Our contingent of nine sailors and their entourages gathered for a four-day weekend of sunny skies, balmy temperatures and crystal clear water for the National Masters Championship at Mooloolaba. On Day 1, the wind was a little lighter than some had hoped, making for some challenging racing where the course had been set in the confines of the bay. Things were looking up on Day 2, with a good 10-12 knots, increasing swell and a course well out into open water, and it just got better on Days 3 and 4, as the wind increased and wave catching became the norm. Finally, Pat was able to say one of his favourite phrases, "Got some good rides".
The competition was stiff, with a field bristling with former Olympians and Olympic campaigners, and current and former World Champions, attending from all round Australia, New Zealand and even England. Our top performers were Martin White, 12th in the 35-65yo Radials (9th GM), and Rod Barnes, 15th in the Standards (7th Master), which were both excellent performances in such a competitive fleet. Congratulations to our good friend, Robert Lowndes who was 1st in the 65+ Radials, racing in a separate fleet.
Club Coach, Brett Beyer made it an exciting contest, scraping out a 3, 4, 2, 2, 1 in the first two days, putting him in 3rd place. But as the wind and waves came into play, his signature downwind technique proved dominant with a 1, 1, 1 on Day 3 ("moving day", as they say in golf), giving him a clear three-point lead. Job done? Apparently not. A 4th and a BFD on Day 4 put him at serious risk in what ended up a nail-biting draw, finally winning the event on countback! Well done, Brett.
Clare quickly found herself in the centre of it all, with official duties including full time countdown. It is well documented that counting for more than four hours a day for more than five days in a row will send you mad. Luckily the regatta was only four days long. Numerous grateful sailors congregated at the boat before each start to hear the clear countdown and set their watches from it. Thanks Clare for a perfectly conducted critical role.
To get a taste of what it was like at the Nationals check out Adventures of a Sailor Girl and The Australian Laser National Titles pages on Facebook. There are heaps of excellent photos and videos to peruse. And a final word – what is "gunwale bum"? Feel free to ask any of the returning sailors.