Wednesday, 5 October 2011

26th Annual Oberon Regatta 2007

26th Annual Oberon Regatta
Fish River Sailing Club
20 - 21st January 2007

CDSC was well represented at last weekends' regatta, held on Oberon Dam. Four Lasers and two Maricats competed over four races with two very different sets of weather conditions on both days. With water levels hovering at 25%, there was still plenty of water for some good days' sailing - despite some thick black mud lurking along the shoreline.

Marcia Lac won Heat One in the Monos Division with her Laser "Magic", with Mark Fletcher on his Laser "Crusher" not far behind. Taking their boats out only for the second time, Dave Tory and Mal Kielys' Lasers had a fantastic friendly tussle over the refreshingly long course. "It's nice to be able to have a really long sail again", Mark quipped happily.

Heat Two was taken out in the Monos Division with a sensational sail by Mark Fletcher, overcoming a stiff challenge from Marcia. Yes - Marcia can be beaten! She later said in jest, "Do you believe he actually beat me on my birthday? There is no chivalry left…"

Ash Johnson took his Maricat out single handed for both races and went well in his division.

About 50 people attended a meal together at the local RSL Club on the Saturday night, enjoying swapping outrageous sailing stories long into the evening.

Saturday's winds were a light 5-to-15 knot nor-wester - perfect for some close competitive yet friendly sailing. Sunday's conditions could not have been more different, with very strong westerlies pushing past 30 knots plus making very treacherous and rough, choppy conditions.

Mal Kiely made the call early that he wasn't going out in weather like that. "It'd only be my third time out in a Laser... I'd rather be sailing than swimming all day," he was overheard saying. "Maybe if I had my Solo here I might go out, but..."

Marcia sailed a near-perfect heavy-weather race to easily win Heat Three - an amazing demonstration of boat handling in such atrocious conditions. She is an inspirational sailor. Check out the photos of her sailing at full-stretch downwind... awesome.

Mark Fletcher had some seriously bad luck just before the start of the Third Heat, breaking the mast of his Laser right at deck-level. However, a tow back to the beach, a quick change of masts and rigs, and a restart saw him finally complete the course after spending a fair amount of time in the water. Brilliant sailing - and brute effort of strength and will - saw him ashore exhausted yet deliriously happy. Upon his arrival back to the beach he simply flopped over the back of his Laser and floated in the water, arms and legs out, totally spent. Marcia and Dave helped unrig his boat while Mark tried to regather some energy sipping drinks and smiling wearily, collapsed over his trailer.

Jim Nutley recovered from an early swim in his Maricat "Jabs" to complete his day, yet many other boats were unable to complete the course in such wild weather. Needless to say, the rescue boats were well-utilized on the Sunday. Johnno Ford took Ash out as crew aboard his Nacra, yet even they were intimidated by the conditions and retired early.

With most competitors choosing to sit Heat Four out on the shore, it was the masterly sailing of Wallerawang's Andy Holden who took out the race in his cat. Dave Tory bravely attempted the challenge in his Laser, yet downwind sailing in a one-meter short chop proved to be his undoing.

Apart from some bumps and bruises, no-one was hurt, yet a good if somewhat-exhausting time was had by all participants. Both Dave and Mal sailed well in their new boats, and Dave showed all that he's encouragingly keen to 'have a go' and enjoyed a huge learning experience competing in his first regatta, in this his first-ever season of sailing. Well done, Dave!

Marcia Lac came first overall in the Monos Division, and Mark Fletcher came second. A sensational result for Mark, considering this is only his second season sailing! Hugest congratulations, Mark!

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