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.

Saturday on Sydney Harbour


This weekend was a long weekend in Sydney so there was no racing at Middle Harbour. After an early start at Woollahra Sailing Club where the East Coast Championships were being held for the 420s and Optimists, it was back to MHYC.

At Woollahra, I was able to have a good look at some of the 420s and catch up with some of the coaches and parents.

Later Steve Tucker, my assistant RO at MHYC, Phil Clinton, Vice Commodore and the chair of the sailing committee and I went out for a run around the harbour. The object was to GPS mark all the NSW Yachting Association marks as well as some of the other common marks such as the Shark, Clarke Islands and Fort Denison we use. Steve was going to update all the course lengths as they haven’t been done for some time, it’ll also give us an accurate database for any other courses we may set around the fixed marks.

Some of those we pinged were the posts at the islands, the one shown is on the Southeast corner of Clarke Island. Steve said that last season he’d run aground on the rock to which to post is fitted in a 30’er. Being in the MHYC startboat Hugh George [36′ and twin turbo diesel] and giving Phil Clinton driving lessons, we were able to come right alongside and have a good look down…mmmnn that one? The three of us were all able to have a good look for future races! Whether or not that’s inside knowledge or not…put it down to research.