Record Breaking 2017 Tumbulgum Passage Race

A gale warning issued on Saturday put the wind up some of the entrants who pulled out at the last minute from the Tweed Valley Sailing Club’s Tumbulgum Passage Race. Sunday morning brought sunshine and a just the right amount of SSW breeze to reward the 18 entrants, 3 safety boats, 1 spectator boat and all the spectators along the river bank with the fastest Condong to Fingal race to date. The forecast turned out to be correct, no gales but an unpredictable 12 to 22 knots to keep the sailors working hard.

Dave Chester & Isaac Poulsen on Hobie 16 “Sledder” took line honours from Glenn Slight (Maricat) who, after leadng for part of the race, blew his chance for glory this year with a nose dive capsize just after the Chinderah bridge. Gary McCrohon (Laser) also broke the monuhulls record he came in 44minutes and 58 seconds faster than the previous record held by Kim Stokes on a 505 in 2015.

This years race was made for the multihulls & the spinnaker flying Corsairs with the wind direction giving everyone a downwind run all the way from Condong to Fingal.

As usual, racing was close between the 5 Olympic Class Lasers including visitor Peter Fell from Brisbane Sailing Squadron. The TVSC’s arch rivals John Hayward & Gary McCrohon fought for the lead all the way, finishing 1 min 19 seconds apart with Gary maintaining his winning run. Chris Ruston, a welcome visitor from Gold Coast Yacht Club, came in third on “Cookie Monster”.

“Swell Lady” Monique Smith takes the Corsair prize again

The record fleet of 9 three handed Corsairs were even closer at the finish. Monique Smith, Azo Bell and Tom Busbridge on Swell Lady finally beat Bill Fenelon, Max Hennessy & Steve Holden on 199 “Minnow” by only 57 seconds after they both displayed expert spinnaker work that saw them sharing the lead out ahead of the other 7 Corsairs. Minnow was well out in front until the Stotts Island “wind graveyard” got them and Swell Lady took the lead never to be caught again…. until next time. Also well sailed to 2 Corsairs competing in this race for the first time – Josh Ferguson & Grant Banning on 1107 Peggy and Tom Molloy and Matt Plummer on 616.

Top Prize goes to Local Teacher Lex Branch

The Overall Championship was taken out by Impulse sailor Lex Branch from Bilambil Heights on “Splitter”. He takes the beautiful timber and fired glass river design trophy home that he made for the club. Lex is a maths teacher and Duke of Edinburgh leader at All Saints and a jewellery designer and keen bush walker when not sailing.

The winning caterers were Jo & Geoff Carter, Elaine Brown & Sandy Sorensen , Time keepers Suzanne Blatcher, Kurt Lusecher & Stacey Bech. Safety Boat crews Bryan Towsend, Michael Stephan, Lydia Salvagno, Murwillumbah Rowing club’s Tim Rose & Michael Mills and Rescue Rolly (Roland Schwertner) from Richmond River SC. “We all had a ball – the celebrations went on until sunset and we’re already planning next years race” said race organiser Alison Blatcher.

Tweed Valley SC now takes a month off racing giving the Juniors time to practice and try out some new boats on Sunday mornings. Racing will be back in October. If you want to have a go at sailing in September get in touch with Dave or Alison or call 0434 982 922.