Rough weather causes havoc on Wallagoot


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The weather for Saturday sailing has not been great since COVID restrictions were lifted and organised racing returned to Wallagoot Lake. This Saturday was no different, which probably reduced the number of competitors. However, the rains cleared at midday to leave strengthening winds from the south, up from 10 knots to gusty winds of 12 to 20 knots from the south east. One competitor thought discretion was the better part of valour and pulled out at the last minute. So five boats set off for a handicap race. Alan Holbrook in his Sabre “Illusion” was the first boat to start, and was making heavy weather of it to just get to the start line, and then had a gear failure! The outhaul of his sail had unclipped and the sail was flapping out of control. Alan was not going to give up. He had come for a sail and he was going to finish the race. So he limped back to shore, reconnected his sail and headed off again. Bob Harris in his Sabre “Stormy Petrel” had set off just behind Illusion and was able to take the lead. The gusty conditions were troubling him however, so he too called it a day. In the meantime Mark Gerrand in his Mosquito Catamaran “Buzz” had started, closely followed by Jamie and Izzy on their MG “Screwloose”. Dennis Stanton in Weta Trimaran “Tokoriro” had a fair wait due to his handicap before he could start. The fleet was battling into the wind with Buzz rounding the first mark followed closely by Screwloose. All the boats were screaming along on the reaches. Spray flying, bows going under waves. Boats almost capsizing, catamarans standing on one hull. And then hard work tacking into the wind. The gusting winds were too much for Screwloose and Jamie and Izzy ended up in the water, requiring rescue and had to withdraw from the race. The discussion prior to the race about rescuing capsized boats had been very timely. Tokoriro was sailing further than he needed to when he found himself doing a reach rather than the downward run. He corrected his error and started to make up time on the lead boat Buzz was heading the race at the penultimate reach, but Tokoriro was gaining. Buzz swore at the catamaran marker, being 200m further out from the monohull (and trimaran) mark. Tokoriro was around first and first around the final mark with Buzz close behind. Tokoriro was much too good tacking to the finish line and crossed long before Buzz. But Illusion was close on Buzz’s tail and crossed 11 seconds later. Final positions were: first Dennis Stanton on Tokoriro, second Mark Gerrand on Buzz and a very game third to Alan Holbrook on Illusion. All credit to Alan, the only Sabre to finish the race, in conditions that didn’t suit the Sabres. He would have come second and may even have won if he hadn’t lost time due to his gear failure. The hard work of the first race was considered enough by the three finishing boats so the final race was called off and earlier afternoon drinks in the club house were enjoyed by all. Thanks to Rob and Sian Morton, and Morrie Lynch who ran the race and undertook the rescue. The club is always interested in new members and anyone who is interested can bring their boat down. Races start at 12.30pm every Saturday. The club offers sailing lessons, club boats for hire to race, good fun and friendship. For more details see the website at wlbc.org.au.

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