Another fantastic weekend of sun, light breeze and lots of fun at the Beyond Bank Anzac Weekend Regatta, held 22 – 23 April 2017.
Twelve boats (Hansa 303s, Optimists, Puffin Pacer and a Heron) launched under the watchful eye of two safety boats provided by Sailability Batemans Bay to sail the Inside Course south of Snapper Island, whilst other boats, mainly Sharpies, catamarans, Lasers, Cherubs sailed to the Outside Course. Meanwhile, Race Officer Michael Leydon, assisted by James Allan, on board Daffodil (kindly provided by Sailabiity ACT) set up a trapezoid course with assistance from another RIB (lent by YMCA Sailing Club, Canberra) and crewed by Hamish Balfour from YMCASC. Yachting ACT also provided a RIB, which acted as a safety boat on both Inside and Outside Courses, crewed by members of Canberra Yacht Club.
Saturday morning was sunny, with initially a light land breeze, which turned easterly and settled at 3-4kots. This caused an initial delay in the Start Time but three back to back races were sailed, with combined starts for all divisions. Competitors ranged in age from 8 -81 years, and we had wheelchair users both sailing and in the Start Boat, as well as other physically and intellectually challenged sailors. The eight Hansa 303s (4 from Canberra and four from Batemans Bay had extremely close racing by the end of the regatta, with the exception of Gerda and Paul (Canberra) who were in a fleet of their own out front achieving six straight firsts. The Sunday Races had a little more breeze, which allowed the Pacer, with its longer water line and higher rig to finally run down the Heron that was first home in all the previous races to finish the regatta with a fastest time.
There were lots of highlights during the regatta.
We rigged our boats alongside the Sharpies, Catamarans, Lasers, Cherubs, 505s, etc on the beach and everyone pitched in to help each other. A great example of true integration in the sport.
Most sailors launched from the beach then paddled/sailed safely over the shallow sand banks without incident. Kim Ballantyne from Canberra, competing in a 303 single (she is usually a Skud sailor and used to dock access from her wheelchair) hitched a ride out onto the course on the Start Boat from Hanging Rock, and was able to transfer into her Hansa 303, out on the water. Soft sand is not conducive to easy access by wheelchair. Over the two days of racing, there were 3 Hansas sailed single with Kim achieving third place within the Hansa fleet. A good reward for her determination to take part!
Drinks and chocolates were distributed to the fleet, as required, between races and were well received.
Salability ACT organised a great cook up at the Caravan Park on Saturday night, allowing lots of interaction with the Sharpie sailors, renewing old friendships and establishing new.
At the Presentation at the Batemans Bay Sailing Club on Sunday afternoon, everyone combined to hear and applaud the results of the Outside and the Inside Course. Full results are available at https://bbsc.org.au/Results/4770473. It was interesting to consider the results for the Inside Course fleet, based on the Victorian Yardstick:
1st 6.5 Crash Test Dummies Heron
2nd 12.5 Ability Hansa 303
3rd 23 River Rat Optimist
4th 32 Capital Chemist Hansa 303
5th 37 Chicken Legs Pacer
Thanks are due to many: Batemans Bay Sailing Club, Sailability Batemans Bay, Sailability ACT, Yachting ACT, Canberra Yacht Club, YMCA Sailing Club, the Jim Brown Trust and most of all to the sailors and their supporters.