Australia Day on Jervis Bay set a very high bar in the weather and sailing conditions. Boat ramps and beaches were overflowing and I dare say a cup or two were also!

This was to be out first day of activities with yachts, skippers and crew, and the general public being welcomed to the clubhouse with the able assistance of Jervis Bay Brewing Co and their pop-up bar. Scott with his fantastic organisation ‘Saltwater Veterans’ was also doing a roaring trade and making this great initiative better known to all. A few boats made the trip down to our fair bay from Sydney including a crew from the Navy aboard their steed recently home from the Sydney to Hobart race. What a start to this inaugural regatta!!

Friday 27th saw a dulling in the picture postcard stakes and very light winds had been predicted for the ‘sprint race’ to be held within eyesight of the clubhouse and bar. A little drizzle during proceedings didn’t even touch the competitors’ enthusiasm as the wind hadn’t got the memo and was blowing a steady nor’easter at 15knots heading towards 22 according to some on board wind instruments!

This made for a cracker of a broad reach race enabling boats to go as fast as they could in what ended up as a race only lasting a bit over an hour. The course set was largely around 2 marks so competitors were crossing paths regularly which made for both a great spectacle from the shore and an exhilarating experience on board, boats passing close enough to exchange some ‘helpful’ suggestions and encouragement to each other.

A dozen boats completed this short course, 9 larger yachts in Division 1 and 3 (all trailerable) in Division 2. Congratulations go to Roger Uebe on ‘Free Spirit’, Nathan Lochart on ‘Scarborough’ (our visiting Navy friends) and Keith Lawrence on Déjà vu (visiting from Sydney) for their first, second and third across the line in Div 1 respectively. Div 2 saw Pat Grogan on Sirrocco, Steve Sargent on ‘Shifts Happen’ and Frank Killick on Farrago finishing 1,2,3.

Handicapping is a cruel animal and so the adjusted results looked like this: Div 1, Brett Ralston on ‘Catapult’, Nathan aboard ‘Scarborough’ and Keith Lawrence on ‘Déjà vu’ filling the podium. For Div 2 it went ‘Farrago’, ‘Sirrocco’ and ‘Shifts Happen’.

Whatever the results, Sailing and Saltwater Veterans were the winners on the day. Jervis Bay Brewing provided both the prizes and the refreshments and tunes for what ended up being an all-round fantastic day of activity.

Saturday 28th. A new day, a return to the magnificent sunshine and a strong wind warning to boot! Briefing on the lawn outside the clubhouse ran through the usual info for skippers and crew with on water hazards and the proposed course being revealed. We’re heading anti clockwise ‘around the bay’; taking heed of the wind warning and on consultation and consideration all attendees chose to take on the challenge. 12 boats again jostled for position at the start line and again with a nor’easter spinnakers were set for the trip towards Huskisson. What a spectacle it is to see all the colours and activity of these big and notoriously fickle sails on the bay, I imagine the tourists enjoying their last little bit of summer holidays thought the same. Rounding the mark off Huskisson most of the fleet were able to hold their spinnakers most of the way to Plantation Point, things were building by this time and starting to get interesting, some boats chose to shorten sail in readiness for the punch across the mouth of the bay to Longnose Point east of Honeymoon Bay … good idea! From Longnose back towards Callala saw gusts getting to a whisker above the 30-knot mark making for very challenging conditions with boats heeling over very much and getting hit by gusts coming off the land knocking the smaller boats around … again, quite a sight from both on board and the beach!

All made it home safely, if not a little weary from the heavy conditions but thoroughly satisfied with their efforts.

So in the Saltwater Veterans Cup, line honours and placings looked like almost a copy of the previous day, Roger Uebe – ‘Free Spirit’, Nathan Lockhart – ‘Scarborough’ and Trevor Kanaar – ‘Invincible’ for Div 1. In Div 2, Scott Bickerstaff – ‘Hijack’, Pat Grogan – ‘Sirrocco’ and Steve Sargent – ‘Shifts Happen’ made the top three.

Again, handicapping is a cruel beast and the final results required a few countbacks but ultimately congratulations go to Div 1; David Braidwood on ‘Zoom’ in 1st, Brett Ralston on ‘Catapult’ 2nd and Keith Lawrence on ‘Déjà vu’ 3rd. for Div 2 we saw Pat Grogan – ‘Sirrocco’ in 1st, Frank Killick – ‘Farrago’ 2nd and Scott Bickerstaff – ‘Hijack’ in 3rd.

The JBCYC Round the Bay series race was also calculated and results were:

  • Div 1: David aboard ‘Zoom’, Brett on ‘Catapult’ followed by Keith on ‘Déjà vu’.
  • Div 2: the results were the same as the Saltwater Veterans Cup race.

Sunday 29th tidy up and head home, exhausted but happily fulfilled.

I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel for absolutely everyone who made this event the success it was.

The organising committee, in particular Carmel, Judy and Mikki for the countless hours liaising with council, stakeholders, printers and such.

Steve, our commodore, who’s crazy idea this was and his getting Jervis Bay Brewing and Saltwater Veterans on board as well as his help in setting the courses we all enjoyed sailing so much.

Indeed to Jervis Bay Brewing Co for providing tunes, fabulous beer and so much support for the JBCYC as a whole.

To Mama Kim’s Food truck for keeping us all fed.

To Scott from Saltwater Veterans who works tirelessly towards their mission “To support the health & wellness of current and former service military personnel and their families. To reduce social isolation commonly associated from being Wounded, Injured or Sick.” THANKYOU.

To the club committee and membership for getting behind and supporting this event, no boats, no club, no event.

To Shoalhaven City Council for their support and last but a long way from least to the public who came and watched, ate and drank and gave us all a very good reason to have another go at this next year.

All proceeds collected by the club and a percentage of bar takings from Jervis Bay Brewing will go straight to Saltwater Veterans to continue their great work.

Frank Killick
Vice Commodore, JBCYC.

Photo Credit