Starting Sailing

Dear Members, Sailors and friends,

It seems like ages since the last time we all met at Fingal.

Corona Virus stopped our activities but we are planning our restart and will resume activities as soon as the State Government permits.

I hope to have some news on this and advice from Australian Sailing very soon.  

Last Sunday was supposed to be our presentation dinner. We will try to organise another date for our formal dinner when State Govt Regs permit, but results from the Summer series have been finalised and winners will be announced soon by email.

So far to date, the club has only missed one scheduled race of the summer season due to the virus. Unfortunately, we had to postpone the Laser Class River Championship and have cancelled all juniors’ activities.

We will resume sailing as soon as possible and hopefully we will conduct some races this winter, although initially sailing may only be in single handers.

At this stage planning for the very popular annual Tumbulgum Race is in progress, maybe only for single handers or “same household” teams, but we will follow any advice from Australian Sailing.

We have two dates in mind for Tumbulgum at this stage so put these in your diaries 

Sunday the 5th of July or Sunday the 20th Sept.

Now is the time to get on top of boat and trailer maintenance.

Check your bearings and springs and get set up for a trouble-free summer.

Any sailors needing help or advice with boat repair work please fell free to phone me anytime.

The club has several very good boats available for full season loan if you feel you can manage a boat.

Corsair “Capers” recently 8th in National Titles is complete and has a good registered trailer.

Olympic 470 class, complete and good condition   good trailer, new bearings, can be registered  

14 ft Taser Hippocampus, with registered trailer

NS14 Blu Tack, with registered trailer  

Get ready for a big sailing season, this being our 10th summer sailing season lets make it our biggest ever.

Stay safe, and I look forward to seeing you at sailing again soon.

Call me anytime for a chat.

Bill Fenelon  TVSC Commodore   0411 123 405

The Sailing Season Is Over

Greetings Members.

Unfortunately due to COVID’19, the club is suspending the summer season and all remaining races are now cancelled. Junior sailing is also suspended.

Things are changing rapidly and we will resume sailing with a shortened Winter series as soon as it is considered safe to be having public gatherings again.

Results from the summer season will still be tabulated and winners will be announced and hopefully we can have a presentation dinner at a later date.

I will miss seeing everybody down at Fingal and hope everybody can keep safe and well and look forward to the time we can recommence sailing. The Up coming 2020-2021 Sailing season will be our tenth summer season so lets look forward to a big sailing season next summer.

Kindest regards to all and I look forward to seeing everybody again soon.
Bill Fenelon Commodore TVSC

Tweed Sailors Win Corsair National Titles

Last weekend five Corsair yachts and 15 members of the Tweed Valley Sailing Club headed south to the NSW Central Coast to compete amongst 18 Corsairs entered in the 44th Australian National Championships. Held at Budgewoi Sailing Club, this would be their final “Calling All Skippers”, with the club having now unfortunately shut down. Sixty boats attended the Regatta, making for a great final farewell.

Runners up, Bayonet.

The Corsair is a 16-foot (4.8 metre) fibreglass sailing dinghy, fully rigged with jib and spinnaker, which offers excellent close, one design racing, with a crew of three and in addition is a comfortable cruising boat. Designed by Alan Payne (who also designed 3 America’s Cup yachts including Gretel and G2), the Corsair is an all-round performance centre boarder ideal for Australian conditions. First sailed in 1966, the class has spread across the nation with approximately 500 boats being built.

Waiting for the breeze to come in on Sunday.

TVSC has adopted this class as it is ideally suited to conditions on the Tweed River.  The Club has regular racing with up to 15 boats. As the boat requires a 3-person crew, there is ample room for beginners to join in without needing to own a boat.

Conditions on the first day of the competition were tough, with winds gusting to 25 knots with a short steep chop, but all boats made it through the 4 races without serious incident. Day two was a little more relaxed and everybody enjoyed a pleasant morning sailing on the lake.

Everyone’s relaxed before the start of racing…or are they?

Current champions, Aaron Hunt, Ryan Arkinstall and Liam Buckley, sailing “Tenacious”, took the title, getting the bullet in four of the six races proving their dominance of the fleet. 2nd place went to Budgewoi local and previous Australian Champion, Geoff Beauchamp, daughter Ruby Beauchamp and Dorren Vandersteen on “Bayonet”. Third place went to Tweed Corsair “Charlotte” sailed by Justin Johnson, daughter Emily Johnson and Hollingsword Wolul (all the way from Vanuatu!).

Holen, Emily and a Big Banana in front of a bigger banana.

Holen is in Australia, due to recently being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. If you’re interested in reading more about his situation and perhaps giving a donation, then please see here.

Aaron has sailed Corsairs since the ‘70s and has won 8 Corsair National Titles. His recent arrival at TVSC has lifted the local fleet. He is a major sponsor and supporter of the club through his chandlery business Boating and RV

Monohulls on the upwind leg, multihulls sailing the angles down.

Tweed boats placed 1st “Tenacious”, 3rd “Charlotte”, 6th “Keenas” (Mark Reynolds, Craig Foley and Harriette Raleigh), 7th Swell Lady (Monique Smith, Matt Andrews and Deborah Flannery), 8th “Minnow” (Bill Fenelon, Courtney Tiller and Alicia Szlawski).

Keenas at the Bottom Mark, turning for a quick run to the finish.

It was a great weekend of sailing and close competition with the entire fleet finishing each race only minutes apart. It was a fantastic result for Tweed Valley Sailing Club, for the first time since its foundation in 2011, winning an Australian Championship. TVSC teams supported each other and enjoying their sport.  To compete in the Corsair Nationals was a great way to start 2020 for our club.

Commodore Bill with the Traveller’s Trophy, awarded to TVSC for the distance travelled.

The next sailing event on the Tweed River will be on the 16th of February, Race 4 of the NS14 and Laser Class Championship. The next Corsair Class Championship race will be Heat 4 on the 1st of March. Racing is on the Fingal Reach and can be viewed at close range from anywhere along the riverbank.

There’s no need to rush down to Budgewoi!

The Tweed Valley Sailing Club always welcomes new members and no experience (or boat) is needed.


NO RACE Sunday 2 Feb – Corsair Convoy to Budgewoi & Farewell to the TVSC “Annexe”

The scheduled Corsair Class Champ / Pointscore race this Sunday has been postponed. There will be no racing at Fingal. The proposed rescheduled Corsair Class Champ/Pointscore race date is Sunday 29 March (which was the Chindy Challenge Race date).

44th Corsair National Titles

The reason for the change is that have 4 Corsairs and 12 members heading down to Budgewoi for the National Titles this weekend! We wish them all the best – expecting lots of tales to tell on their return and maybe even a trophy!

Farewell to a piece of TVSC History – 46 Fingal rd

Bill’s back yard with Boats floating where they shouldn’t!

The Corsair convoy will be departing this Thursday at 3pm NSW from “Bill’s Place” 46 Fingal Rd which is also the farewell moment to what has been the TVSC “Annex” since 2011. In the early years, this is where the after race BBQs were held and where many of us came to get our boats repaired or rigging explained or just for a general chat about boats; all the club equipment was stored in Bill’s sunroom until we got our first “club house” (an enclosed box trailer, also stored at No 46), the back yard has also been home to the club safety boats and then a sabot fleet took over the shed which kick started our juniors squad; followed by untold numbers of Corsairs and other boats made easily available for members to use.

Sabot loading was all part of running Juniors then.

Without this storage and work/meeting space the club would not be what it is today. 
The Commodore closes the door for the last time this Thursday join him and the Corsair convoy at 3 pm to raise a glass to the end of a TVSC chapter .. and the start of the next one… a real club house? and to give the Corsairs a big send off. 

 BYO champers!!

First Race of the Year

The Tweed Valley Sailing club hosted the first race of the year on Sunday at Fingal Head, with a very competitive fleet turning up, and some crew shortening their holidays to compete.

The main event today was the 3rd heat of the NS14 class championship with 5 top boats competing, and the series wide open; while a reduced fleet of 3 Lasers contested the single handers yardstick championship, and 2 Corsairs joined the fleet for heat 6 of the summer handicap point score.

With the championship tied after 2 races, the top boats were keen to score good results.

Sailing conditions were good, but challenging with some big wind shifts and a strong Flooding tide lining up with a Northerly breeze forcing crews to work hard to get up the 3 x one mile long windward legs. It was a very hot day and the occasional splash from the Tweed River was very welcomed.

Taking the bullet in the Summer Pointscore Handicap series, Kate Yeomans in her Laser “Bluey” sailed very well, as she usually does, and took full advantage of the wind & tide situation.

Matt looks back…at the rest of the fleet.

In the Championship Series, making sure of it and getting the bullet, NS14 “Impulsive Max”, sailed by a determined Matt Andrews and Igor Prada,  easily outpaced the fleet finishing 3 minutes ahead of 2nd Placed “Flight 24”(Adam Hurt & Tom Busbridge), while 3rd placed ”On & Off” (Dave Robinson & Hugh Robinson) getting home 1 minute ahead of Pura Vida (Robert Preston & Kynan Luescher).

Two races remain in the Class Championship and Impulsive Max now leads the series with Flight 24 moving back to second.

Robert and Kynan on Pura Vida

Meanwhile in the Single Handers race, Laser Sailor, Kate Yeomans on “Bluey”, was initially challenged by Laser Grand Master Gary McCrohan until Gary decided it was too hot and headed for a Bar somewhere; anywhere that had cold beer. Kate finished first in this division and only a minute behind the first NS14.

Also in a single hander today was Corsair Class Champion Monique Smith, scoring 2nd place in a Laser, and she probably really enjoyed beating all the Corsairs.

Keenas crew

TVSC’s Corsair Fleet were sailing today finalizing preparations and team work to compete in the Corsair Class Australia Championships, being held in Budgeowoi on the 1st and 2nd of February.

Sailing conditions on the Tweed were very pleasant and all crews enjoyed the afternoon sailing.

The Next Race at Fingal Head will be on the 16th of February. This will be heat 4 of the NS14 Championship and Single Handers Yardstick Championship. Adults and Juniors are welcome to come down and crew on a boat. No experience is necessary and you will learn to sail for free!!

Sailing on Sunday

Last Sunday the Tweed Valley Sailing Club hosted its penultimate race for the year, Race 5 of the summer Pointscore Series and heat 3 of the Corsair Class Championship.

11 boats competed including five “3 handed” Corsairs, joined by a mixed fleet , an NS14, a Laser, a Int.470 a Hobie 16 and 2 X3’s

Conditions were variable; wind SE 16 to 24 knots, and an ebbing tide combined made for long beats to windward, favouring the NS14s but hard work for the Corsairs.

Fastest by a long way, Dave Chester and Sid Willis on Hobie 16 “Sledder”, lapped most of the fleet, redeeming Dave for the day he was beaten by a Corsair.

NS14 On & Off Dave & Cooper Robinson , first mono hull finishers

First mono hull to finish today, 20 minutes behind the Hobie, NS14 “On & Off”, sailed by father/son team Dave and Cooper Robinson.  These guys won the start and established a strong early lead, getting home first and beating the first Corsair by nine minutes.

Second to finish, one minute astern was Laser “Siesta” sailed by “Great Grand Master” Gary McCrohan. Gary always sails well in these conditions and was 7 minutes ahead of the first Corsair.

The big race today was the 3rd heat of the Northern Rivers Corsair Championship, contested by 5 boats and 15 crew.

Student Doctors, Alicia Szwalski and Sophie Todd sailed with Commodore Bill Fenelon on Corsair “Minnow”

Current champion crew “Team Swell Lady” Monique Smith, Matt Andrews & Deb Flannery, had to win today, to retain their title, but needed to enlist a “ring in” boat and 3rd crew, as Monique was away and her boat is still being repaired from damage suffered while sailing on the Clarence River. Matt Andrews took the helm of “Fine Cotton” with Courtney Tiller taking the 3rd seat. All went to plan; Team Swell Lady got the points for 1st place, wrapping up the championship for the 4th year in a row! (Aren’t there two more races yet to go and results are tied between Keenas and Swell Lady? – ed)

Second place was hard fought out by “Keenas” (Mark Reynolds, Marg Walgers & Harriet Raleigh) and “Nimbis” (Scott Jones, Deb Jones & Lex Branch). In the end “Nimbis” got the points, getting home 4 minutes behind Swell Lady and 6 minutes ahead of Keenas.

Student Doctors filling the ranks in the Corsairs! L to R Courtney Tiller, Sophie Todd, Manisha Siriwardena, & Alicia Szwalski

Racing was close throughout the fleet up until the final lap, and the battle to avoid last place was also hard fought; positions at the rear changed continually throughout the afternoon but in the end, Team “Fairlight” (Alison Blatcher, Rachael O’Hagan & Manisha Siriwardena) got home 2 minutes ahead of Team “Minnow”(Bill Fenelon, Ali Szwalski & Sophie Todd).

A stand out performance on the river today came from the clubs International 470 “La Spina”. Sailed by Gunner Scholtz, Leyla Scholtz and Tom Busbridge. Team 470 finished just behind the 2nd Corsair, scoring its’ best result with the club.

This season, Murwillumbah Student doctors discovered sailing and just can’t stay away. We love having them as part of the club and we couldn’t get more enthusiastic sailors. This week they brought more fellow students to join the sailing ranks – travelling from Mudgee to have a break from the drought.

4 of the 5 Corsairs competing in the class championship this week had doctors on board.  Courtney Tiller from Murwillumbah hospital was thrilled to be on the winning boat. Alicia Szwalski and Sophie Todd sailed with Commodore Bill Fenelon, Harriet Raleigh based in Grafton sailed on 3rd placed Corsair Keenas and Manisha Siriwardena had her taste of dinghy sailing with Alison Blatcher on Corsair Fairlight. 

Student Doctor Manisha Siriwardena & Rachael O’Hagan on Corsair “Fairlight”

We look forward to welcoming them all back after their summer break for another 6 months of fun on the river. Next Sunday the sailing club will conduct its last event of the year, 3 short course sprint races, starting early at 10am from Fingal Head

Gusty Conditions for Heat 4

Strong gusty conditions challenged sailors contesting heat 4 of the Tweed Sailing Clubs’ Summer Pointscore Series. Winds increased rapidly after the start with a strong ebbing tide raising choppy conditions. Many boats capsized or had an early retirement.

Today’s fleet of 11 boats included 5 single handers, 6 two handers, & 3 Corsairs sailing 4 handed. Two juniors’ teams competed, both sailing Flying Ants.

Carnage began early with many capsizes. Corsair Capers was capsized and filled with water and struggled to return to the Harbour. Both Flying Ants retired early, but the remainder continued and completed the course.  

3 NS ‘s contested heat 2 of the Tweed River NS14 Class Championship in conditions that favoured boat handling skills, old hand Adam; last year’s class champions, Adam Hurt and Tom Busbridge, had the skills, getting home a solid 4 minutes ahead of Current class leaders Matt Andrews & Igor Prada.

These two teams are now placed equal first in the 2019-2020 summer championship series with 2 races remaining.

The single handers contested their class Yardstick series. First finisher today was Great Grand Master Gary McCrohan who showed true grit to stay on the course and finish, getting a rare win ahead of Kate Yeomans who finished closed behind.

Many sailors were backing up from last weekends’  “Clarence River Bridge to Breakers” Race. Conditions on the Clarence were as rough as usual, with winds reaching 30 knots against a strong running ebb tide.  Tweed River had 5 boats competing in the Standard Mono-hulls division. Local sailor Kate Yeomans won the division in her Laser, against very strong competition,  and “Team Swell Lady”, with an all-male crew, Matt Andrews, Craig Foley And Mark Reynolds scored an impressive 3rd place, well ahead of the rest of the fleet.

Sailing is on again this Sunday at Fingal Head, with racing starting at 1pm. A big fleet is expected for the 3rd heat of the Corsair Class Championship.

11 Boats at the Start

11 boats sailed with the Tweed Valley Sailing Club, on Sunday, as the club conducted Race 10 of its Summer Series.

It was a very pleasant afternoon on the river with a falling tide and North Easterly breeze, sailing was easy and fast. The racing was very close, and many boats used spinnakers.

Fastest today was Kate Yeomans; Laser “Bluey”; Kate dominated today, in what’s becoming a regular pattern, she excelled in the conditions, leaving 2nd place 3 minutes behind.

Second finisher was Laser “Silent Partner” “(John Heywood) and 3rd, Laser, Siesta (Gary McCrohan).

The premier event today was the 2nd Heat of the Northern Rivers Corsair Class Championship.  

6 crews contested heat 2, the teams being slightly mixed this week; “gun” sheet hand Matt Andrews, joining “Team Blatcher” on Alisons hot new boat “Fairlight”. Matt seems to gravitate towards the fastest boat so this could be a sign for Alison, trialing her new boat today for the first time.

Current North Coast Champion, Swell Lady sailed with an all-female crew this week, and were definitely out to stun. And did !

Meanwhile on “Keena as” Mark had his regular crew, Craig Foley as sheet hand, & Marg Walgers up front, these guys were meaning business and would to be very hard to beat.

Getting top points today in the Corsairs was “Keenas” (Mark Reynolds, Craig Foley and Marg Walgers). This win puts Keenas in first place after two races, for the Corsair Class Championship.

Although Keenas got away very quickly from the start and built a strong early lead, they had to fight for it, with second placed “Fairlight” (Blatcher, Andrews & Bernet) only a minute back and closing with a determined effort.

The next 3 Corsairs finished within 30 seconds after a very close race, 3rd went to “Nimbis”, 4th “Swell Lady, and 5th Epic.

Last to finish in Melita 3 was commodore Bill Fenelon, destroying any chance in this year’s championship, came in 20 minutes behind the first finisher. Obviously enjoying the view from a sailing dinghy.  

Juniors sailing is becoming established on the tweed, and this afternoon we had 3 junior crews racing their own boats. These sailors are becoming skilled at the sport and are now using spinnaker’s

The club is supporting a Juniors team at the “Manly Junior” National Championships this summer. We also have several good racing Manly Juniors available to interested junior sailors.  

There will be no organized sailing at Fingal next Sunday, as the club heads south to visit “Big River Sailing Club” at Harwood, to enjoy 2 days sailing on the Clarence.

Our next event in Fingal Head will be on Sunday the 1st of December.

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.