Sailing Club’s 6th Tweed River Marathon – Best Ever!

At the helm with Alison Blatcher.

The Race day morning saw a chilly start, the Condong Sugar Mill chimney showed there was a good breeze but this was all to change. The crowd started to roll up at Clarrie Purnell Park before 7am and soon there were eggs and bacon sizzling and the kettle boiling, the catering team kept the sailors well fed and ready for what started to look like being a truly marathon race.  The TVSC Safety boat crew – Reg Court, Garry Bargh and Richard Roberts had an early start at Fingal – launching the RIBS and heading off upstream to Condong. Roland Schwertner and Rick from Richmond River SC arrived early too and the Murwillumbah Rowing club boat was also ready to go. We welcomed visitors from Oxley SC, Brisbane Sailing Squadron, RQYS (Manly) and the largest contingent from TSS (The Southport School) bringing 6 Pacers. All boats 27 boats were on the water, the starters at the ready ….and the breeze died to nothing. So as the start horn sounded a burst of laughter went around the boats as they sat in the water not moving! This soon changed and the fleet moved off with the wind behind them, brightly coloured spinnakers were hauled up and they disappeared around the bend towards Tumbulgum.

Spectators waved along the river bank and the wind started to pick up as the fleet arrived at Tumbulgum and navigated under the bridge and on towards rainforested Stotts Island.

Three classes of boat were well represented this year – the 3 handed Corsairs (8 boats), 2 handed Pacers (6) and singlehanded Impulses (5). There were also 4 Lasers. In the Corsairs Alison Blatcher, skippering 683 Fairlight with crew Karen Vidler and Imogen Potts had an impressive lead for nearly half of the race but a couple of lulls in wind and river currents spinning them in a full circle at one point saw them start to lose the lead. Corsair 490 Keenas (Mark Reynolds, Marg Walgers & Craig Foley)  crept up and flew past through the Stotts Island narrows never to be caught again. In the very last stretch of the race at Chinderah Corsair 396 Nimbus (Scott Jones and daughter Caitlyn) also over took Fairlight and they fought to the finish line ending just 6 seconds in front of the early leader.

The Pacers sailing without spinnakers were the slowest boats in the fleet but were still only a minute behind the last Corsair at the finish line. After 3 and a half hours of sailing, 3 of the 6 Pacers still managed to finish only 1 second apart. Xavier Doer and Keely Whitaker from TSS took out 1st with TVSC members Igor Prado and junior Kynan Luecher, sailing a Pacer for the first time, coming in 2nd followed by TSS crew Monet Mooney and Jess Sabin. TVSC juniors Isaac Poulsen with Layla Scholz also sailed a Pacer for the first time. This was Isaac’s first time skippering in the Tumbulgum race – he was up with the 1st placed Pacer for much of the race and so should be very pleased. The flukey breeze that this race is known for caught them out and left the other 3 Pacers 10 minutes behind the others by the finish.

In huge contrast to the becalmed start the sailors faced 15-23 knot gusts as they came to the Chinderah reach with the wind coming from all and any directions. They had to be on their toes not to end up going for a swim which made for an exciting last leg. The smiles as they crossed the line may have had a tinge of relief to them!


An unusual boat sailed by Mark Harper, a Devoti D zero, led the fleet for most of the way. Laser sailor John Pring on “Fig Jam” put in a heroic effort to keep up with him and hung on to be second across the line just over 3 hours after the start. The Lasers and the Impulses played cat and mouse all the way to the finish line – all of them excellent and very experienced sailors so after John crossed the next 3 were only seconds apart – Peter Fell (Impulse Mr Plow) then Mike Robinson (Impulse Plymouth) and TVSC’s Kate Yeomans (Laser Radial Bluey). TVSC’s Adam Hurt from Fingal took the 3rd place in the Impulses on Rosie, by far the oldest Impulse in the fleet.


Commendations also go to the Dads celebrating early for Fathers Day. Jan Trueman and daughter Ruby from Chillingham sailing their Tasar for the very first time; Matthew Plummer and son Finley sailed one of TSS’s Pacers and David Robinson with son Hugh sailed their NS14. It was a cold race after the Tasar and the Pacer both went for a swim but they made it to the finish line and Ruby, Finley and Hugh will have many stories to tell their friends at school this week.

Once the finish times were adjusted for the different boat speeds Peter Fell from Oxley SC in Brisbane came out this year’s Tumbulgum Passage Champion and took home a voucher for a Husk Distillery Tour for two. Other great prizes donated by local businesses included Red Box Gym and Gold Coast Yoga monthly passes, vouchers for Cubby Bakehouse, Tyalgum Gelato, Watersports Guru and Tweed River seafoods so everyone went home happy.

We look forward to doing it all again next year – with maybe a few practice sails up to Tumbulgum for lunch and back to Fingal before the next marathon race comes round. If you would like to be part of this great event next year – come and join us for the start of our summer season. Get involved in sailing or as part of our enthusiastic support team – we’d love to have you on board.

Last Race of the Season

At the Helm with Bill Fenelon.

Several TVSC members were away for Hamilton Island Race week so a smaller than usual fleet of 9 boats competed in the final day of the Winter Series last Sunday.

Three 1 lap races were contested in a blustery Northerly wind reaching 21knots breeze, which was gusty and unpredictable making conditions difficult for the sailors on the river, so the sailors really earned their post-race sausages!

Joining the Tweed River fleet for the first time today were locals Steve and Tai Grimes, sailing an International 420. These guys had an enjoyable first afternoon and easily beat the Corsair fleet.  The top boat today was a visitor to the Tweed. Single Hander, Impulse “Sapphire” sailed by Oxley Sailing Club Commodore Keith Briers. Keith was fastest in two of the three races and only dropped to second, missing first place by only 7 seconds to Laser “Siesta” sailed by Gary McCrohan from Tyalgum. Also sailing a Laser, Maurie Meyer was only a few seconds back who took third place.

Four boats competed in the Three Handed one design Corsair division, fastest today was “Nimbus” (Scott, Debbie, and Sahara Jones), winning all 3 races, and second was “Keenas” (Mark Reynolds, Marg Walgers and Garry Bargh).

Next Saturday 31st, the club hosts its premiere event, the long-distance Tumbulgum Passage race, starting from Clarrie Purnell Park in Condong at 10.30am and finishing at Fingal – when they get there. The sailing boats really brighten up the river and are a great spectacle to enjoy from various places along the River foreshores.  It’s taken between 3 and 6 hours in the past so it can be a long day on the river – cheers from the river bank at Tumbulgum and Chinderah really help the crews so come down and follow the race. This will be the 6th annual running of this event which attracts sailors from Brisbane and all the Northern Rivers with around 30 boats entering.

The Club asks that other river users are aware they may encounter sailing boats at any place along the river this Saturday.  TVSC acknowledges the support of local businesses sponsoring this Saturdays race: Hakka Hire, Red Box Gym, The Water Sports Guru, Cubby Bakehouse Café, Tweed River Seafoods and Body Connection Pilates.

Winter Sailing

Despite the cold weather the “Try Sailing” session on Sunday 23 June was fully booked. Three Corsairs were kept busy racing up and down the river with keen new crews getting an exciting first sail in 18 knot gusty winds. All are keen to come back for more action to crew in the remaining 3 winter races at Fingal on 14 July, 11 & 25 Aug.

The big Winter event is the Tumbulgum Passage Condong to Fingal Race which finishes off the season on Saturday 31 August starting at 10.30am at Clarrie Purnell Park in Condong – it’s a fun day for spectators to follow with great viewing from Tumbulgum, Chinderah and Fingal.

Juniors & Teens Sailing will continue in July and then take a break in August. There are big plans for the 2019-20 season for our young sailors with Australian Sailing qualified instructors coming on board and a fleet of six Manly Juniors soon to be arriving at the club ready for race training sessions with an option of attending the MJ National titles in Sydney in January. These boats have been fully funded by the MJ Association – thanks to their generosity and to the determination of our soon to be competition coach, Nicole Bushnell, for making this happen.

We’d also like to welcome out 100th member for the 2018-19 season, Dan Watts and family from Burleigh Waters. With a growing membership, 8 year old Tweed Valley SC has been impressing the sailing community far and wide – famous for our friendly and fun spirit. TVSC is really proving that sailing isn’t an exclusive sport – it’s available for anyone who wants to have a go.

Congratulations to members Alison Blatcher and Robert Preston who have both made it to the shortlist of finalists in Australian Sailing’s annual awards; Alison for volunteer of the year award and Robert for Sport promotion award, the only regional club to be represented at the NSW awards.

Sailing at Fingal Head last Sunday

Last Sunday the Tweed Valley Sailing Club hosted the 2nd race of its 2019 Winter Series. It was a lovely sunny autumn day with a gentle North westerly breeze and a flooding tide all afternoon.

Today’s event consisted of 3 short races (Sprint races). 17 boats with 38 crew competed in 3 major divisions, including 5 single handed Lasers, 5 two handed NS14’s and 6 three handed Corsairs.

The easy and pleasant sailing conditions contributed to the racing being extremely close.

Fastest boat on the course was Dave Chester in a Hobie 16 winning race 1 & 2 with Race 3 going to NS14 “Flight 12” (Adam Hurt & Tom Busbridge)

Fastest Mono Hull in Race 1 was NS14 “Pura Vida” (Robert Preston & Hannah Witten) while 30 seconds back was “Impulsive Max” (Matt Andrews & Igor Prado)

Fastest mono-hull race 2 was NS14 “Impulsive Max” and 20 seconds back 2nd place was NS14 “Flight 12” (Adam Hurt & Tom Busbridge)

Fastest in race 3 NS14 “Flight 12” and 18 seconds back “Impulsive Max” getting 2nd place.

Fastest single-handed Laser was Gary McCrohan winning races 1 & 2 with “Bluey (Kate Yeomans) getting Race 3.

Corsairs were again the biggest class. Winning all 3 races “Minnow” (Bill Fenelon, Deb Flannery & Ami Spicer) The sailing clubs next event will be held next Sunday the 2nd of June.

Bill Fenelon – TVSC Commodore.

Welcome Back!

Greetings all – please take a minute to read this…

Our “month off” is nearly over, not that we haven’t been busy in April, with three excellent weekday sessions for juniors and teens.Lots of new recruits – so a BIG WELCOME to all the new families, we are looking forward to seeing you at our regular events starting next Sunday.

The Winter Calendar (draft) is now available.

We have a new short term boat hire agreement and hire fees in place, for those wanting to use club boats

Our next Committee Meeting will probably be on the 11th of May

  • START OF SEASON WORKING BEE – Proposed Date Mornings: Sat 11 May or Sat 18 May or Sun 19 May – please advise availability. Hoping to do some more planting around container as well as a big tidy up.
  • ANNUAL PRESENTATION DINNER  – all welcome – family friendly, not a late finish. Venue and date should be finalised next week – aiming for 15 or 16 June – alternative date Sunday 15 July.
  • Try Sailing dates will be announced as they are scheduled,  by email. (we need skippers & someone to organise these)
  • Duty Officers – please book yourself in for a race date or 2.  
  • Sorry no Juniors/Teens session next Sunday morning (5 May) but all welcome to find crew spots or skipper Sabots or X3s in the afternoon race.

and …..Get involved – the more people who get involved, the less we all have to do and the better our club will be.

It is too much for the current small team so take on a small responsibility… and then train someone else to do it.Here are some of the things you could do

  • Race Duty Officer Roster manager (making sure we have a duty officer for each race)
  • Catering Team – need a roster manager for Race BBQs
  • Forms “Office Manager” (making sure we have copies of indemnity forms, parent consent forms, etc etc)
  • Two more EMAIL Secretaries – to respond to enquires etc
  • Juniors Team Roster and dates organiser.
  • Juniors Bookings – via gmail reponses onto a Google Spreadsheet
  • Annual Dinner organising Team
  • Race results entry to Halsail
  • Tumbulgum Passage Race Team (Race Sat 31 Aug)
  • Skippers to do Try Sailing sessions – + a Try Sailing Organiser.
  • Committee Secretary … not a big job, but the club doesn’t run without one.
  • Merchandise – Back up Membership Officer- ready to take over in October?
  • Back up Treasurer – ready to take over in October?
  • Boat maintenance (repairs to trailers/Corsairs etc)
  • and many more fun ways to be involved …… what about a trip to a trivia night

Big thanks to Liz Grace who has been reorgansing all the life jackets each week … bottom rack Juniors, Top rack adults .. order: small – Large. Anyone want to look after the Wet Shoes ? …need to be taken home every so often for a good wash.

Enjoy your week and see you next Sunday.  

Northern Rivers NS14 Training Clinic

New and experienced NS14 sailors from the Tweed Valley Sailing Club are welcome to attend a training clinic on the weekend of 6-7 April at the Big River Sailing Club.

For details and booking information go to
At least 3 boats from Tvsc will be going … Adam Hurt in his new Flight 24, Matt Andrews in Impulsive Max and Robert Preston in his new Aero 9 Pura Vida.

TVSC Member Robert Preston is organising the event with support of the NSW NS14 association.

Contact Robert for more information at

Final Race of the Summer Season

Last Sunday the sailing club conducted its last race for the summer season. 14 boats competed, and fortunately, the breeze picked up and it turned into a pleasant afternoon on the river.

Fastest boat was visitor Jason Purcell, from Big River Sailing Club, sailing a high-tech Carbon Fibre single handed RS Aero, one minute back 2nd finisher, NS14 “Zazen 2” (Adam Hurt and Tom Busbridge). The ultra-light weight RS Aero was always going to be hard to beat in the light wind conditions. Third finisher, one minute back, was Laser “Siesta” (Gary McCrohan) who got in only 5 seconds ahead of Laser “Bluey” (Kate Yeomans).

Five Single Handers competed in their Yardstick based championship series. 1st Finisher was Siesta, Second Bluey, 3rd Impulse “Woodcraft” (Matt Andrews) and 4th “Flying Dragon” (Monique Smith).

The big event today was the final heat of the 4-race, NS14 Class Championship series. This is a scratch series for 14ft two handed boats. Getting the bullet today in a sparse field of only 3 boats was Fingal Team Adam Hurt and Tom Busbridge in their new boat, “Zazen 2” getting home 6 minutes ahead of 2nd placed Impulsive Max (Robert Preston & Rachael O’Hara). The NS14 fleet was decimated 2 months ago after two top boats were severely damaged by Waves created by Wake Surfing boats and these two boats have been unable to return to compete this season. One of these was last years Champion NS14 Tornado.

As usual the 3 handed 16ft spinnaker Corsair Class raced for the summer point score in strong numbers. Four boats competed with first home being “Keenas” (Mark Reynolds & all female ring in crew, Marg Walgers & Deb Flannery) while one minute behind was “Minnow” sailing four handed (Bill Fenelon, Laura Leimola, Kynan Luescher & Taj Krasna).

Meanwhile Tweed Sailors are preparing for State Championships at other clubs. Dave Chester and Deb Flannery competed with 13 Hobie 16’s, raced on Waterloo Bay from Manly boat harbour in a trial race for the state championships. After a 2-race series, Dave and Deb scored a respectable 4th place. Meanwhile Robert Preston with crew Miles will be competing in the next Heron class Australian Championship.

The sailing club would like to extend they’re thanks to the NSW Maritime Authorities “Boating Safety Officer” who patrolled the Fingal Reach on Sunday. Using a Jet Ski, the Officer was un-noticed and kept the river safe for sailing and passive river users.

Next Sunday at Fingal there will be social sailing and Juniors sailing, but no racing now till the Winter series starts in May.

Anybody wishing to get involved in Sailing on the Tweed should contact Club Commodore, Bill Fenelon on 0411 123 4052.