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79 Bay St
Double Bay, NSW, 2028

The finest Laser sailing club in the world, located in Double Bay on Sydney Harbour.


Sailing in Saturday’s Wild Weather

Kirk Marcolina

Last Saturday’s Club Championship turned into quite a challenge. Race one was fairly typical, with a N/NE 15 knot breeze. But then Mother Nature made things interesting for race two. A squall line hit and the NE breeze faded quickly and was soon replaced with a 40 knot Westerly. Some relished the intense challenge. Pat Levy was grinning all the way as his boat hit 17.07 knots (as tracked by Brett Beyer’s GPS). Ian Alexander “loved it” and was proud to not have capsized during the squall – but he did admit to granny tacking around the bottom mark. The race was quickly officially abandoned, and many struggled to keep their boats upright, smartly choosing to ride out the squall sitting on top of their turtled Lasers.  There was some minor boat damage to DBSC Lasers (the worst being a snapped mast). Other fleets on the harbour didn’t fare so well. Several Ynglings were pushed against the Point Piper rocks and one sunk.  

By all accounts the race committee handled the situation well with the Jazzman, two club RIBs and Brett Beyer’s RIB all working as response / sweep vessels. In addition to helping our fleet they also managed to rescue the crew of the sinking Yngling. It was also great to see experienced competitors acting unprompted as monitor / sweep boats. Thank you to Jonathan Stone, Clare Alexander, Justin Laurens, Wade McDonough, Julian van Aalst, Pippa Batchelor, Brett Beyer and Paul Adam for their leadership contributions, and to everyone else involved.

Saturday was a good reminder that the closest boat is responsible for the safety of a capsized sailor, and that we all need to work together when weather like this breaks. The Management Committee has undertaken a full review of safety procedures, to incorporate what was learnt on the day. Specific measures will be announced in subsequent weeks.

To read more about the day, check out some videos and photos, and to contribute your thoughts, visit our member’s Facebook Page, The Top Mark.

Justin Davey's GoPro captures the squall hitting. 

Justin Davey's GoPro captures the squall hitting.