PLAIN SAILING: Paul Scully and Josh Crompton sailing in their catamaran in the weekend?s Bridge to Breakers.
PLAIN SAILING: Paul Scully and Josh Crompton sailing in their catamaran in the weekend?s Bridge to Breakers.

Screaming southerlies spice up bridge races

THE Big River Sailing Club was thrilled with the inaugural Two Day Bridge to Breakers Regatta held over the weekend.

The Club was treated to a fun loving bunch of competitors with nearly 60 boats consisting of a strong contingent of yachts, catamarans and dinghy class monohulls.

Competitors travelled from as far away as Noosa on the Sunshine Coast to Lake Macquarie in Newcastle and as close as the Clarence River Sailing Club in Grafton.

Big River country came good once again with a winning combination of plentiful winds, fine food and a relaxed atmosphere which we trust will entice our competitors back again next year.

The weekend comprised of three races with Saturday's being down to Iluka and back up to the Harwood Bridge (and if you were a catamaran, back down to Goodwood wharf returning to the clubhouse via the bridge again).

Juniors completed a shortened course to Goodwood and return.

By the end of the day, everyone was feeling pleasantly exhausted with plenty of stories to tell of their journey.

Some had an embarrassingly close encounter with a sand bank; another sailor had flung out on trapeze only to discover they hadn't hooked up and spent some time swimming after the boat.

As if there wasn't enough exercise sailing the boat in the strong easterly winds.

Sunday comprised of two races ? a shortened round the buoys course in the morning and a race to the Goodwood wharf returning via the bridge was held in the afternoon.

While the morning race in light winds was pretty tame, the afternoon race certainly made up for the deficit in the morning.

There were some spectacular scenes by all craft with the southerly winds providing a 'screaming reach' putting plenty of smiles on dials.

Prizes were presented on both days of the Regatta with the Saturday trophies acknowledging the fine effort of sailors in travelling to Iluka and back.

The Sunday presentation brought together the overall results for the weekend and provided cash prizes for the winners (and a delicious afternoon tea for all).

Our thanks go to all competitors for a great weekend and to our sponsors (National Dredging Services, Iluka Hot Bread and Clarence River Fishermen's Co-opera- tive) for their generous support.

Record under threat

SYDNEY. ? The high-tech super maxi Alfa Romeo could strip as much as 10 hours from the line honours record in this year's Sydney to Hobart race, owner Neville Crichton believes.

"The record is certainly up for grabs," Crichton said at yesterday's launch of the 628-nautical mile classic, regarded as the toughest blue water yacht race in the world.

A relaxation of rules has opened the way to the next generation of super maxis like Alfa Romeo and its near relative Wild Oats XI (Bob Oatley), which has yet to be put in the water.

The $10 million Alfa Romeo can carry 800 square metres of sail on a mast 44 metres high.

It is so tall it has to wait for low tide before it can pass under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The current line honours record, just under 44 hours is held by Nokia.

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