And then the Seabreeze came in – Day 1.

A typical lazy early spring day with a cold morning and little chance of a decent breeze on offer until after lunch. However, the PRO (Les Swinton) had other ideas and had the troops out on the water with the first smell of a southerly. Around 1130hrs, both fleets were out on the water with the mark layers scurrying up and down, laying out marks for the dominant breeze out of the Canning and so it was to be.

The first two races were held in the available pressure and then gradually the sou’wester kicked in, a few fluctuations to begin, but “wait a while” was the call and sure enough, up the river came the sou’wester sweeping the sou’easterly away and the courses were realigned for the racing. By the end of the day the boats on Melville Water were racing in 14 to 19 knots of pure pleasure and even the Pelicans and Optimists were honking along in the mouth of the Canning with enough pressure to satisfy the purists.

As to the results, well it’s early days so let’s say that the good guys (and gals) were doing well. But they had the required five races in and the fleets off the water by 1630 hrs. A fine day for all.

Day 2 of Finals.

The day began with the promise (slightly belated) of a nor easter that was enough to encourage PRO Les Swinton to take the start boat out, sample the proffered breeze and invite the senior fleets onto the waters of Melville Waters East. RO John Rooke did similarly with his start boat onto the mouth of the Canning and a flock of Pelicans and Optimists came out to join him.

The day started for both fleets around 1100hrs and RO John had the fleets away in good time. Then the nor easter began to die and with very few options the thought on the Canning River race track was to abandon the race. A timely call from the top mark of fresh pressure was enough to resuscitate the race and the young sailors scooted around the course with enough to declare a result. Over on the senior course, pretty much the same was happening with pressure bands out of the north rescuing the fleet.  Lunch was called and the flags were hung out.

When all were ready to go home and the faint chance of anything was exhausted, the flags began to flicker and within minutes a Westerly had swept in. Unexpected? Possibly, but Hughie is a capricious god and will give you something for no reason other than it suits him. By 1345hrs we had a race track and the Race officers were marshalling their mark layers and safety boats. Four races ensued and although the breeze never reached the heights of Saturday it was enough to get the races done and dusted.

The results were read out on a packed quarterdeck at 1745hrs with the young and old trooping up to accept the generous offerings from Schweppes and our other sponsor, Boating Hardware of O’Connor who very kindly provided extra dividends for the myriad of sailors.

Many thanks to the race teams lead by Les Swinton RO and John Rooke RO and the ever-present volunteers who looked after the marks, safety boats and galley kitchen and of course to Sailing Administrator Scott Nunn, who managed everything else. The canteen was headed up by Karen Lingard and well done to her helpers who came along to feed the mob.  But the main thanks are to the sailors who have sailed over the winter months and turned up on the day. Great to see them.

Click on any photo below for a gallery of the event.

Photos and reports by Rick Steuart.