Mark Pierce in his boat Yellow in the Richmond River Sailing and Rowing Club round at Ballina on Sunday. Photo: Jane Morgan
Mark Pierce in his boat Yellow in the Richmond River Sailing and Rowing Club round at Ballina on Sunday. Photo: Jane Morgan

Testing conditions for sailors on Richmond River

LAST Sunday’s Richmond River Sailing and Rowing Club championship round was held in scorching heat and high humidity.

The ocean’s response was to throw strong north-north-easterlies at the coast, making sailing conditions very testing.

The tide was incoming during the race and due to there having been no rain for quite a while leading up to the race, the river was very clean.

A large turtle was spotted right in front of one competitor, a good example of why we should continue to keep plastic out of our waterways.

Dolphins also made an appearance during the race, right near the boats, one being very young.

The sunny day and river cleanliness resulted in the colour of the water ranging from aquamarine in the shallows, to a royal blue in deeper parts – truly spectacular.

Having just returned from a stay at Sydney Harbour watching the Sydney to Hobart start from the Heads in washing machine conditions and viewing the NYE fireworks on the water near the Opera House Ian Bowles returned to race on the Richmond and, with crew Sarah Callinan, skippered Serenity to a comfortable win.

The monohull division was dominated by visiting Tweed sailor Kate Yeomans in her laser 4.7, Bluey.

Yeomans sailed the boat beautifully to claim her second championship race of the season, and again showed the value of the laser 4.7 featuring reduced sail area in strong wind.

Mr Consistent, Col Woodbry, in his catamaran Shore Thing, won the cat division for the fifth time in seven races.

This was despite nursing a serious ligament injury in his foot, sailing contrary to doctor’s orders.

The testing conditions were too much for the bulk of the gennaker fleet, with five out of seven boats retiring.

It was a very common sight to witness a capsized gennaker near their bottom mark, the required gybe often sending them over in that gusty section of the course.

Over the entire fleet 17 out of 27 boats finished – a good indicator of the challenges on the day.


Trailer sailors: 1 Serenity, Ian Bowles/Sarah Callinan. 2 Spudgun, Matt Cartwright/Charlie Pearce.

Catamarans: 1 Shore Thing, Col Woodbry. 2 First Strike, Tony Pullyn/Martine Borrack. 3 Finely Tuned, Chris Hallet/Seamus Coakley.

Gennakers: 1 Second Wind, Michael Wiley/Tara Goodie. 2 Trade Secret, Barry Bradford/Anna Hugenholtz.

Monohulls: 1 Bluey, Kate Yeomans. 2 Graeme Garden, Trent and Daisy Morgan. 3 Hammin’ It Up, Cameron Delaney.