Big Winds on the River Derwent

Today’s Race 5 in the Combined Clubs Winter Series, hosted by the Derwent Sailing Squadron (DSS), looked like starting in idyllic conditions with air temperature around 20 degrees and a moderate NW breeze and brilliant sunshine.

The DSS Race Committee set conservative courses for all Divisions with a forecast of stronger winds for later in the morning and into the afternoon.

The predicted stronger breezes arrived earlier than anticipated and were reflected in revised forecasts issued by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) once the breezes had already arrived.

With winds gusting over 40knots racing was abandoned and the fleets made their way back to their respective yacht club marinas.

The crew on board the DSS rescue boat Neville Smith were kept busy assisting boats and their crews with the timely recovery of man overboard Dave Willans, skipper of Trouble and RAD which had been assisting the J24 Another Toy off Maning Reef.

RAD was flattened by a large gust and suffered engine failure. She was successfully towed back to the marina by the Neville Smith.

Another gust flattened War Games and Quest suffered catastrophic damage to her mainsail creating work not only for the sailmakers but also for her hard-working crew to get the sail down and tucked away.

DSS Commodore Scott Brain praised the competitors and volunteers for their efforts to return safely and to provide assistance to other boats. This highlights the seamanship and boat handling skills of our sailors and our rescue volunteers and these skills are reflected in the safe arrival home of all who left their clubs this morning on a beautiful winter’s day.

Words: Nick Hutton and Colleen Darcey

Photographs: Colleen Darcey

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