Jewel in sailing racing crown
AFTER being postponed due to Cyclone Oma, the race considered the jewel in the Northern Rivers sailing crown will go ahead next month.
Gale-force winds forced the club to postpone one of the feature events of its racing calendar, the Nick Peate Memorial Race, until March 10.
The race was named to honour the memory of an accomplished young sailor, skipper of the 2008 Australian Youth Team 29er and former club member, who died aged 17 in 2008.
The race is open to all sailors, club members or not. It's long, exhilarating and satisfying to finish, with great stories often resulting from crew.
Commodore Phill Robbins said the fastest boats in the fleet comprising catamarans, gennakers and the trailer sailors, race to Wardell bridge, then back, depending on the wind strength and direction.
"The mono-hull fleet sail to a mark near Pimlico Island and back as their pace is slower,” he said.
"This is a very exciting race, sort of like a Cannonball Run on water, the difference being that the speeding is legal.
"Finishing this event will be the achievement.”
The first significant challenge is to negotiate the Burns Point Ferry without becoming entangled in the ferry lines.
The next challenge is often negotiating a wind shadow at Burns Point.
Wind shadows along the narrow stretches can also cause real problems - fast one moment, becalmed the next. Boats can end up going backwards while a strong breeze is blowing only 20m away.
A huge obstacle throughout the race is that due to shifting depths, no-one really knows where the shallow mud flats lurk near the channel markers.
On the last up-river race, a renowned Formula 15 crew's centreboard hit the mud at speed past Burns Point while trying to skirt the wind shadow. They came to an abrupt halt with enough force to throw the skipper through the mainsail and the crew through the jib.
Meanwhile, the RRSRC racing on March 3 is for standard point score and for the Pacer series.
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