Carter impresses on return
THE club's exceptional run of good weather continued on Saturday for the final race of this year's Warm Up Series.
Race official Dennis Boyd said it was unusual to get four weeks of such good sailing weather in a row, as a moderate south-easterly breeze set the scene for a great day.
"Over the last couple of years we've had to cancel a lot of races because of rain and floods, so we're really happy with the way the season's shaping up," Boyd said.
Twelve boats contested the event, with Lasers making up the bulk of the fleet.
By the time racing got under way the breeze was gusting at about 10 knots, requiring some careful steering and quick reflexes to avoid collisions.
A strong incoming tide and favourable wind shifts along the northern bank had most skippers opting for the left side of the course to the first mark.
The fleet then had a long, leisurely run to the bottom mark near the rowing club, followed by a hard return work, broken by two quick reaches across the river.
Three laps of the lengthy course were completed, taking about an hour and a half.
The standout performance came from Neale Carter. Returning to sailing for his first race of the season and using an ancient club boat, Carter timed his start perfectly and shot to an early lead.
He fought off challenges by rival skipper Steve Russell and the pair soon had an unbeatable lead on the fleet. Despite different sailing styles the skippers were rarely more than a few metres apart.
As the race progressed Russell appeared to be gaining the upper hand, only to fall into a wind shadow in the last lap, giving his opponent the opportunity to overtake and cross the line with seconds to spare.
Russell, however, had already accumulated enough points to give him the overall series win.
Peter Zietsch was third, just ahead of Karl Cooksley, who was forced to carry out penalty turns after hitting the same mark twice.
Sailing brilliantly in the later stages of the race, Neil Burgess just kept getting faster and only narrowly missed a minor placing.
James Harrison continues to improve and is particularly fast in the stronger breezes.
Making a welcome return to the sport after a long absence, life member and veteran NS14 sailor Jim Smith ventured back on to the water by crewing for long-time rival Dennis Boyd.
With decades of experience between them, the pair had a great afternoon on the water doing battle with the Lasers.
Sailing his new Laser Radial for the first time, Tyson Hancock acquitted himself nicely by completing the course in a respectable time. Hancock will be a strong contender in this class.
There is no sailing on Saturday because of the Bridge to Bridge Ski Race. Competition will resume on October 6, with the first heat of the club pointscore. For more information see www.crsc.yachting.org.au.