Figure 2 Queensland visitor Hugh Bekkers hangs on during a gybe. Image: Contributed

Thrills and spills at Big River Regatta

There were thrills and spills aplenty at the Big River Sailing Clubs ‘Single Handed Regatta’ last weekend, as wind, tide and more wind produced conditions that were both challenging and exciting. 

The relative calm of the Saturday morning soon gave way to a sea breeze that was well established by race time and continued to build throughout the afternoon. Twenty knot gusts, a strong run up tide and a course punctuated with tricky gybe marks tested the best of sailors, with few escaping a swim at some stage over the three races. Capsizes and grueling upwind works aside, the super-fast reaches made everything else worthwhile, and it was that which dominated conversation in the traditional racing post-mortems.

The respite that normally accompanies the early Sunday morning races was not to be this year when the predicted southerly change arrived producing conditions that were as challenging as the previous day. After enduring two more energy sapping races, competitors were more than happy to raise the white flag, content with a five race series and the opportunity for an early pack up and return home.

The regatta was well attended, with 38 boats making up a mixed class fleet that included visitors from SE Queensland, Lake Macquarie and neighboring North Coast clubs.

The OK Dinghy was the class best represented, and returning visitor Tim Davies was able to hold off rivals Mark Skelton (2nd) and Kelvin Holdt (3rd) to again have his name engraved on the perpetual trophy. In the mixed monohulls, local talent Neil Hayes and Queensland visitor Andrew Turnbull-Miller were dominant overall, with James Harrison (Grafton) and Chris Thompson (Armidale) winning the Laser and Laser Radial classes respectively.  Hendix Mahoney was the leading junior, with honorable mentions to fellow BRSC juniors Jack Hayes, Lachlan Devey, and Emma Roberston.

Figure 1Andrew Turnbull-Miller leads fleet on a fast reach. Image: Contributed