Lake Albert, Meningie, greeted the Taipan catamaran fleet with a solid 18 to 25-knot invitation race on New Years Day this year to kick off what would be a phenomenal national regatta as part of the SA Summer of Sail Festival.
Many sailors took the conservative option to keep their boats in one piece with only 14 of the 31 boats signing on and one finishing the race.
“We needed the time on the water with a completely new rig and sails after snapping our mast just two weeks prior,” competitor Rohan Gillmore (AUS062) said.
Day one of racing had 15 knots in the morning and kept building through to the afternoon to an average of 20 knots.
Meningie Sailing Club Commodore and Principal Race Officer Jeff Wright assured sailors that this wasn’t Lake Albert “angry” and the racing will go on.
The heavy conditions in flat water were fast and manageable and made for some stellar rides.
Day two and three proved “it is normally like this” with a steady building southeasterly sea breeze, which kept competitors on their toes with plenty of knocks and holes to keep clear of. This was evident by the shuffling leaderboards in all fleets.
Coming into day four, the fleet had eight races under its belt and there were plans for three more back-to-back races in lighter winds, which provided a much more level competition in a wide cross-section of conditions.
A sudden heavy downpour swept across the fleet in the last leg of race two, whipping up a half-metre sea mist.
As race three for the day was getting underway a hair-raising crack of lightening hit the lake out of blue sky, which forced the Race Officer to immediately abandon the racing for everyone’s safety.
Meningie Sailing Club’s hospitality and the strength of the South Australian 5.7 fleet proved SA is well and truly back in the nationals’ rotation and the class is looking forward to returning again.
Fleet Total: 31 boats
- 4.9 Cat: 14 boats
- 4.9 Sloop: 6 boats
- 5.7: 11 boats
- 1st: Anthony Richards
- 2nd: Mick Colecliffe
- 3rd: Paul Flemming
- 1st: Rohan Gillmore, Roellen Gillmore
- 2nd: Evan Steele, Caitlyn McMahon
- 3rd: Steven Floyd, Evelyn Floyd
- 1st: Wayne Hancock, Josh Hancock
- 2nd: Michael Crouch, Brad Spencer
- 3rd: John Newman, Ben Clark