Keith Garrett takes overall win, New England team honours

Churning through the water: Keith Garrett displaying the consistent sailing ability that won him the overall honours.
Churning through the water: Keith Garrett displaying the consistent sailing ability that won him the overall honours.

Quirindi’s Keith Garrett continued his good form on the water when Lake Keepit Sailing Club members headed north for a five race regatta with the New England Sailing Club at Malpas Dam.

The Lake Keepit sailor was the overall winner for the day after placing first or second in most of the five races, however the host club took the teams honours by eight points to 13 (lowest score wins).

Lake Keepit Vice-Commodore Tim Corben reported Malpas was at its best - looking wonderful and turning on regatta winds that tested the best sailors with strength and varying directions.

Canberra’s Chris Thompson was the standout sailor of the day displaying skills that, Corben commented, most of us dream about, adding that he will make an excellent addition to Armidale’s membership when he moves from Canberra permanently.

He won all races that he finished in and usually by a large margin with his strong wind skills amazing.

“The rest of us, who made up the fleet, enjoyed the close racing provided and the wonderful camaraderie of the hosts and competitors,” Corben said.

“The obvious benefit to us all was the unaccustomed “big fleet” racing that we encountered.”

That provided some challenging experiences such as more crowding on the starting line of races, the challenge of tacking duels upwind and the crowding at significant course marks and of course buoy roundings, which made for a “steep learning curve in very competitive fields”.

Quirindi Laser sailor Keith Garrett receiving congratulations for overall winner of the NESC regatta from NESC Commodore Andy Sawyer.

Quirindi Laser sailor Keith Garrett receiving congratulations for overall winner of the NESC regatta from NESC Commodore Andy Sawyer.

The wind provided another challenge. Whipping down the rolling hills and across the dam surface, Corben said it made for some extra fast reaches and many capsizes into much cooler waters than they are accustomed to at Keepit

The last race on Sunday was Heat 1 of the interclub competition for the “Thunderbolt Cup” and had the largest number of competitors, with 14 laser dinghies, catamarans and a Taser dinghy all facing the starter.

New England Sailing Club finished on top based on their best three boat placings, with Thompson taking out first place for his new club from Garrett. The second heat will be at Lake Keepit next year.

“We all look forward to this March regatta and to once again saddle up to the larger fleet numbers and the increased competition,” Corben said.

Special mention was also made at the presentation of the efforts of local Armidale sailor Adam Lucas. Lucas and his mum Sally both completed the recent five week “Discover Sailing Program” run by Lake Keepit Sailing Club. The Duval High School student was seventh in the Thunderbolt Cup race.