We bring you our second major regional regatta of the season.
Following the success of the ACT Dinghy Championships at the start of November. We now move to the premier event on the South Coast prior to christmas, the 2017 Kembla Klassic hosted by the Port Kembla Sailing Club on the shores of Lake Illawarra.
This has long been a favourite with off-the-beach sailors around NSW and the ACT for well over 30 years, the relaxed vibe of the club and the ‘south coast timezone’ make it one of the best events you will ever attend. The hospitality of the club is second to none and must be experienced by all sailors to get an understanding of how a small volunteer club can thrive and bat way above its average on the Australian sailing scene.
To give a breif run down of how the event works we look at the weekend timeline and how to enjoy this event for all it is worth.
Monday: The club books in the Nor-east seabreeze at 18knots with mother nature (it is amazing how often this happens for this event)
Sailors and boats start arriving about 4pm, set up a tent in the allocated part of the rigging area and tent city begins! Anyone looking for a quick warm up sail does so and everyone is greeted by the friendly volunteers who make the club home for the weekend. The bar opens around 6pm and the club starts to buzz with the annual pilgrimage to the Illawarra. This year the WASZP team will be on hand for anyone who wants to try before they buy this exciting new one-design foiler!
Everyone dusts themselves off with a bacon and egg roll provided by the dedicated brekky team at the canteen and the remainder of the boats begin to arrive. The Saturday morning is usually light and provides a good environment for sailors to get used to the surroundings. The seabreeze normally starts to trickle in for the back half of the morning race and if we get a ‘BLACK NOR-EASTER’ you may get a seabreeze arriving at 10:30, if we get lucky!
The fleet then heads in for lunch and the lunch team at the canteen have been busy making the best burgers on the NSW south coast. With the club being relatively protected from the Nor-east seabreeze, sailors begin to predict how much breeze is actually out on the lake, ranging from ‘its going to settle in at 15-18’ to ‘its going to crank in at 30 and be one of those epic days on the lake’ generally it settles somewhere in the middle.
The sailors come in after a usually epic race with the best rides of the season on offer, the BBQ is then turned on and the DIY BBQ dinner is starting to waft accross the rigging area. Touch footy games are going on, tunes are cranking from the tent city and it resembles a scene from any Aussie surf film, with mates, beers and a ripping sunset on offer.
The festivities go well into the night with with 75% of the fleet making the most of the cheap camping on site and cheap beers at the bar!
A few sore heads but nothing another bacon and egg roll doesnt fix, by this stage the southerly is either in or we are looking at another Nor-east seabreeze with temps in the high 20s. Usually Sunday is slightly lighter than Saturday (don’t ask how that happens but it usually does).
Competitors head out for the racing, 1 morning race and 2 arvo races to complete the regatta. Usually many classes use this event for their state championships or travellers series and the racing is heating up. The cats are roaring around the outer course and the dinghies are on the inside, enjoying some more glamour Lake Illawarra conditions.
Presentations ensue and the tents are pulled down for another year. Boats are packed up and any left over burgers are quickly snapped up as many people know its the last time for 12 months they will taste something that good. Some choose some fish and chips from the local fish shop next door and farewells are said. What an event its all done for another year. Volunteers are smiling, exhausted with a beer or wine in hand and it doesnt get much better than this!
Seriously if you have never been to a Kembla Klassic, this is the year. The forecast is lining up (as it always does) and we are set for a ripper event!
For more info: http://www.pksc.com.au/kembla-klassic1.html