Lake Keepit turned on an exhilarating afternoon's sailing last weekend, with a west-north-west wind of up to 18 kilometres/hour testing sailors on an excellent windward return course.
The course proved to be an excellent one and included two lengthy reaches (the fastest point of sailing) that thrilled everyone when the gusts increased to 30km/h.
Quite a fleet of boats headed for the start line, some capsized, some ran aground and eventually seven of the eleven boats successfully started. Racing to the top windward buoy was close and hard fought as they battled sudden gusts of wind that eddied upon them suddenly under the towering dam wall.
Once around the top mark, four laser dinghies headed at high speed with the following breeze for the bottom marks. Quirindi teacher and club commodore, Keith Garrett rounded that mark first, closely followed by a rapidly improving Tim Caslick, a youngster from Willowtree, in his laser.
After three laps of the course, first to cross the finish line, with fastest time, was Michael Juchau. The Quirindi sailor, in his Mari cat, had a 5min 30sec gap over Keith Garrett, who sailed his laser faultlessly. Caslick was a very close third fastest, only 23sec behind Garett.
The corrected time winner, on Australian sailing yardstick, was Willowtree youngster Caslick, who handled his laser like a veteran - with Garrett in second place. Third place went to Juchau.
Next week's sailing will split the fleet as five laser sailors are heading to Grafton for a two-day battle against the Armidale and Grafton sailors.
The weekend will be the first leg of a three-regatta Travellers Trophy series, based on team sailing.
Meanwhile, back on Lake Keepit sailors will contest the first heat of the Head of the River series.