The Rum Bucket Regatta 2011 also known as the Zhik Brass Monkey Regatta, was just as you might imagine winter sailing, cold, wet and windy.
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In spite of the weather conditions, the turnout for the second at Wangi Sailing Club was quite good with twelve OKs making the journey and braving the conditions. The forecast for the weekend was not promising and we all headed to Wangi with some trepidation – there were no surprises by what we saw.
The grounds in front of the club were soggy from the heavy rain, low dark clouds scudded overhead and the boats moored out in the bay were swinging to the strong gusts. Despite this we began rigging up and signing in. Interesting was the number and variety of other classes coming to join us: Tasers, Foiling Moths and a few 29ers. The more the merrier and maybe some of them will see the light and become OK sailors?
After the briefing we headed out for the 1200 start. Tony Outteridge, the race officer for the weekend, had decided to place the course in the bay just out from the club which made the event a good spectacle for those ashore. However it did make for some interesting challenges with the wind coming off the land from the SW – the gusts and wind shifts were not only dramatic but also very difficult to spot. Tony also laid a starboard hand course and that made a few think, especially concerning the rules rounding the windward mark.
Courses were start, triangle, windward return and finish at the end of the run. All races were to be short and fast with a maximum of five for the day, though we only completed four. Mark Skelton showed his dominance in the day’s proceedings with a perfect result of four wins.
There is no doubt his fast off wind speed, in particular running square, helped him to secure the fine four points after four races but this was not from lack of pressure with the fleet hot on his heels and some fine efforts put in by individuals. Positions changed rapidly with no places being certain until the line was crossed making for great racing and the need for considerable focus. With the ensuing discussion of the day’s events the Rum Bucket made its appearance and was well patronised.
A few woolly heads looked out in the morning to the dreary conditions. A lot of rain had fallen during the night and it looked to continue for the rest of the day. Wind was all over the place and none of us envied Tony Outteridge the job of setting up the races. His solution was to take us further out into the lake and with a 1030 start we had to launch and get out there quickly. Sailing out to the start things did not look promising with the wind swinging up to 180 degrees, varying in strength from five to twelve knots and the rain sweeping in from all directions. Oh what fun!
With persistence and earning considerable respect from us all Tony managed to set a course – port this time and we were soon away with the event. Tim Davies came out with a new focus and took the first race but it was close, as with all the day’s racing. The third race in the day made it interesting with a persistent shift to the right which most of the front runners missed and shook the fleet up. The last race of the day was as tight and interesting as them all and capped off a great series of hard close racing.
Once again the event proved very popular and the format was exciting for all who participated. No doubt those competitors that are about to depart for the worlds in Scotland appreciated the opportunity to sharpen their skills. Again the NSW OK Association appreciates the tremendous support that we have received from Zhik in sponsoring the event with prizes totaling close to $2000.00 and hope that we will continue to enjoy their support in the future.
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