Tweed Valley Sailing club kicked of its 10th Summer Sailing series on Sunday with 14 boats sailed by 22 crew, in a perfect sunny afternoon on the Fingal reach of the Tweed River with a gentle 10 knot breeze.
This season represents a milestone and a big occasion for the club; conceived by a small group of totally inexperienced enthusiasts, with the dream of creating a sailing club on a River where the sport had been inactive for nearly 20 years since the demise of the very popular Tweed Aquatic club in the early 90’s.
Re-starting local sailing in humble circumstances, 3 boats competed in the first race at the end of 2010, and we didn’t know if it would survive a second year, but the sailing club prospered and flourished to become a vibrant and active sport alternative for the local community, conducting regular racing all year round in an unbroken run through to this Sundays Race. Of the people who founded the club and sailed that day back in 2010, 4 were sailing this Sunday, and many have stayed with the club throughout its years.
The TVSC has a unique racing fleet of mostly Australian designed, multi crewed single hulled sailing dinghies. The 3 handed Corsair class is a sixteen-foot, three handed sailing dinghy. The boat was designed by Australian designer Alan Payne who is famous for designing Sir Frank Packer’s America’s Cup challenge yachts Gretel and Gretel II. Some of these boats are now over 50 years old, but are ideally suited to the shallow Tweed River. They have flourished in our club since being introduced by original club member, Alison Blatcher, in our first year. Local sailors recognised its merits and our club adopted the class. We now have the largest fleet of Corsairs in Australia, we also have the top 3 Corsair sailors in the country including current Australian Champion Arron Hunt.
Another class raced is the Australian NS14 (Northbridge Senior); 14 feet in length, the class was designed in 1960, older than Corsairs, but being a development class, it has evolved into a modern contemporary racing skiff, raced by some of Australia’s best sailors. These are a very popular and nationwide class, with development in the early years happening right here in the Tweed, the class is raced in all the Northern Rivers. But TVSC has the largest fleet in country NSW.
Some members like to sail single handed, and the club also has a very competitive fleet of the Olympic Class Laser.
For a little club, existing only in a shipping container, we have been very successful and can boast some of our countries top racing sailors. We recently had a visit from Olympic 470 Gold Medallists’ Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan, accompanied by sailing legend Ian Murray. These guys normally hang out in the biggest European Yacht clubs, but they loved our little container in the bushes beside the Fingal boat Harbour and the crystal-clear waters of the Lower Tweed.
Race One of the 2020 Summer series included three short races. The fleet included 5 Lasers, 4 Corsairs and 3 NS14’s.
Making their senior sailing debut on NS14 Zazen, junior team, Tom Busbridge and Layla Shultz, raced as a team for the first time, and put in a great performance completing the races, but found the step up into adult racing a challenge, however they will only get better very quickly. Tom was ecstatic about getting over the line in front of Capers in race 2, beating fellow Junior Kynan Leuscher.
The next race will be Sunday the 11th of October. Briefing is at 12 noon and the race starts at 13:00 There may be several crew positions available, phone Commodore Bill Fenelon for details