Waiting for the Wind & a Slice of Club History

At the Helm with Alison Blatcher

18 hopeful skippers came early to the boat ramp last Sunday morning, sniffing around for any sign of wind . The fishing community were out at sparrows fart making the most of the calm weather and the boat ramp at Fingal was overflowing.

The race start was delayed an hour and patience was rewarded –  the forecast was proved wrong. An unusually steady 12-16 knot breeze came up and the fishing boats started to head back in while the river started to fill with sails.

It was the Laser & NS14 Championships week. The NS14 fleet was missing Commodore Bill Fenelon on Tornado so just 4 boats competed in this class. Last years champs Adam Hurt & Tom Busbridge on Flight XXIV fought hard to keep up with Matthew Andrews & Igor Prado on Impulsive Matt but Matt & Igor took this one with a 4 minute lead. Dave & son Hugh Robinson on On & Off took 3rd with Robert Preston and Kynan Luescher Pura Vida not far behind.

Only Deborah Flannery was missing from the Laser fleet this week  – after a full day on the water the day before for the inaugural event in our She Sails program, a day spectating from the timekeepers tent was a good option. The  Lasers did have a new competitor – Andrew Chillingman Jaggers was back this week to give the club Laser a go making 6 boats competing. Kate Cant catch me Yeomans was ahead of the whole TVSC fleet at the finish line –  5 minutes in front of the next Laser – John Hayward, with Gary Macca McCrohon seconds behind. Macca was obviously missing his Murwillumbah cheer squad this week.

Craig Foley on Woodcraft was the winner of the Impulse class champ – he just needs some other Impulses to compete against to make it a more impressive title!

Two juniors boats also sailed today – Morgan & Miles Bushnell on Manly Junior M&M are looking really good. They’ve been training hard for the MJ Nationals in Sydney next month. Sidney Willis did well despite missing his crew and completed the 2 laps on his Flying Ant.  A really fun day for everyone involved.

Goodbye to 470 La Siala… Over the last 8 years generous people have donated boats to the club. One of the best ones was the Olympic class 470 La Siala donated by Bill Foley. This class of boat is sailed by both female and male crews in the Olympics and La Siala has provided many a wild ride on trapeze for TVSC members. We’re losing our storage area so all our non-essential club boats are being sold and sadly this one has to go too. We also have a more stable design 16ft Corsair for sale call 0434 982 922 if interested.

SheSails Event “Sisterhood of Sailing”

On Saturday 9 November, TVSC held their first SheSails sailing day, the Sisterhood of Sailing. It was a very casual day, with two lasers and one corsair sailing the beautiful waters of Tweed River.

When we set sail it was over 16 knots,  sailing up the river towards Chinderah, returning for a bite to eat at the Sheoak Cafe, where the girls sat and chatted in a more relaxed atmosphere.  
After lunch, the girls went out again, with dolphins following the boats – it was magical!

The day’s participants were Kate, Deborah, Alison, Rachael, Karen and Monique. The day was a huge success, with Alison saying she hadn’t enjoyed sailing so much for a long time.

Another sailing day will be held in the new year and we encourage our other club members to come and going the sisterhood of sailing.

If you have any ideas or enquiries for future events, please contact Monique via the club website.

Sailing – Home and Away

Last weekend 5 boats and 9 sailors from the Tweed travelled to Ballina for Richmond River SC’s Annual Regatta and the celebration of the 50th year of their club house. Andy Lamont and Craig Foley tried their luck on a Tasar for the first time – they may not have won any prizes but plenty of fun was had and at least they completed the course. Also attending, all defeated by the tricky conditions, were Gary-Macca-McCrohon on Laser Siesta, Corsair Melita III skippered by Alison Blatcher with Courtney Tiller & Sebastian; Andrew-Chillingman of Chillingham-Jaggers and Bronwyn sailed a Pacer, also for the first time.

TVSC’s Kate Yeomans on Laser Bluey showed her stamina in completing a course that many of the other sailors faltered on and took first place overall – showing her skill at holding the boat flat at top speed even in 20 knot gusts. Thanks to RRSRC members for an excellent day – followed by tall sailing tails on the club balcony watching the sunset with live music from local band Broadfoot.

The next day, back in Fingal Head, was the second heat of the popular Sprint Series – short back to back races honing everyone’s start-line skills. All were relieved that the wind had eased off (no one wanted another 30 knot race) and 13 Boats with 24 crew competed on the tight course.

Congratulations to NS14 Impulsive Matt skipper Matt Andrews and Igor Prado from Ocean Shores who took out first place on scratch in all 4 races. Adam Hurt and Tom Busbridge on NS14 Flight XXIV from Fingal Head almost had them in race 3 – only 3 seconds behind – four 2nd places for them. Gary McCrohon (Tyalgum) was first in the Lasers for 3 of the 4 races with John Hayward (Fingal) taking a hard fought 1st in the 2nd race.

Four boats competed in the Corsair class with Scott, Debbie and Sahara Jones coming first on Corsair Nimbus for 3 of the 4 with Peter Skinner never far behind on Epic with crew Doug Haig and Gail Bernet. Gail has recently taken up sailing at age 70+. She keeps coming back even after the wild rides and capsizes of the last few weeks.

Our very much appreciated support team, safety boat driver Reg Court, Lex Branch and timekeeper Suzanne Blatcher enjoyed the day too. Suzanne has been the club’s regular timekeeper for the last few year – at age 86 she enjoys being involved with the club but can’t be tempted onto the water any more.

Apologies to all for the recent lack of sailing news especially our avid sailing report readers Noel and Christine Fenelon. We look forward to having our usual reporter back from sea and hard at work on the keyboard in a couple of weeks. Want to sail with us or join the support team? Contact tvscmail@gmail.com Next race at Fingal Sunday 10 Nov 10am.

A Little Bit On for the Second Day of Racing in the Summer Series.

At the briefing, with an average reported wind speed of 21 knots, but gusts reaching 29, we decided that racing was on! Eight boats with 19 crew readied up on the beach, including two junior crews in their Flying Ants, who could just not be dissuaded from having a go.

Eight rigged on the beach, who will make it all the way?

However, before the start, three boats were already out with capsizes and gear breakages.

Sid and Skye, in Sid’s Flying Ant, made it to the top mark of the first leg. A tremendous effort.

Every boat went for a swim, except for the Weta and Mark and the crew on the Corsair, Keenas.

The across the line finishers were Monique and crew on the Corsair Swell Lady, followed by Dave and Isaac on the Hobie 16, followed by Keenas. Three finishes. Total.

Look how dry everyone is!

See you next time!

Sheoak Shack Cafe Celebrating 20 Years

The Sheoak Shack Cafe is having their 20th anniversary this coming Saturday.

Our club started in the sheoak and they have always allowed us to hold meetings there and stayed open late on race days.

Go along and show your support!

Juniors Squad on the Road

This month the TVSC Juniors packed up the boats, loaded their tents (and their families) and headed south to the mighty Clarence River for the first of a series of Australian Sailing run Youth training camps. The venue was the envy of all sailing clubs, especially “container club” TVSC. The brand new club house at Big River Sailing Club in Harwood with camping in the spacious club grounds by the river was ideal. The kids were also impressed with their young kiwi instructor, George Martin – he did an excellent job along with assistance from TVSC’s Nicole Bushnell with the race training group who sailed in their first full length race on the Saturday afternoon.

Morgan and Miles Bushnell (13 & 10) from Eviron had their Manly Junior “M&M” flying. They’re looking forward to being joined on the water at Fingal Head this summer in the TVSC’s newly acquired fleet of 6 Manly Juniors. Kynan Luescher (12) from Fingal made a big step up from our X3 training boats to a 4.7 Laser (smaller sail than a full rig Laser) and Konnor Wheeler isn’t far off doing the same.

Lots of new sailing buddies were made and our youngsters learned a lot from George and all the other sailors. It was a great experience for them and a fun weekend for all the families too.

Back on the Tweed, we’ve had our AGM and the committee welcomes new Club Secretary Garry Bargh from Ocean Shores.

Our “She Sails” Rep Monique Smith would also like to hear from you if you’re keen to join some women’s sailing events this season – there’s always room for more!

Sailing Club’s 6th Tweed River Marathon – Best Ever!

At the helm with Alison Blatcher.

The Race day morning saw a chilly start, the Condong Sugar Mill chimney showed there was a good breeze but this was all to change. The crowd started to roll up at Clarrie Purnell Park before 7am and soon there were eggs and bacon sizzling and the kettle boiling, the catering team kept the sailors well fed and ready for what started to look like being a truly marathon race.  The TVSC Safety boat crew – Reg Court, Garry Bargh and Richard Roberts had an early start at Fingal – launching the RIBS and heading off upstream to Condong. Roland Schwertner and Rick from Richmond River SC arrived early too and the Murwillumbah Rowing club boat was also ready to go. We welcomed visitors from Oxley SC, Brisbane Sailing Squadron, RQYS (Manly) and the largest contingent from TSS (The Southport School) bringing 6 Pacers. All boats 27 boats were on the water, the starters at the ready ….and the breeze died to nothing. So as the start horn sounded a burst of laughter went around the boats as they sat in the water not moving! This soon changed and the fleet moved off with the wind behind them, brightly coloured spinnakers were hauled up and they disappeared around the bend towards Tumbulgum.

Spectators waved along the river bank and the wind started to pick up as the fleet arrived at Tumbulgum and navigated under the bridge and on towards rainforested Stotts Island.

Three classes of boat were well represented this year – the 3 handed Corsairs (8 boats), 2 handed Pacers (6) and singlehanded Impulses (5). There were also 4 Lasers. In the Corsairs Alison Blatcher, skippering 683 Fairlight with crew Karen Vidler and Imogen Potts had an impressive lead for nearly half of the race but a couple of lulls in wind and river currents spinning them in a full circle at one point saw them start to lose the lead. Corsair 490 Keenas (Mark Reynolds, Marg Walgers & Craig Foley)  crept up and flew past through the Stotts Island narrows never to be caught again. In the very last stretch of the race at Chinderah Corsair 396 Nimbus (Scott Jones and daughter Caitlyn) also over took Fairlight and they fought to the finish line ending just 6 seconds in front of the early leader.

The Pacers sailing without spinnakers were the slowest boats in the fleet but were still only a minute behind the last Corsair at the finish line. After 3 and a half hours of sailing, 3 of the 6 Pacers still managed to finish only 1 second apart. Xavier Doer and Keely Whitaker from TSS took out 1st with TVSC members Igor Prado and junior Kynan Luecher, sailing a Pacer for the first time, coming in 2nd followed by TSS crew Monet Mooney and Jess Sabin. TVSC juniors Isaac Poulsen with Layla Scholz also sailed a Pacer for the first time. This was Isaac’s first time skippering in the Tumbulgum race – he was up with the 1st placed Pacer for much of the race and so should be very pleased. The flukey breeze that this race is known for caught them out and left the other 3 Pacers 10 minutes behind the others by the finish.

In huge contrast to the becalmed start the sailors faced 15-23 knot gusts as they came to the Chinderah reach with the wind coming from all and any directions. They had to be on their toes not to end up going for a swim which made for an exciting last leg. The smiles as they crossed the line may have had a tinge of relief to them!

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An unusual boat sailed by Mark Harper, a Devoti D zero, led the fleet for most of the way. Laser sailor John Pring on “Fig Jam” put in a heroic effort to keep up with him and hung on to be second across the line just over 3 hours after the start. The Lasers and the Impulses played cat and mouse all the way to the finish line – all of them excellent and very experienced sailors so after John crossed the next 3 were only seconds apart – Peter Fell (Impulse Mr Plow) then Mike Robinson (Impulse Plymouth) and TVSC’s Kate Yeomans (Laser Radial Bluey). TVSC’s Adam Hurt from Fingal took the 3rd place in the Impulses on Rosie, by far the oldest Impulse in the fleet.

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Commendations also go to the Dads celebrating early for Fathers Day. Jan Trueman and daughter Ruby from Chillingham sailing their Tasar for the very first time; Matthew Plummer and son Finley sailed one of TSS’s Pacers and David Robinson with son Hugh sailed their NS14. It was a cold race after the Tasar and the Pacer both went for a swim but they made it to the finish line and Ruby, Finley and Hugh will have many stories to tell their friends at school this week.

Once the finish times were adjusted for the different boat speeds Peter Fell from Oxley SC in Brisbane came out this year’s Tumbulgum Passage Champion and took home a voucher for a Husk Distillery Tour for two. Other great prizes donated by local businesses included Red Box Gym and Gold Coast Yoga monthly passes, vouchers for Cubby Bakehouse, Tyalgum Gelato, Watersports Guru and Tweed River seafoods so everyone went home happy.

We look forward to doing it all again next year – with maybe a few practice sails up to Tumbulgum for lunch and back to Fingal before the next marathon race comes round. If you would like to be part of this great event next year – come and join us for the start of our summer season. Get involved in sailing or as part of our enthusiastic support team – we’d love to have you on board.

Last Race of the Season

At the Helm with Bill Fenelon.

Several TVSC members were away for Hamilton Island Race week so a smaller than usual fleet of 9 boats competed in the final day of the Winter Series last Sunday.

Three 1 lap races were contested in a blustery Northerly wind reaching 21knots breeze, which was gusty and unpredictable making conditions difficult for the sailors on the river, so the sailors really earned their post-race sausages!

Joining the Tweed River fleet for the first time today were locals Steve and Tai Grimes, sailing an International 420. These guys had an enjoyable first afternoon and easily beat the Corsair fleet.  The top boat today was a visitor to the Tweed. Single Hander, Impulse “Sapphire” sailed by Oxley Sailing Club Commodore Keith Briers. Keith was fastest in two of the three races and only dropped to second, missing first place by only 7 seconds to Laser “Siesta” sailed by Gary McCrohan from Tyalgum. Also sailing a Laser, Maurie Meyer was only a few seconds back who took third place.

Four boats competed in the Three Handed one design Corsair division, fastest today was “Nimbus” (Scott, Debbie, and Sahara Jones), winning all 3 races, and second was “Keenas” (Mark Reynolds, Marg Walgers and Garry Bargh).

Next Saturday 31st, the club hosts its premiere event, the long-distance Tumbulgum Passage race, starting from Clarrie Purnell Park in Condong at 10.30am and finishing at Fingal – when they get there. The sailing boats really brighten up the river and are a great spectacle to enjoy from various places along the River foreshores.  It’s taken between 3 and 6 hours in the past so it can be a long day on the river – cheers from the river bank at Tumbulgum and Chinderah really help the crews so come down and follow the race. This will be the 6th annual running of this event which attracts sailors from Brisbane and all the Northern Rivers with around 30 boats entering.

The Club asks that other river users are aware they may encounter sailing boats at any place along the river this Saturday.  TVSC acknowledges the support of local businesses sponsoring this Saturdays race: Hakka Hire, Red Box Gym, The Water Sports Guru, Cubby Bakehouse Café, Tweed River Seafoods and Body Connection Pilates.