Perfect farewell to the buoys of summer

Ready, set, go: Rob Gale, John Gratton and Aleida Steele are ready to race on the gun.

Ready, set, go: Rob Gale, John Gratton and Aleida Steele are ready to race on the gun.

In the senior fleet a group of seven Sabre dinghies and one Tasar contested the Sunday’s Club Championship round at Goolwa Aquatic Club, marking the last sailing day of summer.

Close Racing in the Junior Fleet.jpg

Close Racing in the Junior Fleet.jpg

With overcast skies and fresh southerly winds of 17 to 22 knots chopping the lake surface, race officer Brad Briggs devised a course including three reaching legs, a popular call with the assembled skippers of these yachts, which really come to life in such conditions.  

As the afternoon progressed, the sky cleared and the sun made a welcome appearance, while the breeze remained consistent.

With two races completed in good time, Brad called a third race to make the most of the perfect sailing conditions.

Peg Offler and Bryan Lindsay in the Tasar “White Sapphire” (sporting an upgraded set of Mylar sails) revelled in the fresh breeze, showing a clear speed advantage over the Sabres.

While ultimately, their lead over the chasing Sabres may not have been sufficient to have them ahead on adjusted time in any of the races, their smiles would attest to a great day on the water.

Sabre sailors Rob Gale (“Piccolo”) and John Gratton (“Hoodoo”), both regular visitors from Brighton Seacliff Yacht Club, were quick off the line in all three races.

Dave Steele of GAC in “Ratbag Element” duelled with Rob Gale for second position in races two and three, but neither Rob nor Dave could touch John on the day.

In the end it was the same story for the Sabres in each race, with John convincingly first, Rob second and Dave third, albeit by just a whisker in race three.

All the skippers had a blast in the conditions.

Aleida Steele (“Fifty Shades of Green”), sailing just her first full summer season, had several terrific starts and showed great speed on the upwind legs, enjoying another instalment of her regular battle with Peter deVries (“Blue Shadow”), who himself had a great race two.

Helen Bowlden (“Shiver”), while not in the placings this week, showed her customary speed on the reaches.

Rounding out the Sabre fleet was Derek Maxted in “Enitharmon”, who astonished onlookers by emptying half the lake out of his port buoyancy tank at the end of the race.

We can only assume this is a deliberate measure to save his energy during a race by not needing to hike out on port tack. Just not sure it’s going to catch on …

In a nutshell: A terrific day’s racing; perfect conditions for the Sabres and Tasar; great to have visitors of the calibre of John and Rob; and thanks so much to the RO and club volunteers for making it all possible!

Handicap results:

1st - John Gratton; 2nd – Dave Steele; 3rd - Rob Gale; 4th - Aleida Steele

Junior Fleet

Seven of the club’s junior sailors took to the water in Optimist dinghies for the afternoon’s racing, including several graduates from the January “Learn to Sail” program.

While the conditions were perfect for the senior classes, they were challenging for some of our newer and younger juniors.

An increase to around 20 knots just before the start saw only five boats complete the first race, and only three complete races two and three. Credit to all those juniors who even headed out in those conditions.

In race one, Zoe Robinson (“Wingardium Leviosa”) was first off the line, with Mitch Kelsey (“Lil Tiger”) and Jake Steele (“The Bird”) in pursuit.

Choppy conditions saw plenty of water coming over the bow and gunwales on the beat to the windward mark, providing an additional challenge.

Zoe rounded the first and second marks in first place, leading Mitch and Jake; however, after an impromptu 360 degree spin at the second mark, Jake made up ground to finish in first place ahead of Zoe and Mitch.

Congratulations to Vivienne and Sam (graduates of the Learn to Sail program) for completing the race in fourth and fifth places in tough conditions.

Zoe won the start of race two also, leading Mitch and Jake to the first mark, before once again Jake moved to the lead to take the race from Mitch and Zoe.  

In race three, the start was much closer and the lead changed numerous times, before Mitch claimed first place on the second leg and defended it to the finish, ahead of Jake and Zoe.

Well done to all the juniors on some great sailing.

Overall results:

1st - Jake Steele; 2nd - Mitch Kelsey’ 3rd - Zoe Robinson

Sailing at Goolwa Aquatic Club offers something for everybody across a range of dinghy classes. The junior fleet continues to grow, with the Goolwa waters offering the perfect safe environment for kids to develop their skills and confidence. And for adult sailors, there’s no shortage of friendly competition no matter what your standard.

While the summer season has only a couple more months to run, Sunday sailing then continues with a winter series. More information is available on the GAC Sailing Facebook page.