For the very first Classic Dinghy Classes Invitation Weekend we had a great venue, a welcoming and accommodating club and it just a real shame that the weather was not on our side.
On Saturday morning we arrived at the Cairn Curran Sailing Club where the Flying Dutchman class was already setting up for their State Titles. As well as the FDs, we had a sail training day going on for the club and a club race scheduled for the afternoon. For the Classic Dinghy Invitation Weekend there were a couple of VJs, a Gwen 12 all the way from South Australia, a mouldie Moth plus a few others and in the end eleven Australian Sailfish, but only eight skippers. Jack had brought along Glasshopper, a composite boat with a fibreglass hull and a ply deck, and I had brought along Bruce!, Stanley Crocodile and Mrs Vicious, with the hope that a local or two might have wanted to have a sail.
There was thunderstorm activity going on in the area, with some action to the north and a large cell sitting south of the lake for much of the day. During the morning the wind backed from the north around to the west and maybe even south of that before swinging back to the north and coming in strong. At the clubhouse it seemed a strong wind, but once we got about 150 metres off shore it quickly became apparent that it was really blowing, and those that actually started the race spoke of waves nearly a metre high at the south end of the lake that they were able to surf across. In the end, many of the boats opted for safety, not wanting to go out and break stuff, and a few of the more skilful, or brave, or . . . . , skippers headed out to the start. I took Mrs Vicious out for a sail across the lake and back before giving it away, to worried about breaking anything, maybe including myself (!) to want to stay out. Andrew Lewis took out 1851 Brigand for a brief sail before also deciding discretion was the better option.
In what seems to be rapidly becoming a tradition for the class, everyone missed the start to a greater or lesser extent. The race was won by Brian Carroll on Jack’s Toy, followed by Chris Cleary on Janus, Ian Milton on Apsu and Ken Maynard on a rapidly sinking Helen, Chris Drury on Blowed if I Know had to retire due to a broken rudder, and all of them reported having a swim at least once during the race.
Later in the day the wind died off a bit and Ken O’Brien took out 1808 Cobra and I took out Stanley Crocodile with the Ockerfish rig for a short sail, but with some nasty weather complete with lightning to the south we didn’t venture far.
On Saturday evening a great meal was had at the sailing club, while we all sat around and told tales, some of which might even have been true, before heading off for a well earned rest.
Sunday arrived with thunderstorms and rain, and by the time we had made it out to the club we had thunderstorm activity with lightning strikes in three out of four quadrants. When I asked local skipper Mark Teasedale for his advice, he just shook his head and said “I wouldn’t be going out yet”. At ten the Flying Dutchmen called off their racing for the day, had their presentation and started to pack, by eleven the weather was still looking pretty ordinary and the club announced that there would be no racing that day. And so, we started to pack away our boats.
By two there was blue sky and John Fairfax took out a VJ, an A12 (Bethwaite designed one man trapeze rig) owned and restored by Andrew Kean went for a sail and the Gwen 12 from South Australia hit the water. I later learned the wind shifts were in the order of 90 degrees which would not have been fun on a Sailfish, but at least it wasn’t blowing a gale.
Boats and skippers that came along:
600, Helen, Ken Maynard
1808, Cobra, Ken O’Brien
1851, Brigand, Andrew Lewis
1918, Janus, Chris Cleary
2192, Apsu, Ian Milton
3342, Glasshopper, Jack Carroll
3456, Blowed if I Know, Chris Drury
3461, Jack’s Toy, Brian Carroll
And I brought along
1375, Mrs Vicious
3330, Stanley Crocodile, with the 3250 Ockerfish rig
Surprise visitors included Rob Champion, past National Champion on 1302, Sish, Craig Conn who used to own 3422, Al Martin who has just acquired 3333, Russell Brennan who used to sail a Sailfish out of Beaumaris, Barry Murfett who used to sail a Sailfish (209?) on the bay as well, and the Cairn Curran owner of Mud Shoveller, whose name I neglected to write down (sorry). I hope we see them all at future events, hopefully with a boat.
Some of the photos we were able to get have been posted in the Victoria Gallery, and we hope to have a few more soon, so be sure to have a look at that as well.