Balmain Team at AWKR Regatta
June 17, 2014
This Year the Balmain Sailing Club were represented at the 24th Australian Womens Keelboat Regatta, held at the Royal Melbourne yacht Squadron, St Kilda.
Thanks to Anni Browning (Cheshire Cat), who talked up how great we were, we were offered a Radford 35 called “Silk” from her owner, Ken Silk.
On Friday 6th June we went for a training session on Port Phillip Bay. With no wind there wasn’t much we could do to learn about the boat, but we did manage to get in some pre-start manoeuvres at the Bar.
3 races were held on Day one. The wind ranged from 10knots early in the day up at 18knots for the last Race. We improved all day to grab a first place on handicap in the last Race. It was a very long course and involved having to plot the marks on Navionics in order to find them! We had a huge asymmetrical kite up, which was a handful as we had never sailed with one before. We were slowly learning about Boat and how to get the best out of her.
Day two saw a nice 12 knots across the bay. 2 races were completed on this day and we again grabbed top spot in Race 5! In this race the pressure was on because the Black Flag was up after a General Recall. (2 boats got DSQ when they were caught over the start). By now your “Gun Team” from Balmain Sailing Club had kicked into high gear, doing 7 knots plus upwind in 10-12 knots. We were pretty pleased with ourselves considering that the quick release mast head Spinnaker halyard failed on the first downwind leg and we had to quickly switch to the Fractional. Back at the Dock and it was a long trip to the Top of the mast for Karen to retrieve it.
Day three and disaster! We had done a quick, pre-start practice with the kite and that same, pesky halyard became jammed. I can tell you it’s no fun floating towards a lee shore with a huge kite flapping, and Karen once again, being winched to the top of the mast to free it. With minutes to go to the Warning Signal we gunned our Engine for the Line. At the last minute we killed the Engine, did our 360 degree turn Penalty for having it on inside the 5 minutes and managed to cross only a few minutes behind the rest of the Fleet. Again with only the smaller Fractional Kite to use we managed to work our way into Fifth position at the Finish.
Overall, we finished the Regatta in 4th Position, only 0.5 of a point outside a Podium Spot. This was an amazing result considering our lack of experience on this type of boat and a couple of gear failures. There was only one way to celebrate … French Champagne at the bar! (and a quick power nap before the Presentation Night) We all agreed that this was an amazing event, well run, with great Starts and great Friendships formed. With the introduction of a 1 Penalty Turn for any infringement this meant no protests were lodged. It’s a testament to all the girls that any foulups were immediately resolved on the course, with good grace.
- Anni Browning – Skipper
- Celine Rousseau – Main
- Lyn Evans – Trimmer, Pit, tactician
- Julius Phillips – Trimmer, Pit
- Karen Abel – Foredeck and Mast Monkey!
- Claire Rowlands Foredeck.
Written by: Lyn Evans.