Bit on at this time of year.

At this time of year there’s always a bit on. Saturday before last was round two of the State Kiteboarding championships that I’ve been running, this coming Saturday will see round three at Botany Bay. As of last week ISAF have decided against an earlier decision to instate the Kites for Rio 2016 instead of Sailboards. They have now reversed this decision and the Kites are out. It will be interesting to see how many continue racing in the long term.

The next day saw a little trip up to the Central Coast for the BIA Try Sailing day. I visited Gosford Sailing Club, Budgewoi Sailing Club, South Lake Macquarie Sailing club at Sunshine and Mannering Park Sailing Club. It was good to see the volunteers helping out and assisting those who would like to take up the sport of Sailing – well done. At Sunshine they had over 60 turn up, only a couple had pre registered so well done to all there. The photo shows an 11m One design taking those out at Gosford.

Thursday was another one of my little drives down to the South Coast of NSW. I stopped and saw customers at Lake Illawarra, Nowra, Wollamia, Ulladulla and Batemans Bay. A long day on the road and 625 kms driven.

The photo shows an IOR Robber 1/4 tonner at Wollamia. This yard is full of owner builder/repairers, where they can pull their boats and take their time updating.

Back in the 70s, my late father had the plans to build one and engaged Ken Beashel to price it up. Unfortunately it never went ahead. They were a quick boat in their day in Europe, although none of the Australian built boats had any success that I know of.

Saturday saw me back at MHYC for the first time in several weeks running the club races. With 20knots at the start there was plenty of action on the water.

Yesterday was a rare day away from the water. We have several friends who are due to have babies in the coming weeks, so there was a bit of a get together and a catchup. Very enjoyable day cathing up with old friends.

Next Saturday sees me back at Botany Bay for round three of the Kiteboards and Sunday a trip up to the lake for the first day of racing in the Australian Multihull Championships. This is a look/see, as I’m not involved in the race management.

The following weekend is the MHYC Short Ocean Racing Championships, Saturday is a race up to Lion Island at Broken Bay. Sunday sees two short races offshore. Depending on the forecast, I’ll either send them North to the Manly Circle or south to Bondi.

Following that, I’m off to Melbourne where I’ll be involved in running Sail Melbourne. This is the first time I’ll be involved in Sail Melbourne, but an interesting look at how others run their events none the less. With the amount of yacht race management I do, it’ll be interesting doing dinghies.

Suddenly Christmas is upon us and it’s time for the Rolex Sydney Hobart start, where I’m the RO for the Southern line. This will be the sixth year and it never gets any easier. Each time I go to anchor in the designated spot there’s a hole making holding fast difficult, some how we do it. Last year we had a couple of OCS starters which meant no going out to watch them turn south. Hopefully this year they’ll all behave.
Thats’ the weekends booked till the New Year, like I said a bit on. January?  Off to Tasmania with the DeckHardware van on the ferry. Mels going down with it for a couple of weeks, I’ll bring it back.

Yep, bit on.

Kite Boarding

So some time back those at the International SailingFederation [ISAF] decided that the sport of Windsurfing.sailboarding would be dropped from the Olympic games for RIO 2016. In it’s place would be Kiteboarding.

 

Whilst I know a few who Kiteboard, I’ve had little experience with it. As a teenager, I dropped out of sailing for a while and bought a couple of Windsurfers and competed in a few regattas, went wave jumping on Sydneys Northern beaches and even ventured up to the Central Coast on occasion. There are those who are yet to come to grips with either as a sport relating to Sailing, but as they are all powered by wind, I won’t get in to an arguement on the minor technicalities.

 

So the other day I was looking at http://www.seabreeze.com.au an excellent Australian weather website and noticed that there was a Kite event on at Botany Bay being organised by one of DeckHardware’s  customers, Kite Power. I had a look at the link and realised that whilst they are a new group to racing, what better way as a Yachting Australia Race Official than to get involved, especially with RIO 2016 in mind.
I got in touch with Steve McCormack and offered my services and arranged a meeting. Steve eagerly accepted my offer as an RO, so there I was on Saturday at my first event.

They had over 30 competitors in two divisions, race and off the beach. As a RO setting the course was easy, the hard thing was how do you identify them? Kite Power had arranged numbered T shirts so that was easy, but a little harder than I thought. I was helped out by Evelyn who knew most of the competitors, all I had to do was train her in the art of Race management and we were off. We got in two races in each division in around 18-20 knots of breeze, perfect conditions for the flyers. As we went in to sequence for race 3 in the racers, one competitor Jordan Girdis noted  that the breeze had increased some what. We hoisted the AP [Answering Pennant] and did a spot of checking with the local windstations and the use of my JDC Eole. Yes the breeze had got up somewhat and was more survival that good racing. After a 3/4hr postponement we agreed to pull the pin on the day.

The competitors were a mix of sailors including Jordan who had just competed in the recent Melges24 Worlds in San Francisco and Aiden Menzies a former crewmate of Nathan Outteridge. It was good to see them all mixing and talking about the different equipment. Certainly an eye opener for me with no previous experience with Kite Boarding. These guys were also acceptable to having a national race official coming in from the outside to make things run smoothly. The comradery was excellent with a BBQ running, Getto Blaster sounding out the tunes on the beach, it was all about atmosphere and it helped to set the scene.
I’d like to say thanks to Steve and Evelyn and the rest of the team who helped run the event, none of whom I’d met until that morning. I certainly look forward to the next event and helping out those who are looking to compete at Sail Melbourne later in the year where I have put up my hand to help as an RO. These guys certainly have the enthusiasm for their sport and made for a great day. Next time I hope ‘Hughie’ the wind god plays nice and we get a good NorEaster.

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.

Etchell Worlds 2012

 

 

This was my view down the startline from the Starboard end, unfortunately due to mechanical issues the boat is out of action and I’m off the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was some of the action at the bottom gate, it was pretty vocal.

Champions practice

  I started the weekend off helping the Tranfusion team practice their starts before heading to the USA  to  defend their Farr40 World Title.

Then as one of the MHYC volunteer start team, running the club Saturday pointscore race. The breeze on Saturday was a pleasant South Easter and it was good to have a race around the harbour after many weeks of windward return style races.

On Sunday I was one of many volunteers out helping run the 2012 Etchell World titles. As a National Race Official it was great to work alongside many other NROs and International officials.

Sunday was the practice day, so we had a couple of practice starts before finally getting the fleet away under a Black Flag [if you are over the line in the minute prior to the start you are disqualified]. With the line split in two we control the starboard half, in this case it was all clear.

I’m about to head out now for the first two heats, hopefully the weather plays nice after last nights Sydney storms.