Yachties sail away with wins
LOCAL honour was maintained when Richmond River Sailing & Rowing Club commodore Phill Robbins led the charge at the Autumn Regatta at Harwood on the weekend.
Robins was in his element, winning the catamaran division with two first places and two second places at the event hosted by the Big River Sailing Club, located at Harwood on the Clarence River.
Saturday’s Bridge to Breakers race was a marathon starting from the clubhouse slightly down river from the new bridge.
Faster boats went down river and rounded a navigational buoy just short of Iluka while slower boats turned at a buoy approximately 2km closer to the club.
Conditions were grey and occasionally wet all weekend, contrasting with the warm hospitality of the club.
Winds ranged from south to southeast and varied in strength from no breeze to strong and blustery.
Moderate winds were encountered running downwind to the large bend in the river at Goodwood Island, before blustery conditions were met around the corner.
Capsizes occurred and some thrilling rides were experienced as waves formed as the tide fought with the wind direction.
After a squall blew over, the fleet was becalmed for nearly an hour, hugging river banks to avoid the outgoing tide and many were still sailing after three hours.
Sunday brought generally lighter winds with three short races being held around courses in front of the club.
Racing was very tricky at times as the Clarence picked up pace in the run-out tide and wind strengths dropped, making buoy roundings challenging.
In the fast monohull division it was close at the top with three RRSRC crews taking the top three positions, Bill Heuchmer in his RS100 eventually prevailing.
Two father/son teams took second and third – Brendan and Tom McKeown in their Formula 15 were second, Duncan Dey and Daniel Gomelsky in their NS14 took third.
In the yacht/trailer sailor division Andrew McInnes and Todd Goldsmith in Shades of Grey placed second.
Club Championship racing resumes this weekend in Ballina.