Sailors wiped out in wild winds
TWO races completed the Ballina Rowing and Sailing Club's annual regatta with the heavy air arriving earlier than expected on Sunday.
The catamarans got away to a great start but the same couldn't be said for the gennakers.
The RS100s starting on time but the Formula 15s inexplicably arriving late to the line after testing the course.
All involved knew that any mistakes could end up with wet consequences and it happened for many. The RS100s were falling like flies - swatted by strong gusts, many having multiple capsizes, some ending up with their masts sticking into the river bed.
One Taipan catamaran skipper was propelled through the bottom of his mainsail after he was vaulted during a capsize - an expensive journey.
Colin Woodbry in Shore Thing who has been winning nearly every race this season due to his prowess in heavy air capsized three times.
One of these occurred when both his hulls nose-dived at speed while speeding downwind which catapulted him through the air landing on front of his boat.
Even more spectacular was his capsize to windward whilst travelling upwind.
Colin was in the water on his back watching his mainsail about to land on him when suddenly the sail was lifted back up by a gust, righting the boat and launching him back onto it.
He accepted his second placing for the regatta with a noticeable shuffling gait.
The Trailer Sailors were not spared from drama either with RL24 Treasure Island being almost knocked over despite four crew members counteracting the force of the wind.
This is a boat with a heavy lead bulb underneath on the end of a retractable board, designed to prevent anything a capsize
The monohull division fared no better with four boats capsizing at one point or another.
There were some standout performances - Jonathan Horsley and Martine Borrack in the NACRA 5.8 catamaran 2Footextra, taking the day without incident and finishing first in the cat division.
With a third in the upriver race and a second in the Sunday race Graham Hams demonstrated excellent survival sailing to win the monohull division comfortably.
With excellent sailing the gennaker division was also won comfortably by Zac Heuchmer and Clare Southwell in the Formula 15 Magic Formula.
Spudgun (Matt Cartwright/John Kulas) took first in the Regatta Trailer Sailor division.
Monohulls - 1. Alter Ego - Graham Hams 2. Windsurfer - Neil Hynds 3. Bluey - Kate Yeomans
Catamarans - 1. 2 Foot Extra - Jonathan Horsley/Martine Borrack 2. Shore Thing - Col Woodbry 3. Finely Tuned - Chris Hallet/Seamus Coakley
Trailer Sailors - 1. Spudgun - Matt Cartwright/John Kulas 2. Serenity - Ian Bowles 3. Run Rabbit Run - Colin Hinwood/Phil Causley
Gennakers - 1. Magic Formula - Zac Heuchmer/Clare Southwell 2. Shachi - Bill Heuchmer 3. 5Buckeroos - Vince Selleck