Sunday morning on the river at Fingal Head saw the usual Juniors sailing and training with 25 kids enjoying some fun on the water in the club Sabots & X3 dinghies. Volunteer instructors focus on making the sessions enjoyable with just small amounts of sailing theory to start off. With a wealth of top level sailing experience at the club the Juniors have the potential to become excellent sailors.
Some of the juniors stay on for the afternoon race to crew with seniors on larger boats and will move on to skippering their own boats in Juniors racing next season.
A big turn out for the last major race of the summer series 23 boats with 45 crew including 7 from the Juniors & Teenagers Division.
By the afternoon the stage was set for the most competitive sailing race seen on the Tweed for years – the final heats of the Northern Rivers Corsair and Multihull Class Championships and the final of the 10 race Summer Handicap Series. Some concern about lack of wind was unfounded with the rigging area sheltered from the easterly breeze but conditions on the water turned out to be perfect. The easterly made most legs of the course an easy straight drag race.
The Corsair positions were at nail biting stage. After the previous 4 heats it was still impossible to predict the final championship results for the Corsairs. Top Corsair “Odin” skipper Daniel Sieders only needed a 4th to win the whole series and last year’s winner “Swell Lady” skipper Monique Smith needed to place first to be in the running. The next 3 crews down the ranking all had a chance at 2nd place for the series with a good result today.
So all eyes were on the nine Corsairs for the very crowded start with a lot of close manoeuvring as every skipper tried to be at the ideal start position. Corsair 104 Melita III unfortunately ran out of space at the windward end of the line and had to give way with a speedy U-turn for a 2nd attempt to cross the line still up with the main fleet.
After the gun it was very short leg to the top mark so the 23 boats were still tightly bunched and rounded the next 5 marks sometimes 4 abreast with not one collision being a testament to their skill. Then the long reach up river to the bottom mark started to spread the fleet out. Despite their hitch at thestart Melita III steamed ahead and was in the lead of the Corsair fleet after the first lap – 30 seconds ahead of “Keenas” with “Swell Lady” only 10 seconds behind them. By the 2nd lap Swell Lady had recovered to 2nd place but Melita III was still 2 minutes ahead. The other Corsairs were fighting for placings too with Peter Ross on 107 “Rockin’ Robyn” having his best race to date with crew Mark Storrier from club sponsors Ecomist, they were ahead of another of the usual front runners, 199 “Minnow”, for the first lap and took First overall on
Alison Blatcher, Marg Walgers & Karen Vidler brought Melita III home for her first win of the season over 5 minutes in front of 2 nd placed “Swell Lady” (Monique Smith, Matthew Andrews, Deborah Flannery) with only 10 seconds behind in 3rd “Minnow” (Bill Fenelon, Max Hennessy & Robert Preston). Jimmy Nickless would be pleased with 4th for first time on the helm of “Epic” with Peter Skinner and only 20 seconds behind Peter Ross came in 5th. “Keenas” (Mark Reynolds, Craig Foley, Taj Krasna) dropped back to 6th with in 7th “Nimbus” (Kevin Bourke, Sally Machray & Filipe Saraiva). 8th was Adam Hurt who left his NS14 at home to skipper “Capers” in his first Corsair race with regular crew Tom Busbridge alongside Mick “Beef” O’Keefe and managed to beat “Odin” in a surprise final result with Odin’s crew cheering everyone on from the back of the fleet!
Multihulls also had their final yardstick based championship race today with 3 boats competing John & Saffron Cooke took 1 st on Weta “Scored a Tri”. All sailors were also competing in the last of the 10 race series of the individual handicap point-score to get their name on the big trophy awarded at the annual dinner. The final results of all 5 heats of the class champs will be announced then too – so the wait’s not over yet!
Kate Yeomans must be in with a chance – she took 1 st out of the 7 Lasers but none of them could beat Tim Brown on his Impulse. Andrew Jaggers from Summit Organics in Tyalgum has been the clubs most enthusiastic new member. He tried a Laser for the first time this week – the fifth? Class of dinghy he has enthusiastically jumped on board to date.
New skipper Rainer Glasker with crew Tara Beth had their best race yet in the club’s Access 303. They are looking for more competitors in this division for next season. 2 more Access dinghies are available for racing supplied by Sailability on Tweed and Mirrors, Sabots etc. can also compete. Get in touch if you are interested – all abilities welcome.
We take a break for a few weeks, before the Winter Season starts anew. Hopefully we’ll also see everyone at the Presentation Dinner!