An enthusiastic group of rugged-up sailors were on the water for heat two of the Spring Series as a chilly southerly scudded across Lake Keepit with gusts of 30kmph of chilly Antarctic blasts.
Ten sailing boats in a mixed fleet gathered at the northern side of course awaiting the start. Several of the competitors had already tested the coldness of the water in capsizes just on the crossing of the lake to the start area. They were unanimous that we were not far past winter.
The first battle to the windward mark was against the elements as gusts of strong wind battered the fleet at irregular intervals. Two crews made the decision that the weather did not suit them and they headed for the safety and warmth of the shore.
The reduced fleet continued on around the triangular course led by Doug Whiteman in his Nacra closely followed by Keith Garrett in a laser. Both sailors were enjoying the conditions and powered off downwind on the next two legs. Another two laser sailors capsized on the jibe-mark while the larger trailer-sailer, “Pzazz”, skippered by Stan White, revelled in the stronger off-wind legs.
After completing the first full triangle, the fleet of eight headed up to the windward mark once more with moments of light wind strength and full on thirty-plus gusts greeting them.
Whiteman still held the lead followed by White and Garrett who were crossing tacks. These three had a good break on the battered remainder of the fleet which was again reduced further as John Sumner in his laser headed for the home shore and warmer clothes.
The youngest sailor, 12-year-old Lachlan Overton was starting his first race in one of four of the LKSC’s newly acquired O’Pen Bic trainers. He sensibly decided to sail for the home shore after practising his recovery from capsize technique.
Up-and-coming sailor, Tim Caslick from Willowtree, showed sailing techniques well above his 15 years to complete most of the course before finally giving in to tired cramping hands and arms on his laser dinghy.
Meanwhile, with the fleet now at six, Whiteman showed how to manage a skittish Nacra cat around the course to get the “gun” for first home. He was followed by Garrett in his laser and then the grinning three-some of White, Don Underwood and Rob Maslin in “Pzazz” who had had a far more comfortable sail than the dinghy sailors.
This second race of the Spring Series had proved several things; the excellent heavy weather skills of our best skippers and crews, the reliability of the boats to withstand strong winds, and the enthusiasm of these sailors and their love of “…mucking around with boats” to quote Ratty from Wind in the Willows.
Line Honours: Doug Whiteman Nacra catamaran
Correct Time and Spring Series Heat 2 results
1st: Keith Garrett Laser dinghy
2nd: Stan White (Skipper) with Don Underwood and Rob Maslin on the trailer-sailer “Pzazz”
3rd: Doug Whiteman Nacra catamaran
4th: Rodger Ford (skipper) with Moana, Jenny Croft on a Hartley 16 “Chubby”
5th: Robert Kelly Laser dinghy
6th: Michael Juchau Marie catamaran
Four boats retired.
The club’s holidays learn to sail three-day course is on October 10-12. For details call 0497 026 233 or visit the Lake Keepit Sailing Club website.
This coming Sunday’s race is heat three of the Spring Series.
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