Conditions a challenge for Nowra Community Sailing Club fleet

Tricky conditions: Steve Phelps (857) and Wayne Norris (874) competing on the Shoalhaven River.  Wayne won the Kel Campbell Trophy of the Day. Photo: Matthew Norris.

Tricky conditions: Steve Phelps (857) and Wayne Norris (874) competing on the Shoalhaven River. Wayne won the Kel Campbell Trophy of the Day. Photo: Matthew Norris.

Last Saturday eight Spirals, a Laser and a Finn came to Nowra Community Sailing Club to sail heat six of the Bomaderry Bowling Club point score, and the Kel Campbell Trophy of the Day.  A few minutes before the start a strong gusty westerly wind blew out of a very dark sky, accompanied by plenty of rain, delaying the start over 30 minutes.  Some complained they would not sail in the rain as they did not want their boats to get wet.

As the wind and rain eased the fleet prepared for the start while the wind departed!  The start began in a very light breeze and the fleet started in a tight bunch.  The breeze started to come back as the fleet reached (sailed across the wind) to the easterly mark, with Michael Fairbairn’s Finn reaching it first, followed by a close tussle of Spirals of Merve Lotze, Wayne Norris and Bill Jauncey.  On the return to the western mark and the completion of the first lap, Michael extended his lead, followed by Merve, Bill and Wayne.  There was then a gap back to the Spirals of Dave Turner, Mike Wootten, Steve Phelps and Richard Pryor, all close together.  Then there was a short gap to Mark McKinnon’s Spiral and Alan Hawkes sailing his Laser.

On the second lap Michael extended his lead and Wayne and Merve continued their duel from last week, while Bill slipped behind to end that one being a three-way contest. Steve completed the lap next, followed by Richard and Mark who was moving through the fleet.  Next came Dave, Alan and Mike.

By the third lap the variable wind was swinging all over the compass and offering some exhilarating rides in the gusts on the reaches.  What was already challenging conditions became even more so, and some took to checking the water temperature, or washing their sails in the river.  Mike moved up to finish the lap behind Steve.

On the final lap the gusts became stronger, particularly for the slower boats.  Michael finished three minutes ahead of Wayne who had Merve’s measure by nearly two minutes.  Bill was another minute and a half behind, followed by Steve, Mike, Richard, and Mark.  The last two finishers, Dave and Alan had to battle the strongest gusts of the race on the last couple of hundred metres to the finish.

The Bomaderry Bowling Club point score is decided on personal handicap and some corrected times were very close. Wayne again won by thirty five seconds from Merve who was 15 seconds ahead of Bill.  Michael was behind Bill by nearly two minutes with Steve over a minute after him.  Mike was 35 seconds later, then Richard by 11 seconds and Mark only two seconds after Richard. Twenty nine seconds later came David, then Alan.  All those with podium finishes reduce their handicaps and fourth and above increase theirs.  So this Saturday the results should be very interesting!

Wayne won the Kel Campbell Trophy of the Day for his work.

This Saturday we sail for heat four of the Manildra Championship, heat seven of the Bomaderry Bowling Club point score, and the Kel Campbell Trophy of the Day. Then this Sunday the fleets from Nowra Community Sailing Club and Callala Bay go to the Illawarra Yacht Club for the second heat of the interclub G.O.F Trophy in memory of our last esteemed Commodore Ray Fairbairn who is greatly missed by members of all three clubs, where he sailed.  It should be a great day in Ray’s memory.  The final heat of the G.O.F. Trophy will be the iconic Nowra Community Sailing Club marathon on 11th February, 2018.  As usual visitors are welcome for all these events, and start times are under the programme tab on the Nowra Community Sailing Club website www.nowrasailingclub.wordpress.com