Sailing in windy weather

posted May 14, 2019, 4:10 PM by Posts Editor   [ updated May 15, 2019, 5:01 PM ]
Pip Stevenson sent in the following report.

Sailing Monday Recap; Gusty Monday 13th May. 


It was definitely a full on forecast for last Mondays sailing afternoon; 25 kts and more from the NW. 

A firm believer in suck it and see, I proposed we check it out rather than cancel. Richard F, Henk Brolsma and Rotem, all regulars, and Sarah who is our current dinghy builder at the WBC were keen to try it on so we had a briefing to discuss the conditions, safety tactics and likely experiences, tucked in two reefs, hoisted the staysail and headed out. 

It was exciting challenging sailing to say the least. With the main reefed we sometimes had barely steerage in the lulls and the gusts at 25-30 knots sent the valiant Capricornia scudding along at over 6 knots while we scrambled our body weight up to windward and spilled the wind from the main. 

Wind direction was baffling with frequent shifts of up to 180°!, usually as we attempted to tack. Several times Henk (our bow thruster) paddled furiously to get us around when the riverbank loomed too close. A massive gust at just the crucial moment made our docking at the end pretty spectacular but quick action by the crew saw us safely alongside. 

It was a hell of a lot of fun and we all learnt to move weight and trim sails very quickly indeed! As they say, if you can sail on the river you can handle a boat anywhere and sailing in confined water and strong conditions helps to build everyone’s confidence. All participants are showing rapid improvement in their skills and I thank Richard Forster especially for his enthusiasm and ongoing commitment to the program. 

Come and sail with us every Monday arvo through winter (weather permitting). It’s great fun and a brilliant boat to sail and learn on. All members from raw beginners are welcome. 

See you aboard soon! 


 Pic from Endra O'May