First Race of the Year

The Tweed Valley Sailing club hosted the first race of the year on Sunday at Fingal Head, with a very competitive fleet turning up, and some crew shortening their holidays to compete.

The main event today was the 3rd heat of the NS14 class championship with 5 top boats competing, and the series wide open; while a reduced fleet of 3 Lasers contested the single handers yardstick championship, and 2 Corsairs joined the fleet for heat 6 of the summer handicap point score.

With the championship tied after 2 races, the top boats were keen to score good results.

Sailing conditions were good, but challenging with some big wind shifts and a strong Flooding tide lining up with a Northerly breeze forcing crews to work hard to get up the 3 x one mile long windward legs. It was a very hot day and the occasional splash from the Tweed River was very welcomed.

Taking the bullet in the Summer Pointscore Handicap series, Kate Yeomans in her Laser “Bluey” sailed very well, as she usually does, and took full advantage of the wind & tide situation.

Matt looks back…at the rest of the fleet.

In the Championship Series, making sure of it and getting the bullet, NS14 “Impulsive Max”, sailed by a determined Matt Andrews and Igor Prada,  easily outpaced the fleet finishing 3 minutes ahead of 2nd Placed “Flight 24”(Adam Hurt & Tom Busbridge), while 3rd placed ”On & Off” (Dave Robinson & Hugh Robinson) getting home 1 minute ahead of Pura Vida (Robert Preston & Kynan Luescher).

Two races remain in the Class Championship and Impulsive Max now leads the series with Flight 24 moving back to second.

Robert and Kynan on Pura Vida

Meanwhile in the Single Handers race, Laser Sailor, Kate Yeomans on “Bluey”, was initially challenged by Laser Grand Master Gary McCrohan until Gary decided it was too hot and headed for a Bar somewhere; anywhere that had cold beer. Kate finished first in this division and only a minute behind the first NS14.

Also in a single hander today was Corsair Class Champion Monique Smith, scoring 2nd place in a Laser, and she probably really enjoyed beating all the Corsairs.

Keenas crew

TVSC’s Corsair Fleet were sailing today finalizing preparations and team work to compete in the Corsair Class Australia Championships, being held in Budgeowoi on the 1st and 2nd of February.

Sailing conditions on the Tweed were very pleasant and all crews enjoyed the afternoon sailing.

The Next Race at Fingal Head will be on the 16th of February. This will be heat 4 of the NS14 Championship and Single Handers Yardstick Championship. Adults and Juniors are welcome to come down and crew on a boat. No experience is necessary and you will learn to sail for free!!

Sailing on Sunday

Last Sunday the Tweed Valley Sailing Club hosted its penultimate race for the year, Race 5 of the summer Pointscore Series and heat 3 of the Corsair Class Championship.

11 boats competed including five “3 handed” Corsairs, joined by a mixed fleet , an NS14, a Laser, a Int.470 a Hobie 16 and 2 X3’s

Conditions were variable; wind SE 16 to 24 knots, and an ebbing tide combined made for long beats to windward, favouring the NS14s but hard work for the Corsairs.

Fastest by a long way, Dave Chester and Sid Willis on Hobie 16 “Sledder”, lapped most of the fleet, redeeming Dave for the day he was beaten by a Corsair.

NS14 On & Off Dave & Cooper Robinson , first mono hull finishers

First mono hull to finish today, 20 minutes behind the Hobie, NS14 “On & Off”, sailed by father/son team Dave and Cooper Robinson.  These guys won the start and established a strong early lead, getting home first and beating the first Corsair by nine minutes.

Second to finish, one minute astern was Laser “Siesta” sailed by “Great Grand Master” Gary McCrohan. Gary always sails well in these conditions and was 7 minutes ahead of the first Corsair.

The big race today was the 3rd heat of the Northern Rivers Corsair Championship, contested by 5 boats and 15 crew.

Student Doctors, Alicia Szwalski and Sophie Todd sailed with Commodore Bill Fenelon on Corsair “Minnow”

Current champion crew “Team Swell Lady” Monique Smith, Matt Andrews & Deb Flannery, had to win today, to retain their title, but needed to enlist a “ring in” boat and 3rd crew, as Monique was away and her boat is still being repaired from damage suffered while sailing on the Clarence River. Matt Andrews took the helm of “Fine Cotton” with Courtney Tiller taking the 3rd seat. All went to plan; Team Swell Lady got the points for 1st place, wrapping up the championship for the 4th year in a row! (Aren’t there two more races yet to go and results are tied between Keenas and Swell Lady? – ed)

Second place was hard fought out by “Keenas” (Mark Reynolds, Marg Walgers & Harriet Raleigh) and “Nimbis” (Scott Jones, Deb Jones & Lex Branch). In the end “Nimbis” got the points, getting home 4 minutes behind Swell Lady and 6 minutes ahead of Keenas.

Student Doctors filling the ranks in the Corsairs! L to R Courtney Tiller, Sophie Todd, Manisha Siriwardena, & Alicia Szwalski

Racing was close throughout the fleet up until the final lap, and the battle to avoid last place was also hard fought; positions at the rear changed continually throughout the afternoon but in the end, Team “Fairlight” (Alison Blatcher, Rachael O’Hagan & Manisha Siriwardena) got home 2 minutes ahead of Team “Minnow”(Bill Fenelon, Ali Szwalski & Sophie Todd).

A stand out performance on the river today came from the clubs International 470 “La Spina”. Sailed by Gunner Scholtz, Leyla Scholtz and Tom Busbridge. Team 470 finished just behind the 2nd Corsair, scoring its’ best result with the club.

This season, Murwillumbah Student doctors discovered sailing and just can’t stay away. We love having them as part of the club and we couldn’t get more enthusiastic sailors. This week they brought more fellow students to join the sailing ranks – travelling from Mudgee to have a break from the drought.

4 of the 5 Corsairs competing in the class championship this week had doctors on board.  Courtney Tiller from Murwillumbah hospital was thrilled to be on the winning boat. Alicia Szwalski and Sophie Todd sailed with Commodore Bill Fenelon, Harriet Raleigh based in Grafton sailed on 3rd placed Corsair Keenas and Manisha Siriwardena had her taste of dinghy sailing with Alison Blatcher on Corsair Fairlight. 

Student Doctor Manisha Siriwardena & Rachael O’Hagan on Corsair “Fairlight”

We look forward to welcoming them all back after their summer break for another 6 months of fun on the river. Next Sunday the sailing club will conduct its last event of the year, 3 short course sprint races, starting early at 10am from Fingal Head

Gusty Conditions for Heat 4

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.

11 Boats at the Start

11 boats sailed with the Tweed Valley Sailing Club, on Sunday, as the club conducted Race 10 of its Summer Series.

It was a very pleasant afternoon on the river with a falling tide and North Easterly breeze, sailing was easy and fast. The racing was very close, and many boats used spinnakers.

Fastest today was Kate Yeomans; Laser “Bluey”; Kate dominated today, in what’s becoming a regular pattern, she excelled in the conditions, leaving 2nd place 3 minutes behind.

Second finisher was Laser “Silent Partner” “(John Heywood) and 3rd, Laser, Siesta (Gary McCrohan).

The premier event today was the 2nd Heat of the Northern Rivers Corsair Class Championship.  

6 crews contested heat 2, the teams being slightly mixed this week; “gun” sheet hand Matt Andrews, joining “Team Blatcher” on Alisons hot new boat “Fairlight”. Matt seems to gravitate towards the fastest boat so this could be a sign for Alison, trialing her new boat today for the first time.

Current North Coast Champion, Swell Lady sailed with an all-female crew this week, and were definitely out to stun. And did !

Meanwhile on “Keena as” Mark had his regular crew, Craig Foley as sheet hand, & Marg Walgers up front, these guys were meaning business and would to be very hard to beat.

Getting top points today in the Corsairs was “Keenas” (Mark Reynolds, Craig Foley and Marg Walgers). This win puts Keenas in first place after two races, for the Corsair Class Championship.

Although Keenas got away very quickly from the start and built a strong early lead, they had to fight for it, with second placed “Fairlight” (Blatcher, Andrews & Bernet) only a minute back and closing with a determined effort.

The next 3 Corsairs finished within 30 seconds after a very close race, 3rd went to “Nimbis”, 4th “Swell Lady, and 5th Epic.

Last to finish in Melita 3 was commodore Bill Fenelon, destroying any chance in this year’s championship, came in 20 minutes behind the first finisher. Obviously enjoying the view from a sailing dinghy.  

Juniors sailing is becoming established on the tweed, and this afternoon we had 3 junior crews racing their own boats. These sailors are becoming skilled at the sport and are now using spinnaker’s

The club is supporting a Juniors team at the “Manly Junior” National Championships this summer. We also have several good racing Manly Juniors available to interested junior sailors.  

There will be no organized sailing at Fingal next Sunday, as the club heads south to visit “Big River Sailing Club” at Harwood, to enjoy 2 days sailing on the Clarence.

Our next event in Fingal Head will be on Sunday the 1st of December.

Waiting for the Wind & a Slice of Club History

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.

SheSails Event “Sisterhood of Sailing”

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.

Sailing – Home and Away

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 Next race at Fingal Sunday 10 Nov 10am.

A Little Bit On for the Second Day of Racing in the Summer Series.

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.

Eight rigged on the beach, who will make it all the way?

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.

Look how dry everyone is!

See you next time!

Sheoak Shack Cafe Celebrating 20 Years

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!

Juniors Squad on the Road

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!