The big weekend for Nowra Community Sailing Club started last Saturday with the annual Bomaderry Bowling Club 'Round Pig Island Race'.
Four Spiral class boats, one Laser and one Finn started in a beautiful summer north east breeze for the Island circumnavigation.
The start was very tight with all the fleet crossing the line within seconds of the signal, but Bill's idea of starting on the north side of the line while the rest of the fleet went for the south, paid off.
He managed to stay ahead of Wayne for the first leg of the course to the end of the island, while Mick's faster Finn began to open up his usual lead.
After working over the shallows at the west end of the island, Wayne and Bill swapped places frequently until Wayne picked a better shift and got ahead.
Bill was then caught by Steve Phelps and they had a tacking duel all the way to the east end of the island where Steve got ahead. Mean, while Cameron Phelps and Cameron Hertzburg on the Laser had their own close racing behind the leading spirals.
Mick had a considerable margin over the leading three Spirals as he turned for home along the southern side of Pig Island.
Steve picked up a wonderful gust on the run and caught Wayne, only to have Wayne and Bill repass him soon after.
However, in the final run home Steve again caught and passed Bill to beat him over the line by just five seconds.
Wayne had finished forty four seconds ahead of Steve while Mick was nearly eight minutes ahead of Wayne.
The two Camerons finished with Cam Phelps ahead of Cam Hertzburg who took a couple of swims as he learns to race his Laser.
After yardstick adjustment Mick finished just 0.4 seconds ahead of Wayne to win the particularly ugly clay pig trophy, doubtless much to his family's disgust!
Steve was just thirty eight seconds back for third and Bill only four seconds behind him.
Handicap first place was comfortably grabbed by Bill from Cam Phelps, then Mick, Steve, Wayne and Cameron Hertzburg.
Meanwhile, an excellent forecast encouraged 22-boats to enter for the iconic Kel Campbell Marathon, despite a number of usual Sydney entrants deciding not to come with Sydney's Covid problems.
The Marathon starts just east of the bridge and goes to Shoalhaven Heads for the first leg, where competitors have a wonderful lunch with slices and fruit for dessert and then the fleet restarts for the sail back to Nowra.
The big fleet made a great site for the start in light breeze, and as the fleet worked down the river with tidal assist the north easterly gradually increased enabling the faster Finn and Lasers and best Spirals opening a lead on the rest of the fleet.
On reaching the left turn for the last couple of kilometres to the Heads the wind was filling in so by the time each sailor finished in around two hours for most, we were ready for a rest and the lunch put on by our remarkable wharf crew and supporters who this year had the added complication of Covid restrictions.
It was also a good opportunity for sailors from the region's clubs and others including Southern Highlands, to catch up.
By the restart the wind was fifteen knots with some gusts higher and the square run start was really exciting with a number of swims, though the best of the sailors stayed reasonably dry except for the spray from high speed sailing. There were memories created to last a long time!
By the time the fleet reached Broughton Creek the breeze began to ease making for a nearly leisurely trip back to Nowra.
The Nowra Yardstick was applied to the times for each leg added together to allow for the different speeds of the seven different classes and sail sizes in the fleet, and the results were very close.
Veteran Spiral sailor Merve Lotze from Jervis Bay Sailing Club won the event by just 20 seconds on corrected time from Nowra's Mick Fairbairn on his Finn, after well over three hours sailing
Wayne Norris took third by less than three minutes behind Mick and Southern Highlands Sailing Club brothers Tim and Jonathon Vandervoort, both sailing Spirals got fourth and fifth separated by twenty seven seconds.
Another 20 seconds back was J.B.S.C.'s Mike Wootten then came the first Laser, Boudy de Haas getting his Radial home twenty nine seconds later for seventh.
Steve Phelps was another forty eight seconds back for eighth.
Remarkably considering the wind at the restart at the Heads, there was only one did not finish, though a couple of boats took a while to get back to Nowra.
Everyone agreed it was another cracker of an event as well as being unique in sailing.
As well as the event being a heat of the Spiral Association of Australia's Traveller's Trophy, it was also the final heat of the interclub G.O.F. Trophy sailed between Nowra Community Sailing Club, Illawarra Yacht Club and Jervis Bay Sailing Club in memory of the late Ray Fairbairn, who was well loved and respected for his contribution to sport in this region.
Ray sailed at all three clubs and was Commodore of Nowra and is greatly missed.
It was fitting that his son Michael, sailing his dad's Finn, won the trophy this year with 10 points from Boudy (I.Y.C.) with 16 points and Merve from J.B.S.C. on twenty four points. Very fitting that the podium finishers represented each club.
Nowra Community Sailing Club resumes its normal program this Saturday, with competition for heat eight of the Bomaderry Bowling Club Point Score and heat seven of the Kel Campbell Championship.
As always visitors are most welcome with the start at 14.20