Sailors competing in the 2012 Eurobodalla Tourism Batemans Bay Regatta showed great resilience even just getting to the event after recent landslides on the Kings Highway. Many Canberra based sailors decided not to travel due to the extensive detours involved. Despite this a good fleet of 90 boats entered. There was an excellent turnout of 17 Lightweight Sharpies who were conducting heats of their NSW Championships at this regatta. The Hobie 16, Hobie 18, 505, B14 and Taipan classes all had 5 or more entries which meant they could complete against each other in class racing. The remaining boats were grouped into divisions which raced on handicap.
Unfortunately Hughie was less than kind with truly atrocious conditions on Saturday followed by an ordinary day on Sunday. On Saturday most sailors seemed keen to head out because although it was raining heavily, at least there was some wind. The race management team battled to set a course with visibility down to 500m at times. The racing got underway with the fleet split into six groups which started at five minute intervals. The rain eased off but so did the breeze. Racing eventually deteriorated into a driftathon. Large time gaps opened up as the best sailors were able to keep their boats moving just a little bit quicker. An adverse current at the finish only added to the degree of difficulty. Race two was abandoned much to everyone’s relief. Race management boats helped out by towing many of the stragglers back in to Corrigan’s Beach after the finish.
Sunday was a more pleasant day but the wind rarely got above 8 knots. The dinghies and catamarans did two more races around a triangular course. When the going proved slower than expected, an early decision was made to the finish the morning race at around two thirds of the original length so as to get both races in during the time available. The marks were pulled in to shorten the final race but even so some boats took up to two hours to finish. On Sunday the trailerable yachts headed out around the BBSC Pentastar course which uses permanent marks at Chain Bay, Yellow Rock, Toll Gates, Wimbie Beach and Caseys Beach. They had a scenic day out although that race too had to be shortened due to slow progress.
There were some excellent performances throughout the fleet. Michael Forster, Andrew Forster and Ben Phillips sailing “Smoke” won the highly tactical battle of the Lightweight Sharpies. Tasar veterans Rick Longbottom and Nick Grey showed great acumen in winning their division. Mick Butler and his young daughter Bonnie Butler achieved a clean sweep in the Hobie 16s. Perhaps the standout was Canberra junior sailor Cassandra Schlimbach who sailed her Laser Radial to victory in her division while taking time out of many larger and nominally quicker boats. Well done Cassandra.
Of the local sailors the always laid back Rob Way won the Taipans. Rob Currall achieved a popular third placing in the same fleet. Peter and Tom Ryan sailed their Hobie Tiger into second place in their division. While Peter Schwarz suffered gear failure on Saturday and was unable to sail on Sunday, Michael O’Brien finished the final race in triumphant fashion on his Maricat and vowed that he would be back. Full results are available at www.bbsc.org.au.
- Lachlan Brown
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