What a difference a week makes in temperatures. The third week of sailing brought our 1st taste of summer sailing peaking at 29 degrees Celsius. With NE 10-12 knot breeze with up to 21knot gusts giving some excellent sailing conditions. Nine catamaran sailors coming down to experience the lovely day. Not all launching their catamarans. Bob Porter Snr and Jnr sailing their TY, Paul Leaudais having other commitments & not sailing. However four catamarans were brought down Ross Fyfe, Ralf Steyer, Hugh Lewis and Bill Ledger. Bill was studying the predicted strengthening wind conditions. He was swayed at briefing when the word was put out that a race finish recorder was required. So he offered to sit out and record the finishes. Tony Sanderson and Jack Kroek doing duty this week. The set a corker of a port course. Start in the middle of the Lake in line with the club house, Windward mark over near entrance to Illawarra yacht club and the wing mark between club house and Gooseberry Island.
At 11am the AGM took place with financials and then voting for new committee members. Resulting in a new small cats delegate “Ralf Steyer” and large cats delegate “Les Porter”. I relinquished my small cats delegate role to be “club Captain”.
After the AGM and a good burger, briefing and it was time to go out and rig our boats. By this stage it was after 1pm so there was a bit of a rush to get ready and out on the water.
Ralf was 1st to be ready and launch. Looking out over the lake the NE breeze was kicking in offering some great trapeze conditions. I asked Ross if he could see if Ralf was wearing a trapeze. “Must be one of those new slim line style harnesses you can’t easily see” Ross said. I tried yelling out to Ralf to check but without his hearing aids in he could not hear me continuing to launch and sail out towards Gooseberry Island. As Ross and myself followed Ralf out onto the water Ralf returned to guess what “put on his trapeze harness”. By this stage it was around 2:10pm and we agreed that if we missed the start we would simply start together. When we reached the start line the small cat sequence just started (be it delayed slightly) and we were ready for the start sequence count down.
Ralf on Dark Horse crossing the start 1st closely followed by Ross on Yabby then myself on Hot Pepper. Dark Horse and Yabby immediately out on wire heading off toward Gooseberry Island. Hot Pepper also out on wire but making up for being a little slower off the start line by working on pointing a little higher. Dark Horse tacked 1st followed by Hot Pepper and then Yabby, heading out towards the top mark. Hot Pepper pointing high was able to make the mark 1st, Dark Horse having to add an additional tack. After rounding the mark an excellent reach was had directly down to the wing mark having to hang back over the back corner to keep the hulls from nose diving. Spray flying and craft surging each time a wind gust came thru. Ross on Yabby had an issue with his jib and decided to head back to shore. Hot Pepper lead Dark Horse around the wind mark and again another nice reach down to the starting bouy. Dark Horse making up ground. Heading back to the windward mark we both headed out towards the shallows. However we couldn’t make the buoy on 1 tack and after heading north along the shallows had to put in 2 more tacks. When rounding the windward mark Hot Pepper was a little slow coming in off the wire when tacking around the mark, caught on the wire on the lee side. Only just able to release the main and bound over just before getting past the point of no return. Hot Pepper a little unsettled allowed Dark Horse to take the lead on the windward return back to the starting buoy.
Dark Horse making a round a 50m lead. Hot Pepper trailing Dark Horse around the starting buoy and working over towards the shallows on the second triangle. Pointing a little higher making up some ground. Dark Horse still making it around the buoy a few boat lengths in front. The final run back towards the starting line Dark Horse lead with Hot Pepper in pursuit. Getting closer to the buoy things were getting a bit tight with large TY “Rostered Off” reaching the buoy around the same time. This compressed us closer together. However I chose to give myself plenty of room and was a bit higher and able to back off. Dark Horse was pinching so couldn’t go too wide and tried to duck in between the TY and the buoy as they both rounded. Whether it was disturbed air or too close to the wind things didn’t quite work out as Dark Hose straddled the buoy. No doubt providing the Rostered Off crew a bit of entertainment. Hot Pepper couldn’t believe his luck and took off on the final work. Whilst Dark Horse did his 360 penalty.
Hot Pepper focussed on not making any mistakes taking a good lead on the final work over to the shallows and down to the windward mark. The final reach to X was a scream the wind strength having increased slightly. I was thinking of getting out on the wire but thought it a little risky and instead chose to work the mainsheet (often I cleat off when reaching). Luckily I had just taken main sheet into my hand and was able to drop some power when a 20 knot plus gust came thru causing the nose to dip and spray to fly.
With a commanding led Hot Pepper decided to go around the X across towards the shore before tacking givng plenty of room to work to the line. This almost spelt disaster as I couldn’t even get out on wire due to wind shadow affect of the shore line. Whilst agonising slowing heading towards the finish Dark Horse rounded the X and stayed out wide tacking and out on wire immediately speeding towards the finish. Hot Pepper realising his error headed back out towards the middle of the finish channel and was able to get out on the wire and hold off Dark Horses late challenge.
A great contest was had. Once onshore we were greeted by Ross lending a hand to bring our craft back on land. Commenting that it wasn’t often that he is the 1st packed up. After a shower a beer and a recount of the days sailing adventures with various club members it was time to head home.
No club sailing next week as we have the “TY Nationals”. All available cat sailors would be greatly appreciated to assist in lending a hand.
Also on Thursday at 7:30pm at the club house a special guest is available to run a rules night. All club members are invited to attend.
Regards Hugh Lewis
Sailing day Holfuy and local BOM Albion Park airport conditions snapshot
The second round of the sailing season brought us a testing westerly with gusts approaching 30 knots initially the day topping out at around 20 degrees celcius. However as the day progressed a southerly change came thru and temperatures plummeted to around 12.9 degrees with wind chill 6.3 degrees by around 3:40pm.
Even still 6 cat sailors came down. Bob Porter Snr and Jnr came for duty. Tony Sanderson, Paul English, ever young Bill Ledger and myself with catamarans in tow. After some discussion watching the stiff westerly breeze whipping up white caps it was decided to head indoors. With a couple of the fellas lending a hand a nice hamburger feed was had by the patrons. Tony Zahra rang a little dusty still recovering from a 3am finish last night celebrating Amie’s engagement party. Aimie putting in a guest appearance around lunch time to pick up some left over drinks from her party.
The wind coming and going in typical westerly gusts showed promise of a challenging sail. At the briefing it was with some disappointment for some and relief for others that it was decided to pull the pin and cancel sailing for the day due to strong winds forecast.
Make sure you come along next week to participate at 11am AGM next week.
Trevor mentioned that still needing further volunteers for the TY regatta to lend a helping hand.
Paul English advised that large cat numbers would be down in the near future with Les Porter over seas for a few weeks, Paul English away next week, Johny Porter away. Bob Porter snr & Jnr sailing the TY before the TY regatta, Kurt looking to step into small cats and Ross Boyd not sailing this season.
Hence it was suggested that combine small and large cat starts if less that 3 large cats. Still run a large cat and small cat point score as it was hoped that numbers would grow as the season progressed with Tim Makepeace, Bob Porter jnr & Johhny, Les Porter, and possibly the Southern Highlands large cat.
After Trevors good advice that better to come back next week. The other TY’s de-rigged. However Trevor and crew noted a lull in conditions and decided to go out. When on the water I think they had the pleasure of some 30 plus knot gusts and even a rain squall capped off with 6.3 degrees wind chill temperature before making it back to shore to thaw out and dry off.
Meanwhile I assisted Tony Sanderson rig up his newly refurbished Windrush nicely painted, various new rigging components. Nicely installed bulk heads. Once mast was installed and main sail hoisted the wind started swinging around to the south and picking up to around the 20 knot mark and cooling off significantly. It was at the point we decided to derig again and pack the boat away. Going inside for a coffee to warm up. It was around 3:30pm Trevor was seen heading back in so Tony and I followed Richard Hipsley out to give Trevor a hand manoeuvring his TY in the stiff breeze safely back onto the trailer.
Kind regards Hugh Lewis (ably assisted by Ross Boyd and Lois)
Port Kembla sailing club sailing report. A sunny fine day cool 15°C with windchill apparent temperature around 10°. Sunny south Southeast Swinging south-easterly breeze starting out around the 12 knots dropping down around four knots with up to 20 knots gusts. A good turn out of cat sailors of 9 showing up for the first race of the season Ross Fyfe, Paul Leadaius, Hugh Lewis, Kurt Griffiths, Paul English, Bob Porter senior, Bob Porter Junior, Tony Sanderson and Bill Ledger.
There was plenty of discussion and catch up some of the things talked about were Kurt was interested in coming over to the Windrushes for some class racing and looking at options for purchase. Kurt was concerned that 97 kg was a bit heavy however Hugh Lewis Paul Leadaius, Tony Sanderson advised they are all around the 100 kg mark. The only light weight competitors would be Tony Zhara, Ross Fyfe and Ralph Steyer.
It was mentioned that Andy Blakley was also talking about sailing his cat again this season. There was also some discussion about starting Wednesday afternoon mid week sailing during summer and some of the lads were talking about giving it a go with lasers. When push came to shove the only takers to get out on the water were Bill Ledger and Paul English the rest choosing to come back another day. Hugh Lewis recovering from a infected arm (not sailing) giving Bill a hand to rig. Bill commenting that he appreciated my help but it wasn't quite the same as the lovely Louis. I also spent some time in the canteen and had a go at the finish sheet. Kurt decided not to sail thinking that the wind will drop off to much making it too light. Rob Porter snr and Jnr, Paul Leaudais and Tony Sanderson not rigging up, Tony spending time with Rebecca looking at Grant applications. Ross didn't bring his boat just his dog because the earlier breeze was a bit strong. But being a sailing tragic almost talked himself into going back returning the dog and getting the catamaran. Ray Stanley and John Bob set the Port course.
Start out between the clubhouse and Gooseberry Island. Windward buoy out in middle of the lake wing mark out near the reef. Assisting Bill to launch the cold lake water took my breath away when paddling in. The start sequence commenced on time the TY's getting away pretty close to 14:00:00pm.However it was with some interest seeing Bill returning to shore after a few minutes after the realisation he had forgotten his harness so he couldn't trapeze. I held his boat whilst he quickly put on his harness and set out again. Paul English waiting so Bill and Paul both took off together on the large cat start at around 2:15pm. The first triangle and windward return were fairly close sailing. It was only on the last triangle and to the X mark that Paul opened up a lead. From the shore it looked like they had a good tussle. Paul English taking out the large cats race crossing the finish line at 16:00:13pm and Bill Ledger taking out the small cats race not too far behind crossing the finish line at 16:03:19pm. Giving a hand to derig their craft they advised the conditions were quite good and an enjoyable 1st sail of the season.
I had to go and pick up the young fella from cataract scout camp so didn't hang around to get more detailed sailing report on the tactics, lead changes gains and losses. Hopefully next week I will be back out on the water and we get another nice day to entice our sailing fleet out on the water.
Regards Hugh Lewis
Race reports are provided by our Small Cats delegate Ralf Steyer