Weather ultimate test for sailors
THE Clarence River Yacht Club held its annual Classic Cruise and Race over the past week.
Sixteen boats entered the cruise, from Grafton to Iluka and return, from October 3-10.
However, torrential rain resulted in some participants going home early when their yachts became too wet to continue.
There was also an unfortunate accident on the slippery river bank near the wharf at Ulmarra, which resulted in a broken leg for a Queensland sailor. Members of the club rallied and retrieved the sailor’s classic wooden yacht from the rising waters.
Seven remaining yachts continued to Maclean to complete the cruise. They sailed under the Harwood Bridge on Wednesday and continued to Iluka. There was a rough passage from Brown’s Rocks to Iluka, with two-metre waves over the deck and 25-knot winds.
Sailors enjoyed the hospitality of Sedges Reef Hotel for two relaxing days, with Thursday a lovely sunny day, before the boats returned to Maclean on Friday.
They were joined by a group of Careel sailors from Brisbane and Sydney for the return race to Grafton on Friday. The river was still running with a flood tide, so it was decided to move the start of the race to Lawrence.
Within the race a “State of Origin” event was held for the Careels, which went to New South Wales.
Despite the uncertain weather this was a very successful event and the Clarence River Yacht Club is looking forward to the Overnight Yacht Race and Catamaran Marathon to be held on November 23.
Division 1 for the smaller trailer yachts was won by Bob Bower, from Wollongong, in a Sonata 7. Mike Turton, from Woodrising, NSW, was 2nd in a Careel 18 and David Cook, from Sandgate, Qld, placed 3rd in his Careel 18.
Division 2 for the larger trailer yachts was won by local Seawind catamaran Good Times, skippered by Paul Dougherty. 2nd place went to White Heather, Sonata 760, skippered by Don McLeod and third place went to Connie Marie 11, sailed by Alex Purvis and his crew.