The Twofold Bay Yacht Club’s 44th annual regatta was immensely competitive over the weekend.
Event director Ted Dexter said the visiting Flying Dutchman class enjoyed idyllic conditions on Friday and Saturday before the wind unfortunately died off on Sunday.
“It was fantastic and challenging sailing,” Mr Dexter said with winds gusting up to about 20 knots and some choppy swells providing additional challenge for both local and visiting boats.
“The wind changes with the swell because it comes off the water differently,” Mr Dexter explains.
“The angle of lean on the boat varies a bit and the gusts obviously affect the way you sail, which can be a big challenge to round the marks – especially when you’re jibing.”
Despite having to cancel the Sunday race, organisers were thrilled with the weekend.
“It was a weekend of fantastic sailing, which was very enjoyable and we had lovely and amusing company,” he said.
“It’s about creating memories.”
Mr Dexter said a highlight on Friday was hearing the passengers of the Carnival Legend telling those being ejected to “get off” in no uncertain terms.
“There was some very colourful language carrying across the bay,” he added with a laugh.
Mr Dexter said the numbers were slightly down in the club regatta with about a dozen boats competing, but numbers were boosted by the 10 visiting Dutchmen boats.
The Dutchmen set a blistering pace, but a solid fleet of local boats and some visitors from Jindabyne and Sydney also had immense pace.
“Friday and Saturday were good fast sailing, but not just for the Dutchmen those in the regatta proper had some good fast racing,” Mr Dexter said.
There were some father-son and father-daughter teams competing across the weekend as well as some all-ladies squads and Mr Dexter said it was great to see the all-inclusive nature of sailing.
He said he enjoyed the tactical nature of racing in Twofold Bay and the skills of picking a quicker line, “watching some of the boats flying along, only to be caught by someone sailing a better line”.
Organisers were stunned by the amount of community support for the regatta and heaped praise on the “small army” of volunteers who helped across the weekend, particularly those who don’t even sail, but still helped out.
Mr Dexter said the Twofold Bay Yacht Club was also extremely grateful to the number of local businesses who had jumped on board to offer wonderful prizes or support for the regatta.
“We’ve had great feeback and the Dutchman sailors have all indicated they will be back,” he said.
Division winner Tony Hastings from the Wallagoot Lake Boat club said he had a blast.
“Saturday afternoon's racing was a lot of fun, and extremely challenging. Weather data suggests an average of 15 knots in race one, with peak gusts to 20 knots. This eased a little in race 2, maybe dropping a few knots,” he said.
“The forecast was for 1.7m swell, which seemed about right, with occasional sets coming in bigger. There was also about a 0.5m wind chop on top of the swell – this meant we surfed waves up to 3m tall on some downwind legs, going absolutely flat-out, extreme sailing.”
“A 16' trailer-sailor reported that they had the entire boat on the face of a wave, with more wave in front and behind of it. All the fleet had their boats surfing downwind, with an NS14 using a tracking app recording a top boat-speed of 18 knots.”
Unfortunately the swell proved troublesome for some with a few retiring from the second set of races in the hopes of smoother conditions on Sunday.
A large fleet cruised in super light winds for about an hour before racing was called off.
Despite the cancellation, Mr Hastings said he and his crew mate had a great time on the water and thanked Joe and Carol Day at Merimbula Outboards for the sweet new life jacket.