Due to the conditions of the river, Sunday’s race will be postponed to another date, yet to be determined.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
The Tweed Valley Sailing Club always welcomes new members and no experience (or boat) is needed.
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.
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.
On Saturday 9 November, TVSC held their first SheSails sailing day, the Sisterhood of Sailing. It was a very casual day, with two lasers and one corsair sailing the beautiful waters of Tweed River.
When we set sail it was over 16 knots, sailing up the river towards Chinderah, returning for a bite to eat at the Sheoak Cafe, where the girls sat and chatted in a more relaxed atmosphere.
After lunch, the girls went out again, with dolphins following the boats – it was magical!
The day’s participants were Kate, Deborah, Alison, Rachael, Karen and Monique. The day was a huge success, with Alison saying she hadn’t enjoyed sailing so much for a long time.
Another sailing day will be held in the new year and we encourage our other club members to come and going the sisterhood of sailing.
If you have any ideas or enquiries for future events, please contact Monique via the club website.
Last weekend 5 boats and 9 sailors from the Tweed travelled to Ballina for Richmond River SC’s Annual Regatta and the celebration of the 50th year of their club house. Andy Lamont and Craig Foley tried their luck on a Tasar for the first time – they may not have won any prizes but plenty of fun was had and at least they completed the course. Also attending, all defeated by the tricky conditions, were Gary-Macca-McCrohon on Laser Siesta, Corsair Melita III skippered by Alison Blatcher with Courtney Tiller & Sebastian; Andrew-Chillingman of Chillingham-Jaggers and Bronwyn sailed a Pacer, also for the first time.
TVSC’s Kate Yeomans on Laser Bluey showed her stamina in completing a course that many of the other sailors faltered on and took first place overall – showing her skill at holding the boat flat at top speed even in 20 knot gusts. Thanks to RRSRC members for an excellent day – followed by tall sailing tails on the club balcony watching the sunset with live music from local band Broadfoot.
The next day, back in Fingal Head, was the second heat of the popular Sprint Series – short back to back races honing everyone’s start-line skills. All were relieved that the wind had eased off (no one wanted another 30 knot race) and 13 Boats with 24 crew competed on the tight course.
Congratulations to NS14 Impulsive Matt skipper Matt Andrews and Igor Prado from Ocean Shores who took out first place on scratch in all 4 races. Adam Hurt and Tom Busbridge on NS14 Flight XXIV from Fingal Head almost had them in race 3 – only 3 seconds behind – four 2nd places for them. Gary McCrohon (Tyalgum) was first in the Lasers for 3 of the 4 races with John Hayward (Fingal) taking a hard fought 1st in the 2nd race.
Four boats competed in the Corsair class with Scott, Debbie and Sahara Jones coming first on Corsair Nimbus for 3 of the 4 with Peter Skinner never far behind on Epic with crew Doug Haig and Gail Bernet. Gail has recently taken up sailing at age 70+. She keeps coming back even after the wild rides and capsizes of the last few weeks.
Our very much appreciated support team, safety boat driver Reg Court, Lex Branch and timekeeper Suzanne Blatcher enjoyed the day too. Suzanne has been the club’s regular timekeeper for the last few year – at age 86 she enjoys being involved with the club but can’t be tempted onto the water any more.
Apologies to all for the recent lack of sailing news especially our avid sailing report readers Noel and Christine Fenelon. We look forward to having our usual reporter back from sea and hard at work on the keyboard in a couple of weeks. Want to sail with us or join the support team? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Next race at Fingal Sunday 10 Nov 10am.
At the briefing, with an average reported wind speed of 21 knots, but gusts reaching 29, we decided that racing was on! Eight boats with 19 crew readied up on the beach, including two junior crews in their Flying Ants, who could just not be dissuaded from having a go.
However, before the start, three boats were already out with capsizes and gear breakages.
Sid and Skye, in Sid’s Flying Ant, made it to the top mark of the first leg. A tremendous effort.
Every boat went for a swim, except for the Weta and Mark and the crew on the Corsair, Keenas.
The across the line finishers were Monique and crew on the Corsair Swell Lady, followed by Dave and Isaac on the Hobie 16, followed by Keenas. Three finishes. Total.
See you next time!
The Sheoak Shack Cafe is having their 20th anniversary this coming Saturday.
Our club started in the sheoak and they have always allowed us to hold meetings there and stayed open late on race days.
Go along and show your support!
This month the TVSC Juniors packed up the boats, loaded their tents (and their families) and headed south to the mighty Clarence River for the first of a series of Australian Sailing run Youth training camps. The venue was the envy of all sailing clubs, especially “container club” TVSC. The brand new club house at Big River Sailing Club in Harwood with camping in the spacious club grounds by the river was ideal. The kids were also impressed with their young kiwi instructor, George Martin – he did an excellent job along with assistance from TVSC’s Nicole Bushnell with the race training group who sailed in their first full length race on the Saturday afternoon.
Morgan and Miles Bushnell (13 & 10) from Eviron had their Manly Junior “M&M” flying. They’re looking forward to being joined on the water at Fingal Head this summer in the TVSC’s newly acquired fleet of 6 Manly Juniors. Kynan Luescher (12) from Fingal made a big step up from our X3 training boats to a 4.7 Laser (smaller sail than a full rig Laser) and Konnor Wheeler isn’t far off doing the same.
Lots of new sailing buddies were made and our youngsters learned a lot from George and all the other sailors. It was a great experience for them and a fun weekend for all the families too.
Back on the Tweed, we’ve had our AGM and the committee welcomes new Club Secretary Garry Bargh from Ocean Shores.
Our “She Sails” Rep Monique Smith would also like to hear from you if you’re keen to join some women’s sailing events this season – there’s always room for more!