Carl Cooksley checks out his rig as he sails under the Grafton Bridge on Saturday.
Carl Cooksley checks out his rig as he sails under the Grafton Bridge on Saturday. Lynne Mowbray

High tide launch for hardy sailors

DESPITE heavy rain showers and a muddy rigging area, Clarence River Sailing Club members at their latest point score event were initially encouraged by a steady south easterly breeze blowing across the river.

A very high tide made launching easy but the strong outgoing current added to the day’s challenges which had to be carefully allowed for at rounding marks.

Racing got underway with a clean start and on the first work positions changed regularly as boats spread out across the river looking for the best breeze.

As the race wore on the wind swung further to the south and gradually faded as further showers hit the fleet.

Crews persisted and still managed to complete a shortened course in spite of the breeze being almost dead calm by the finish.

“It was a really slow race,” said nine-year old NS14 crew member Morgen Parkin.

“At one stage we had stopped and were starting to drift backwards towards the Grafton bridge.”

In the Laser division, Steve Russell proved his light weather skills again and even though beaten to the first mark, quickly recovered on the downwind leg by taking a risk and sailing to the northern side of the course where he chanced on some good breeze and opened up a lead which he held for the rest of the race.

Laser newcomer Neil Burgess showed he is going to be a strong contender in this class with some very skilful boat handling and took out a well deserved third placing.

The NS14 division was witness to a remarkable comeback as Greg Brotherson and Morgen Parkin worked their way from almost the back of the fleet to the lead on a brilliant up wind work in the second lap.

Finding breeze that no one else could discover, the pair glided their boat through the water overtaking everyone in their path and took out the overall line honours.



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