As the coordinator of this year’s Kembla Klassic my perspective of the event is probably a little different from the organising team, visitors and participants. Even so I hope you may be interested to read my thoughts about how the event went from my view of reality.
To start with the title of Kembla Klassic coordinator is a bit misleading. Most of the work is done by other people without a hint of coordinator interventions.
By the time I showed up late Friday afternoon all the heavy lifting had been done. By then club members were lounging around entertaining early arriving visitors, taking a light refreshment or two and enjoying lake views. All the stuff like setting up the rigging and camping area and opening the club to welcome early arriving visitors just seems to happen magically. The preparation of the club support motor boats, making sure they are serviced and fuelled up, that the rounding buoys are inflated and loaded aboard ready to go also seems to happen magically. Things you need to do to produce the weekends racing results were installed and tested in readiness for tomorrows start. The registration desk and paperwork was set up in readiness to accept competitor registrations tomorrow morning. All this and more pre-regatta preparation work is accomplished by club members pitching in and sharing the load, not by me, the KK coordinator. On Saturday morning, more club members show up before 7 am to make breakfast and coffee for early arriving participants. And then there is the stuff that happens normally in the canteen. People arrive and start preparing food for lunches, afternoon tea and dinners. A hive of activity, no fuss just collaborative action. All this work happens seamlessly, competently with good humour and without coordinator input.
We were testing a new regatta format for this year’s Kembla Klassic, and like any newly introduced undertaking, things were bound to be missed. From little things like missed typos and wrongly worded sentences in the sailing instructions that require amending to change descriptions of course configurations to amending starting divisions to match class registrations on the day. To bigger safety related things like having ample support craft with experienced crews for both days of the Regatta and finding enough signal flags for starters, support boats and shore crew to cover the 2 courses and new course configurations. I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by a lot of resilient problem solving people who ironed out the new format glitches on the run and in ways that made the regatta coordinator look good.
It would be remiss of me if I did not formally thank the many Port Kembla Sailing Club members who assisted in making this event possible and, from my perspective at least, successful.
First to those running the large course, and thanks to our stalwarts aboard the start/finish boat Rosstered Off, Jim Curry, Dave Smith, Sue Souter and Richard Hipsley. Starting and finishing multiple courses and divisions is juggling act and they somehow managed to pull it off.
Thanks to the course setters, Dave Morris and Paul Leaudais who, with a high degree of technical expertise, set the large course up beautifully to accommodate the vast array of competitor needs, all done in very challenging weather conditions, particularly for Saturdays schedule of races.
Thanks to Dennis Forbs for providing and skippering his own motor boat for both days of racing and to Andy Blakeley and Ray Stanley for helping him on the water. Thanks to John Bubb for skippering and providing his motor boat support Saturdays races.
Thanks to Koonawarra for the use of their boat and to John Pinkerton & Ralf Skea for donating their time for the weekend.
On the small course thanks must go to Daniel Beattie for skippering and lending us his boat for starting/finishing and course laying duties and to Wayne McKinnon and Aaron Weare for assisting him aboard to run the small course schedule of races.
Thanks to Deno Olivieri for donating his time to skipper Puffer for the two days of racing and his assistant aboard on Saturday from the IYC, and Pier Panozzo and Brendan Mackey for the Sunday races.
I want to thank Brendan Mackey separately because I sent him out alone in little puffer in Saturdays 20 plus knot winds as support for the small course competitors. Little puffer is not the driest and comfortable of craft in a blow and Brendan obliged without complaint.
Both Deno and crew and Brendan had their work cut out during Saturdays races as the strong winds took their toll on the large and small course fleet with many needing assistance to return safely to shore.
Thanks to the onshore crew of Bill Ledger and Ross Fife who made visitors feel welcome. Among other things Ross is the champion barista spending long hours running the club café and dispensing medicinal caffeine to the many in need. Bill ensured the club and surrounds stay as safe and presentable as possible Their work reinforces the good reputation and friendly nature of our club.
Big thanks must go to Barry and Gail Grant for managing the race results. As most of us have experienced at one time or another, there is an endless list of things that can go wrong with working out the correct results for a multi class fleet, and it’s one of those things you must get right for the credibility and success of any regatta. It takes a load off the coordinators shoulders to know that this task is performed by competent people who were as concerned as I was about getting the correct results for competitors.
Thanks to Barry again and to Beck Curry for doing some amazing figuring out of the prize pool distribution for the many Regatta division place winners. If you have tried to do this yourselves, you will understand how complex it can be to fairly distribute regatta prize money. Beck also packaged the prizes up in a logical order so that we were more likely to give the correct sailors the right prizes at presentation time.
Thanks to Nikki Sullivan for managing the participant registration desk. Lots of things can go wrong there that can impact on how participants perceive their regatta needs will be met. Nikki I believe made them feel welcome and gave them the sense that everything was under control. That’s how it looked to me at least.
A separate thank you must go to Barbara Hipsley for coordinating the running of the canteen. With the help of Richard Hipsley, the weekends canteen menus were planned, supplies picked up, delivered and set up at the club by Friday afternoon. That takes a lot of planning time and effort in my opinion.
I don’t know how to begin to thank all the people who supported the club through their work in the canteen during the weekend. I do not have the literary expertise and grasp of the English language to adequately thank them in this newsletter. I am hoping that this will be done by someone else in a more personal way than I am capable of.
I realise I have concentrated mainly on thanking club members who gave up their weekend specifically to help with this event, but of course there were many others who contributed in a big way to ensure the regatta ran smoothly. Apologies for not mentioning you all by name but a thank you must go to you all as well.
As the event coordinator, it can make you feel somewhat redundant when people take on often complex tasks and complete them competently and without fuss. I am told that’s just how it happens if you have a good team around you, and this club has a very good team, and I am glad they were on my side for this event.
For anyone unhappy about certain elements of the KK Regatta, I can understand how you may feel. You spend time getting ready for regatta events, making sure everything is working on your boat and sometimes traveling long distance just to compete. You have an expectation that a regatta will be well organised and run fairly, and, that it will deliver a good experience. In this regard, we, the race committee and regatta coordination team, did our best to make sure everything reasonably possible was done to ensure visitors and participants ended the weekend feeling they received a positive KK Regatta experience. And you cannot do much better than that I recon. That’s not to say that everthing went perfectly. No doubt we will reflect on our event coordination practices, consider all suggestions for improving next year’s Kembla Klassic.
At Sundays end of regatta presentation Richard Hipsley mentioned the fantastic show that Dean Souter put on piloting his foiling moth in the windy Saturday races. Dean was reportedly clocking well over 25 knots on some of the downwind legs.
But I wanted to end this report with what I think are performances of equal note worthiness. That is the show put on by the Junior sailors from our own and visiting sailing clubs. In my opinion they performed brilliantly and all deserved to win first prize. They went out to race on the Large and Small courses in Saturdays challenging conditions. With the wind gusting over 25 knots in the first race some made the brave decision to complete the race and some made the brave and sensible decision to retire. Even though many of them may not have had the most wonderful of first race experiences they either stayed out on the large course for race 2 (still in very windy conditions), or sailed the second race on the small course that was delayed to later in the afternoon when the wind had eased. Then these young people got up and did it again for the Sunday races. No doubt some of their parents would beg to differ but, to a person, they were a delight to interact with. Always cooperative and generally cheerful and helpful human beings (remember this is coming from my view of reality). It made me happy watching them sailing and on the shore playing games and having fun together. To me the junior sailors were inspiring, and a credit to their parents.
Surely that’s enough of a reason for putting in the effort to run a regatta like the Kembla Klassic for participants to enjoy.
The End Trev.