Brendan and Riley McKewan, South Brisbane Sailing Club.
Brendan and Riley McKewan, South Brisbane Sailing Club.

Elements fail to halt regatta

By Adam Hicks ON A 15-KNOT south-easterly breeze, Ballina sailors Jacklyn Heap and Jim Moody created catamaran carnage yesterday in the Richmond River Sailing and Rowing Club annual regatta at Ballina.

Heap’s 4.5m catamaran ploughed into Moody’s 5.8m catamaran, and her craft pierced Moody’s hull.

The incident, although reportedly ‘unavoidable’, was one of 12 during two days of sailing that left sailors needing rescuing from volunteer crews.

One catamaran ran into the rock wall. Another blew into the club’s wharf and several ran aground.

A spokeswoman said while no- one was injured, changing winds and shallow banks made conditions difficult for visiting crews.

“We had a lot of people running aground, with the tide and sandbanks,” she said.

“When you get visitors coming down to sail who don’t know the river, there are quite a lot of shallows that create hazards. “It was quite a challenge.”

The event was expected to attract up to 50 boats, but the weather kept numbers down to 29 boats with 90 participating sailors.

“The weather kept a few people away but it was a fantastic event,” the spokeswoman said.

“It was really well supported by competitors and volunteers.”

There were four races in three categories. Duncan Dey, of Main Arm, was the only local to have a win. He took out the Mono Hull division in his NS 14.

Bruce Whales, of Queensland, won the trailer sailor category in his Hartley.

The catamaran series was won by Roscoe Guinea, of Brisbane, in a Nacra 4.5m.

Special mention goes to Ballina’s Glen Frost, who achieved a club first by managing to cross the starting line backwards.

For his efforts Frost, who is new to the sport, was given a prize for becoming the first person to achieve the feat at a local regatta.

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