A sunny but cool day greeted the keen sailors for the third day of the winter sailing series on the tweed river at Fingal on Sunday the 16th. A shifty and gusty southerly of 8 to 15 knots promised some exciting competition for those who ventured out onto the river.
The first race of two supposedly “short” sprint races took over 80 minutes for the first boats to finish, but there was plenty of competition throughout the fleet between the nine single-handed lasers, four 3 handed Corsairs, a smattering of NS14 two-handed skiffs with a Taser as well, a Hobie 14 catamaran, a wooden classic Goat Is Skiff, and enthusiastic junior sailor Ari on an X3 3.1mtr dinghy.
The start of the race saw a number of Lasers side by side as they fought to get an advantage up the long first work, playing the shifts and asserting their right of way on starboard. Back in the fleet the Corsairs were pushing up the course as well and contributing to an unscheduled swim by Mauri in his Laser when he was looking well placed after a finely crafted start from the port end of the line.
The rounding of the windward mark didn’t all go according to plan with Peter having to perform a 360 degree turn after causing another Laser to have to avoid him, and Andy hitting the mark due to the tide and having to do a turn as well.
Close racing throughout the fleet followed on through the next eight legs of the course with one of the NS14s seen to have their work cut out with main, jib and spinnaker proving a handful in the gusty conditions.
The NSW Maritime launch was there keeping an eye on proceedings at the ocean end of the course while the fleet spread out over the race course.
Over the length of the race, the lead changed several times, but first over the line at the end was Peter in a Laser, followed by Kate in a smaller Laser rig, then Wayne (visiting from Harwood), Craig and Mauri. Further results of the race can be seen here.
Due to the extended length of the first race, a quick start for those who finished early was implemented for the second promised race, with a shortened one lapper on offer. The best start appeared to be had by Andy in a Laser who sailed straight from the finish of the first with perfect timing to blitz the field from the pin end and take the lead, closely followed by Kate and Wayne in Lasers. The changing nature of the river asserted its dominance on the way upwind with most boats hitting the sandy bottom with their centreboards as the tide fell and sailors tried to get out of the tide in the shallows on the western side of the Tweed.
The end of the second race ended in a little confusion about the number of laps required, but Kate in an under-canvased Laser showed the boys how to sail and took the finisher’s gun, followed by Andy and Wayne.
A special shout-out to Amber sailing her first race flying solo in a Laser, and Wayne making the trip from Harwood to see how we sail in the “little” river. We should all be out there again in two weeks on the 30th.
Words by Peter Fell.