What does Fannie Bay and Port Phillip Bay have in common? They are very different places at this time of year. Luke warm water, six meter tidal range, four legged reptiles, other dangerous marine creatures and light winds. – what could go wrong! You reckon there are no crocs in Fannie Bay – well one was sighted on the Monday before the event and managed to make good its escape.
TAV unleashed a small but quality field of Tasar sailors for the Darwin Nationals run out of Darwin Sailing Club on Fannie Bay. Packing the container in early July for acclimatisation and regatta start on 18 July. Many from other States made the drive three to a week drive depending on your appetite for road trip to the Northern Territory.
There were 52 boats on the start line after the Creakies from Geelong unfortunately withdrew as a result of an injury which significantly depleted the Super Super Grand Master Class (combined age of over 130 years).
The sailing was challenging – sandbars, tidal currents, winds that only once got over 10kts and mostly around 4-6kt, a seabreeze that sometimes didn’t appear where it should and a 70 degree wind shift in one race all required very deft handling skills and race tactics.
The Territorians made all most welcome, terrific hosts and the organisation and race management were excellent. They had to be in those constantly changing conditions and the full ten races were run. The Territory also did very well to stitch together a range of sponsorships (see here) to support the event including Al and Tracey Murray of RONSTAN’s ongoing support. The benefits of which were offered as raffle prizes or effortlessly consumed beer and snacks.
The Championship was taken out by Rob and Nicole Douglas. Runners up Rick Longbottom and Daryl Bentley and third by a whisker Craig and Jill McPhee.
The best placing of a Victorian was Mark Bulka and son Oliver who finished a very creditable seventh. Mark and Oliver who is eight years old won a heat which had Alistair Murray and Chris Parkinson searching the record book for a younger person to win a heat at a Tasar Nationals.
Its worth mentioning our honorary Tasmanians Peter and Robyn Davies who finished 19th in SMAC – Chris and Heather’s boat. Peter is wondering if the boats up for sale.
Jason and Jack Wilson from Listerfield who drove to Darwin as part of a family holiday finished 43 in their first Nationals. Well done.
Blaise and Kate Vinot finished very comfortably in 38th. A big thank you to Blaise for managing the shipping container – no mean feat given the low numbers attending.
Al Murray reckons he has lost his mojo and doesn’t want his position in the mid field recorded.
All the troubles of the days racing seemed to disappear relaxing at the Club afterwards. The sailing club setting on Fannie Bay was magical in the warm evenings spinning stories about those opportunities that got away or went your way. Listening to Al Murray during the RONSTAN hour or Conor Byrne (4th place) waxing lyrical about the highlights of the day. Watching the sun set in a red and orange haze of bushfire smoke through the masts and palm trees above the far shoreline and across the broad calm waters of Darwin harbour was something else.
Fannie Bay would easily qualify as a tropical dry season holiday destination and being based in Melbourne to be able to sail there at this time of year – unbelievable.
SYC’s Al and Tracey Murray!
SYC’s Al and Tracey Murray!
SYC’s David Taylor (bow number 44!)