of the day was meeting up with my first Manly Junior skipper. I had crewed for a little while at Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club before Dad built my first Manly Junior when I was about 9. It was great to catch up with Keith Garrett after all this time, however he has now confirmed that his sail number was 268 and the name was Dragonfly, not the 245 as I had thought. It was funny answering his questions, ‘Did you or your father sail at RPAYC – Yes’. ‘Did you crew on a MJ – Yes’, ‘My name is…Wow!’. We had only a little time to chat, no doubt, the next time I go to Keepit we’ll talk some more.

 

After nearly all day at Keepit, it was time to head home again. The priority was to be home in time to sit in front of the TV and watch a car race on Sunday. And what a race it was at Mount Panorama, this year had a bit of everything. Rain and wet tyres, no safety car for something like 80 laps then a few, cars diving off at the end of Conrod heading out of the track to Bathurst City and of course the dramas at the end with dry slick tyres and having to conserve fuel. Great to watch and good for the sport to have the ‘little team that could’ win.

Headed south, far south.

It’s been a while since I last went to Tasmania, last time was for the Australian Youth Sailing Championships. This time however I had the chance to head down to Hobart and take in the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. This is a Bi-Annual event that has grown over the years. In co-operation with Brierley Marine who have outlets in Hobart and Launceston, DeckHardware had a range of products on display in the hall. Teaming up with Ben King who has assisted DeckHardware with a few shows on the mainland and is now at Brierley Launceston, we had a different range on display with a focus on the Wooden Boat market. The show is a massive undertaking and the locals have really put their support behind it. With free entry, there was talk of over 400,000 visitors. many of these were from the mainland, I seemed to be running in to them every couple of minutes! On the ferry over from Melbourne it seemed like everyone was headed that way. The great factor was that the weather was fantastic with clear skies and temperatures in the high 20s each day. Melissa flew down for the Sunday, luckily, as Saturday was the hottest and busiest. A cruise ship arrived early Saturday morning and the comment was – ‘there’s another 5000 visitors!’. The show eclipsed Sydney and certainly Sanctuary Cove, I don’t think I’ve run into so many people that I haven’t seen for a long time. If you have the chance, book accommodation now for the next one in 2017 because I think most will be back and with their friends too. It’s well worth the effort.

The Four

Then I headed north for the last round of the Manly Junior State Titles at Point Wolstoncroft on Lake Macquarie. I think this is just about the only place on the lake I haven’t been to before. Held at the NSW Sport and Recreation Centre, this was a great facility for a kids regatta. Plenty of area to run around ashore, pool, tennis court and cabin and tent accommodation, as well as plenty of rigging area on the foreshore. The sailing area of course being Lake Macquarie is excellent. Having attended three previous Manly Junior events this season as sponsor it was good to catch up with all of them again. It was another great weekend, the Noreaster came in around lunchtime, a little late but consistent when it came. Congratulations to all involved, parents, regatta officials and competitors.

For something different, I’m off again this weekend. South again. I’m running the second edition of the Snowy Mountains Regatta at Jindabyne in southern New South Wales. If it’s like last year with clear skies and 8-10 knot winds we’ll all be happy.