Storms and rescues as sailors get slammed

After an extremely hot day, Lake Jindabyne Sailing Club held race two of the 2014 Foundation Cup series on Wednesday 15th January. Fifteen boats paddled out the start line while avoiding several board-riding Yabbies cooling off in the lake. Nick Kennedy manned the start boat and delayed the start while waiting for the wind to arrive. Arrive it certainly did. The strong north Easterly breeze zoomed the sailors around the course, having a good ride surfing down waves and swimming to catch up with capsized boats following a particularly strong gusts.

Randy Wieman and Errol Hanlon on their Hobie 16 led the other five cats and nine mono-hulls around the first triangle lap while the wind and waves built up across the lake. Ian Foster passed Randy on the square run to the Bay mark and continued to stretch his lead over the rest of the race. Tim Symons and Barry Dennis battled with Randy around the course, changing places several times. Steve Ashe sailed his Hobie 16 on his own and struggled to keep the boat upright. He eventually capsized and broke the mast while righting the craft. He was towed back to the beach by a helpful wakeboard boat and crew. Barney Davis and his son sailed the club's Windrush 14 in the strong breeze and retired to the beach.

Ian led the cats to the finish line just before the "Southerly Buster" hit the fleet. The other three cats struggled with the sudden change in wind direction. Barry tacked first and passed Randy and Tim, but missed the finish line, thinking that he had another leg to complete. This allowed Tim to lead Randy across the line and Barry crossed fourth. Randy and Errol sailed off after finishing the race and capsized the Hobie 16. They were rescued by Nick Kennedy and the club's rescue boat.

Storm clouds were threatening as the fleet headed for the last triangle and the wind increased to an exhilarating strength. The cat fleet was all but finished when the storm front arrived but the monohulls copped the full brunt of the extremely gusty and variable storm. Phil Daly and Nick Kirshner on the Flying 15 were well in front of the monohulls at that time and were amazed to see the number of Lasers turned over. Within 100 metres of the last mark it was their turn to experience the full force of the storm.

The wind picked up, the waves quickly built up and there were whitecaps everywhere. The small yacht heeled over and scooped a huge amount of water into the cockpit and following that the craft was not able to be controlled. After being forced into a head-to-wind situation, the next wave rolled the boat onto its side and then it inverted completely. All the time Phil was assuring Nick that "these boats don't sink it will round up soon". It didn't round up and remained inverted for a considerable time while being washed towards the Curiosity Rocks.

The rocks aren't a curiosity, they are huge and when the boat finally righted itself the crew found themselves trying to keep the boat off the rocks. A couple of small holes appeared in the hull and there was some scraping of the rudder and keel. Nick Kennedy and Jason Abbott on the club's rescue boat did a magnificent job in rescuing and towing the boat to the shore at the clubhouse. Nick also assisted or towed all of the other club members who required assistance while also rescuing several kayakers who also got caught out by the windy conditions.

Jason Abbott's father Lawson joined the fleets and gave the Jindabyne sailors a sailing lesson.

After the cats finished the full five lap course the mono-hull sailors felt the full brunt of the Southerly storm. Several Lasers beached whilst waiting for the conditions to ease and all abandoned the race. This left only four finishers. Ian won from Tim, Randy and Barry.

The sailors enjoyed a well-earned BBQ dinner and chat after the race. The final race of the Foundation Cup series will be held next Wednesday 22nd January and the regular 2013/14 Twilight series will resume on Wednesday 29th January. Hopefully there will be enough breeze and not too much.

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