Nowra Community Sailing Club boats hit the water last Saturday in time for a strong and shifty westerly wind.
Some thought discretion was the better part of valour and did not sail but the five who did were really tested by the conditions.
Westerly winds have blown over the land unlike north-easterly winds which mostly blow over smooth water.
The land has trees, hills and buildings all of which slow down the bottom of the wind gradient while the wind above moves at a faster speed.
Like a swell encountering shallow water which slows the bottom of the swell down causing waves, westerly winds start rolling in wind waves and the bottom of them wildly change direction and also contain strong gusts and sudden lulls.
Michael Fairbairn won the start of the Bomaderry Bowling Club Point Score 14 and Kel Campbell Championship 10, from Wayne Norris, Steve Phelps, Cameron Phelps and Bill Jauncey.
Michael quickly worked his Finn ahead of the Spirals of Cameron and Wayne who in turn were well ahead of Bill and Steve.
On the bottom (downwind) mark Cameron and Wayne were clobbered by a gust approaching 30 knots and both capsized, leaving Bill who had hurtled to the bottom mark on the same gust, to grab second.
This did not last long as Bill failed to stop leaning quickly enough and fell in backwards when a hard gust died, enabling Wayne to get to the front of the Spirals.
As the race continued the gusts got stronger and more frequent, and everyone except Michael capsized on a number of occasions.
Michael lapped all the Spirals in a superb display of heavy weather sailing, and while Bill managed to pass Wayne on a number of occasions, the finish is where it counts, and Wayne crossed well ahead of Bill, with Steve close behind him, and Cameron after that.
The Championship is decided on boat class yardsticks and Michael easily won this from Wayne who was over a minute ahead of Bill, followed by Steve and Cameron.
The Point Score being decided by individual handicaps was again easily won by Michael from Wayne, Steve, Bill and Cameron.
This weekend the club celebrates its annual Festival of Sail with the round Pig Island race on Saturday and the iconic marathon to Shoalhaven Heads and back on Sunday.
This event is the final heat of the three-way inter-club G.O.F. Trophy in memory of past N.C.S.C. Commodore Ray Fairbairn who was well known and highly regarded in the district.
It is also a heat of the Spiral Association’s Travellers Trophy and boats are expected from Sydney and Canberra as well as clubs in this region.
It should be a great weekend and visitors are welcome to come down and watch.