Symmetry of results continue

There have been eight races in the GFS Twilight spring series to date, in thee of them we have been 2nd across the line and 2nd on handicap on three occasions. Last evening we were 3rd across the line and 3rd on handicap, in half the race thus far our result on scratch has been matched by our result on handicap. It could have been better, we just might have achieved anther 2 and 2 if I had not made the simplest of mistakes, read on.

Some time ago Michael Groves from Agrovation criticized my starting technique in that I tended to stay too far away from the line, he quite rightly pointed out that on many occasions I was missing the start by some time, minutes in some instances by being too far from the line and being hindered by other boats or suffering at the hand of an unfriendly wind change. This season I have decided to be quite aggressive on the line, the results have been quite enlightening. We have won the start on a number of occasions (To quote an old friend and knowledgeable yachts racer when asked what’s the best thing to do to get a good result” He said “Get a good start”) but have been OCS on a couple, it is interesting to reflect on those two occasions that the time we lost exonerating ourselves was probably less that what we would have lost in missing the start by being less aggressive.

We won the start again last evening and were only beaten out of Humbug by Agrovation. and were caught by Words Apart before we got to Goat Island, pleasingly we were moving ahead of the rest of the fleet, except for Izzi that just seemed to be stalking us and we could not shake him off until Greenwich Point. The all girl crew, Danni, Joely and Ann did a fantastic job but I had this nagging feeling that although we were sailing the boat really well it seemed that we just could not achieve target speeds.

After finishing I leant down to start the Volvo and noticed that the throttle lever was in the neutral position. I had forgotten to fold the prop, this explained our lack of top speed and some of the unexplained noises and vibrations I could hear and feel for much of the race but did not consider worth thinking about.  I’m not too sure how much speed we would loose without the prop folded but some people said it could be as much a half a knot, if that is the case we could have achieved our fourth 2nd on both handicap and scratch. To Michael Groves credit last evening was the third time this season that he has achieved 1st on both handicap and scratch.

 

 

Satisfied with a Poor Result

Yes I know that the title of this sounds a bit weird but while yesterday’s result was not great it was a most satisfying race. We were beaten across the line by two Etchells and a Robinson 950, these boats flew spinnakers while we did not. To understand the satisfaction of yesterday we need to look at what happened last Wednesday evening’s twilight. Both races were held in similar wind conditions, a nor’easter that was in the generally about 15 knots but had holes down under 10 knots and gusts up around the 30 knot mark.

We started both races with the number 3 jib and a reef in the main, on Wednesday evening I threw away a great start by out thinking myself with strategy, without trying to explain in detail what I did was to go chasing where I thought the best wind would build instead of going to where the wind was. Some of the angles we sailed were not the best either, G-whizz has never been great at sailing down or close to down wind without her symmetrical spinnaker, with the little jib and a reefed main she is bit of a slug square. She will also outpoint just about any boat this side of the outright racers even with a reef in, but she will not point as high as I was trying to sail her on Wednesday evening, I should have been sent to jail for pinching so much. Suffice to say we did not give much trouble to the scorers. While the conditions favored the bigger heavier boats that we race against when we did get thing right we were not that far away on boat speed, better thinking on my behalf would have given a far better result.

I have noticed that while the Number 3 makes life easier to tack and gybe for the head sail sheeters it does require a lot of strength to winch on the last few centimeters to a close hauled position. I think its has something to do with geometry and the relative angles that the sheet exit the head sail traveler cars, when and if I can work it out I’ll write something about it. The bottom line is that it can at times take a bit of time to get back up to a close hauled course after tacking. On Wednesday the Dianne and Ann did a great job working together to complete the tacks, while Chris was outstanding in the difficult conditions on the main.

Yesterday we were again four up with Rob and Ann on head sail duty and Chris again on the main. With only four and the gusty conditions we had no intention of using a spinnaker. Two of the Etchells and Blue Chip the Robinson 950 used their spinnakers to great effect on some if not all of the runs. The satisfaction comes from a couple of sources. The first was the way we sailed the boat, I thought a little more about where we were going and steered her for speed avoiding the temptation to point too high and steering for decent angles on the runs. The second was that for probably the first time Hasta la Vista  did not use one of their spinnakers, so we had a race on equal terms and we were able to beat them across the line. John and I don’t get much opportunity to race each other on equal terms so I’m sure he relished the opportunity as much as I did. There was an amusing bit of banter when we were overtaking Hasta la Vista while rounding Spectacle Island. Barbara on Hasta called out that we should stop passing them, our response was that we would stop passing them if they would stop passing us and just be content to follow us. In hind sight we may have been able to be a bit further ahead if we had shaken the reef out on the first two of the three longish runs, and put it back in on the works, this is what John did on Hasta la Vista, we also may have been able to carry a full main on the second last run to windward, but with all dinghy racing going on in the area it was nice to have a modicum control. The wind was a lot nicer on the last work while not dropping much in general speed it did lack the heavy gusts that we had been experiencing for the earlier parts of the race.

Elan 340 G-whizz

The photo  to the right arrived yesterday from Ian Sanford from the Northshore 38″Tartan” who we race  against in blue division on Wednesdays. I am not too sure where he was when he took this photo but we are in the area between Manns Point and Long Nose Point (Birchgove Point) it is narrowest part of the harbour and is also part of a favorite race area for many dinghy competitions.  There are those that may question why I am steering from the low side, to which I’ll answer that it is something I’ll do for safety when we are on a port tack and sailing through other racing fleets, especially when those fleets are made up of Lasers, Hartley 16s, Cherubs and flying 11s. It can get a bit busy in that part of Western Harbour on a Saturday afternoon. The photo also shows that we had a tad too much twist in the main, a bit more vang or dropping the traveler and pulling on more sheet could have given us a bit more power.

Soft Shackles – A Better Way

For some time I have been fascinated by soft shackles, I do like them on yachts for a number of reasons including:

  • They’re soft
  • They don’t do much damage when they hit things
  • They’re smaller than a bowline that they may replace (Especially on head sails) and are far less likely to tangle or get hung up somewhere around the mast during tacking or gybing
  • They tend not to undo
  • They tend not to release
  • Just about anybody can fasten them quickly (As apposed to a bowline)

For a number of years we have been using soft shackles on our head sail sheets, the sheets have eye splices so it is not really practical to end to end them to spread the wear, but we have been using the same sheets for nearly four years now and they are showing no sign of degradation or damage. We do look after them fairly meticulously, washing them in a eucalyptus based detergent every few months. (As we do with most of out lines).

Something that annoyed me with most soft shackles that we have used is that they a made from single braid Dyneema (or equivalent). After a while the line becomes a bit furry, the continual opening and closing seems to break down the plaiting, they just become a bit nasty and get a bit hard to use. I thought that there had to be a “Better way”.

Elan 340 G-whizzWe have been using that “Better way” on our head sail sheets for about twelve months and they are still working perfectly, and showing no sign of degradation, I have just made a new pair as I noticed last evening that the girls were having a bit of difficulty releasing them, the problem being that they are a bit short and do not allow the user to get a good purchase on them to open the captive slider. the new ones are about twice the length so hopefully that will make life a bit easier.

The original shackles were deliberately made short to avoid them entering the head sail traveler bock, but on reflection as long as the stop knot is at the sails clew this will not be an issue.

These “Better way” Shackles are made 6 mm polyester covered dyneema, the capture loop is made by looping 1.7 mm dynice in a figure 8 pattern, one side is attached to the dyneema, but only at each end of the loop allowing for some balancing of the load over the entire loop set. The other side through which the dyneema is free to run has some sneaky weaving to stop the loop set from separating during tightening and/or releasing. At  the other end the stop knot is a simple diamond knot with the loose ends merely heat sealed.

When I read any discussion about soft shackles there seems to be an obsession with strength, my view is that they only have to be as strong as the apparatus that they replace. We use 10 mm spectra sheets. which I understand has a breaking strain of around 4900 kg. put a bowline at the end of it and that strength will drop to somewhere to around 2500 kg. While these shackles have not been tested a reasonable assumption is that the 6 mm Dyneema which has a breaking strain of somewhere around 1700 kg and general contention is that a soft shackle about doubles the breaking strain of the base line, if we assume that these shackles only increase that load by 75% that will give them a breaking strain of about 3000 kg. right in the same ball park of a 10 mm line with a bowline. The looping is made of 1.7 mm dynamic which has a breaking strain of about 240 kg. there are six loops that are balance, if were to conservatively estimate the loop set would provide a say, 240 kg times 3 then the loop set would hold upwards of 720 kg. The actual lateral loads in this area of the shackle would in reality be very minimal.

The only down side to these shackles is that they take a lot longer to make than the standard styles. The up side is that in 12 months racing on average, probably more than once a week and a lot of cruising in between we have not had a single failure.

While comments are not possible on this blog I would be interested in any comments that are posted via the contact form here. I will publish any comments.

  • Elan 340 G-whizz
    Open

What a Weard Race

Last evening’s twilight at GFS was one of the weirdest race I think I have competed in:

We were OCS Again! I think I may be pushing the envelope a bit, but at least we were near the pin so did not lose too much time exonerating ourselves, but it did put us near the back of the fleet in lightish breezes.

The course took us around Goat Island and back to the start finish line outside of the Club on the Lane Cove River, it took until Greenwich Point on the run home before we caught the leaders. It was Worlds Apart (Chris is really sailing that boat well in the light winds) , Agrovation then ourselves with quite a distance to the rest of our fleet,. We were preparing for another good result. Our progress to the front of the field was assisted significantly by Umzimkulu 2’s absence from the race. Let me explain;  we were able to get Danni off Umzimkulu 2 to race with us, she knows G-whizz well having crewed with us at Sail Port Stephens earlier this year, and will again at the same regatta next year, Danni is a great fore deckie, so we were able pole out the head sail on the long square run from Goat Island, a process that gives quite a speed advantage.

Then all hell broke loose, or at least the absolute opposite, there was literally no wind at all in Humbug (That dreadful bit of the Lane Cove river near its junction with the Parramatta River). Most of our fleet bunched up along with many boats from other fleets, there appeared to be about 40 – 50 yachts in Humbug, a bit of water about 300 meters long and 150 meters wide. we were all jostling trying to find any sort of wind, I think we must have gybed twenty times in about five minutes. But unfortunately we could get over to the Western side of Humbug, where if any wind existed it would be there, because it was already populated with apparently half the total twilight fleet. As expected the boats that came in behind us were that were able to get to the western side did, and crept past us. Chris on Worlds Apart out thought us by getting in a good position when entering Humbug, while Agrovation and ourselves pretty much languished and just watched as a substantial lead was whittled away to a deficit.

The finish was extraordinary,  we crossed the line in company with about ten other boats, all of whom finished with in about a thirty seconds of each other. We were the second closest boat to the Club House and looking across towards the pin end it appeared that someone could have “Boat hopped” from us to the pin about 50 meters away. I was feeling pretty frustrated at: One- Being over at the start and Two- watching a good result turn out to be a so-so result in the space of about 300 meters. Ann brought me back to earth when she reminded me of the times when we had achieved a great result by winning the Humbug lottery, occasionally we have got to expect to lose the lottery, as we did last evening.

David Edmiston on Passion X writes about his experience in black fleet (we race in blue fleet) last evening. http://3gwiz.com.au/passion_wp/?p=2121, It would appear that he won the lottery. Another great evening on the water though and a great meal at the Club afterwards on a balmy Spring evening.

A Pair of Seconds for the Third Time

Last evening was the third time in five races in the Spring Twilight Series at Greenwich Flying Squadron that we finished second on scratch and second on handicap. I must admit I won’t be too concerned if this becomes habit forming. Although after last evening’s result our handicap is starting to get pretty big.

Last week I wanted to start at the windward end of the line (At GFS our twilight races are started on a line that runs directly out in front of the Clubhouse across the Lane Cove river, irrespective of the wind angle), it would have been a great strategy had I not started on the wrong side of the clearance buoy, necessitating a return to start correctly, in about 2 knots of wind and against a tide that was taking us to the course side. Last night I tried the same strategy, except instead of running down the line I ran down a parallel course about 20 meters behind line, to give us a bit more wiggle room and concentrated a lot more on my timing. The result was extremely  satisfactory, crossing the line with good speed and in clear air right on the gun.

By starting at the windward end meant that we would have a bit further to travel to get out of Humbug, but it did give us a better wind angle which in the light wind gave us a substantial speed advantage over the rest of the fleet who were close hauled, we were able to accellerate away and had a reasonable lead as we got into the more consistant winds on the Parramatta river. We tried to pick the shifts and make best use of the available tide on the work down to Goat Island, I was also trying to limit the amount of tacking we did to look after the crew, there was only three of us. Worlds Apart and Agovation were slowly eating into our lead.

We were catching and passing a lot of boats that started before us in other divisions, the two bigger Jeanneaus seemed to have better run though these slower yachts with Worlds Apart taking the lead before we got to Goat Island, although I suspect they just sailed better. The run from Goat Island back the finish at the Club was always going to be a challenge, the longer waterlines of the bigger boats and our unwillingness  to use the spinnaker pole to pole out the headsail due to our limited crew would limit our ability to maintain a competitive speed. That’s sort of how it played out, Worlds Apart moved further ahead and Agovation passed us at Greenwich  Point. Surprisingly the three of us were able to open a substantial lead over the rest of the fleet.

Worlds Apart was able to maintain its lead to the finish, but we were lucky enough to win the wind lottery in Humbug over Agrovation. For the third time in the series we finished second on both scratch an handicap. The conditions last evening were right in G-whizz’s sweet spot, Chris and his crew on Worlds Apart sailed a great race in conditions not best suited to the bigger and heavier Jeanneau 39i, while Michael and his crew on Agrovation just seem to be able to make their Jeanneau 369 go fast in any conditions.

A special thanks to Ann and Graham, the crew last night who worked wonders in what was a pretty intense race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A tale of 2 races, neither nice!

A few of us used to joke about the time it took David Edmiston to post on his excellent blog (Visit David’s blog at Passion.org.au or in friends on this site) after a poor result, a good race result would inevitably be followed with a new posting in a short time, while a poor result seemingly took a while longer. After two races where our results have been less than stellar, I have lacked the motivation to update the results pages or even write about it.

The first of these two races was the down harbour race on the 14th of October, we were a crew of three and the winds were in the high teens. Rob did a masterly job on the main, especially as it was his first time in that position. We used the number 3 and a full Main, there was no suggestion that a spinnaker would be taken out of its bag. A 4th on scratch, out of 5 starters an a stone motherless last on handicap is not the type of result that gives you bragging rights.

The second race was last night’s twilight GFS. The winds  were predicted to again be in the high teens but there was a suggestion in the forecast that they would soften as the evening went on. There was a lot of discussion as to what would actually happen, as usual there were about as many opinions as there were participants in the discussion.  With white caps visible in both the Lane Cove an Parramatta Rivers the number 3 and a reef was the order of the day, or evening to be more accurate.

We had a decent crew so I was hopeful for a reasonable result, but with the stronger winds I also knew that it would be  a night favouring the bigger heavier boats. That is the way it turned out. Eight starters 6th on scratch and another stone motherless last on handicap. There was an upside though. At Greenwich Flying Squadron the daily handicap results are awarded with prizes for the first three handicap finishes, the only trick is that you need to be back at the Club to receive your prize, if not there the prize goes to the next boat on the result sheet. We were fortunate that unusually there were a lot of crews that did not go back to the club for dinner after last night’s race, we won a bottle of wine for coming last, actually we won a bottle for just being there and five boats that finished ahead of us weren’t.

Our performance in these two race highlight or lack of experience racing in these winds, G-whizz is a joy in light winds, but can be a bit flighty in stronger winds, I am sure that she is capable to handle these winds (and a lot stronger) it is just that we are struggling to get to her best. Last night in particular was a nightmare with winds ranging from 15 to 22 knots, that I saw, and gusts up to 25 – 28 knots, some of the bullets that hit us seemingly came out of nowhere. Still most of our competitors handled it and we struggled, so some head scratching will need to happen before we race in these conditions again. I am sure it is us, read that to mean me, that are unable to get the best out of G-whizz.

Once again the behavior of most of the boats was exemplary with most taking extra care not to become a hazard to other competitors, and a relaxed attitude to some on water situations where the right of way would have been demanded in more benign conditions, but a pragmatic approach taken to ensure that we all finished the race with no damage, protests or other nasties. It is good to race against good folk.

It was great to have an old friend Dianne on board last night, we are hopeful that she will become a permanent crew member bringing with her a lot of experience and a lovely attitude.

 

 

Twilight racing is back.

Yesterday evening was the second Twilight race of the new season at Greenwich  Flying  Squadron, fortunately the high teen forecast winds did not eventuate, while there were a couple of bullets in the 15ish knot range the wind setled to around 10 to 12 knots falling to almost nothing later in the race, stranding a few of the late runners in the slower divisions.

We were a bit short handed with only three on board, my concerns about tacking the big light weight number 1 genoa with Ann doing much of the work were alleviated on the first tack, a standard that was kept up all race. About the only negative with the short crew was an inability to quicky, easily and safely pole out the headsail on some of the square runs. We were fortunate that the wind stayed pretty constant and we had a bit of room to manoeuvre so it was possible to successfully  gull wing by keeping the boat at or near correct wind angle to keep both sails full.

We had a great start which was due in part to me finally heeding the advice of Michael Groves the skipper of Agrovation, who has for a long time attempted to drum into me “Stay close to the line during the pre start”. Ironically the only other boat to hit the line at the gun was Agrovation. We got through most of Humbug (the stretch of water where the Lane Cove River joins the Parramatta  River so named for its fickle winds) in the lead, however the boats behind were not only blanketing our wind but were bearing down onto us. I decided to gybe to not only get into some clear air but also to get a better angle on the wind on the reach across to Cockatoo Island. With the benfit of hindsight this may not have been the smartest move, going from the lead to mid field in the space of a few minutes. For the rest of the race we watched Agrovation move further ahead, while slowly pulling in the boats between us and Agrovation. The long work from the north westen corner of Cockatoo Island to south east of Goat Island gave us the oppurtunity to use the pointing ability of G-whizz to catch all but Izzi (Did I mention that Agrovation  was getting further ahead in the lead?). We somehow were able to get past Izzi on the run back toward the Lane Cove river in the rapidly softening breeze.

For the second week Agrovation was first on scratch and handicap, with us second on both scratch and handicap, if we can keep this up all season we’ll be stoked, but I think the handicapper will very quickly catch up with both Agrovation and ourselves. As the season unfolds we’ll look more closely at our scratch results.

When Rob Humphries penned the Elan 340 he got something right. I often say that G-whizz is a better sail boat than we are sailors, she certainly flatters us with her performance. This is highlighted by the boats we race against in our twilight division, last evening the second smallest boat was a Jeanneau 36i about 3 foot longer than G-whizz, the biggest boat was a Hanse 400e.

As usual the comeraderie back at the Club was fantastic, with many staying late into the evening enjoying the balmy spring evening on the Deck of Knowledge.

Racing can be frustrating

The first Down Harbour race of the new season, these races start outside the Club house on the Lane Cove river with the course going to Manley, Lady Bay, Neilson Park or one of the islands closer to the Bridge, dependant on wind. The divisions have this year been reorganised into two divisions for yachts and a third for etchells and sports boats, we have been put into division 1.

Ann was unable to race, neither were the rest of the crew who are still off traveling, so it was Michael and Mark from Agrovation, myself and thanks to John we also were able to borrow Jim from Hasta la Vista, the wind was forecast to drop from knots in the mid teens and backing to the south, just perfect for a full rig with the light weight no. 1, also a great oppurtunity for the assymetric spinnaker and that’s the way we set up the boat.

After a good start we were able to get out of Humbug on one tack, I might lay claim to being able to pick the lift along the Hunters Hill shore but in reality we were in the right place at the right time, the wind held at around 12 to 15 knots all the way to Fort Denison, and we were able to get a substantial  distance ahead of the fleet, with the exception of the Young 40 “Flashback” which was disappearing into the distance. The further east we went the more the wind filled in reaching low 20s at times, my concern for the health of the light weight number one was tempered with continual high 8s of boat speed.

We were fortunate that the wind eased and backed a bit which made the work back to Shark Island just about manageable, a reef would probably have given us a bit more speed and control. We rounded the YA mark at Shark Island with a lead of around 1000 to 1500 metres on the rest of the fleet.

Adjacent to Braddleys Head we decided to take advantage of the softening winds and favorable angle to fly the Assy, now I have to say that as a foredeckie I make a pretty good helmsman, being the only one with any assymetric it was obvious to relinquish the wheel to Mick and venture forward of the mast, a pretty slow hoist followed. We pretty well held our lead to just east of the bridge where we fell into on gigantic hole, very little wind up ahead and the rest of the fleet catching up to us quickly on a freshening easterly, racing can really be frustrating at times.

It was about this time that I should have remembered that there was only one person on board with experience with asymmetricals, that was me and I was on the foredeck. A couple of not so smooth gybes and we were at the back of a group of boats, then came the first of the subsequent frustrations, we lost a huge lead to the vagaries of the wind, only to accelerate away again when we got the spinnaker sorted and all of us were in the same conditions, those that have raced through Humbug (a stretch of about 500 meters of water at the junction of the Lane Cove an Paramatta rivers so called because of the fickle winds present at most times) will know full well where our last frustration came from.

Any day on the water is a good day, made even better by being part of a fabulous group of sailors at Greewich Flying Squadron, now all we have to do is find out where we pay for a premium subscription to the wind!

A Brand New Season

The 2017 – 18 sailing season started today on  beautiful Sydney spring day, the light winds motivated the starters to display an AP for about 30 minutes, long enough for a nice easterly to fill in with wind speeds in the 5 to 10 knot range. This season we have been moved up into division 1. Division 1 is dominated with Etchells and some of the faster boats in the Saturday fleet. There should be more boats in this fleet, but I guess that getting crew on Saturdays can be problematic for many. We were lucky today to have Graham, who normally is not available on Saturdays and Mick off Agrovation. The regular Saturday crew all seemed to be off doing something like travelling with family or in the UK preparing to swim the English Channel (Go Chris!).

We had a great start and were able to stay with the faster Etchells on the work to the Goat is.  Buoy. With only 4 on board I decided against using a symmetrical spinnaker and the runs were too square to use a assymetric. Suffice to say were not able to hold our position againt the boats flying their colourful bits. Performance wise that was the story of our race, catch up on the works then lose out on the runs. Our final result was not too bad considereing.

All that aside it was a great day on  the water made even more enjoyable with a convivial ssession on the “Deck of knowledge” with the crews of most of the competing boats.

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Airlie Beach Race Week 2017

Ann and I have been arrived back in Sydney from Airlie Beach last week and we are still trying to re-acclimatise, not that we can whinge too much about the winter weather here, it’s just that the weather in the Whitsundays at this time of the year is so damned good!

The main purpose for the visit up north was to crew on Helen and Jeff Shipsey’s Elan 37 “Sunrise” in the Airlie Beach Race Week regatta. This is somewhat of a tradition for us and

Sunrise Elan 37
Sunrise posing with her new sails, Hanna Point (North Molle Is.) in the background.

is the 12th time in 13 years that we have done so. There was one year that Helen and Jeff had the temerity to travel overseas during the Regatta! It is always a pleasure to visit Airlie Beach, not only to see Helen and Jeff but also to catch up with a number of people we now count as friends in the area.

Helen and Jeff first entered “Sunrise” in this regatta in 2005 only a few months after taking delivery of her, prior to this year their best result was a second in their division, having just written that it is obvious that this year was the most successful yet with a victory in the Cruising Non-Spinnaker division. While we always race to win, both on G-whizz and most other boats that we crew on, we are aware that when racing under the PHS handicap system it can be a bit of a lottery, as your first race handicap can set you up for the series, or put you behind the 8 ball.

Handicappers do the best job they can, especially recognising the difficulties in finding a relative performance base for such mixed fleets, with boats that they have very little knowledge of. I am not about to criticise the handicappers as that would imply that I could do a better job! There a number of theories about winning a PHS regatta, many of which say that you manage your performance as you go through the regatta, we have a simpler theory, sail the boat as well as you can and try to sail it better each day, we can get an idea of this by looking our performances on scratch, and in this regatta we just kept getting better, our scratch results for the 5 races that were started were 8, 7, 4, 3, 3. With finish times that were always getting closer to the top boats. By comparison the handicap results were 6, 1, 1 , 1, 3.

Sunrise Elan 37
The crew and the trophy. Stuart Harris Commodore WSC, Ann, Jeff, Helen, Harry, Graeme, Jill and the Pantaenius rep.

While we are all stoked with our win in the division, it was not until the evening of the presentation that we found out that we were also the best performing local boat, another trophy for Helen and Jeff’s mantle and lots of goodies thanks to Pantaenius insurance, Captain Morgan Rum (yummy) and Great Northern Brewery.

There was also a bit of sadness, Airlie Beach really got hammered by cyclone Debbie back in May (does Debbie really deserve to have a capital?) As a result the local boat entries in this year’s regatta were a little lower than normal, there is still some visible damage to the area, mostly evident in the still recovering vegetation and the number of retail businesses that are yet to re-open pending repairs to their properties (I really feel for these small business people, I cannot imagine what they must be going through), the Marina suffered pretty badly, but is now almost back to full capacity. It is also sad to see all the bruised boats sitting in their pens. All credit to the Town, it is still as welcoming as ever and will very soon be back to full operation, get up there have a great time and drop a few dollars into the local economy. For next year if you own a boat and are considering any of the Whitsunday’s regattas, put Airlie Beach on you list it is a fun and friendly regatta, and you can do it while living on the mainland.