Thursday, September 24, 2020
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Open Water Sailing Trial a Success

WMBoats1Saturday 25th January the Wynnum Manly club ran a trial open water session of the end of the Wynnum Pier.  Seven skippers ventured out for the day, keen to see what Moreton Bay was like in a 15 to 20 knot north-easter.  The pier itself is more of a breakwater with sloping sides and a 'T' section on the end with permanent seating and shelter.  Stairs on all sides provide easy launching and a guarenteed lee-side in any weather.  This also means that a fair course can be set in any wind direction.WMStart

The moderate to fresh breeze sent a small swell that had sailors opting for new unused settings to get the boats driving up the swells and accelarating off the top.  More than a few small tweaks were made as we learned the new world of sailing in waves that size in Queensland.  Added to the novelty was the occassional brief disappearance of the boat hull as it sailed behind a set. 

Downwind, there was frequent surfing to add yet more novelty to the experience for most of us anyway.  The northerly had been blowing for several days and this did collect some weed around what was the bottom gate, so it was shifted to windard to reduce that.  Russell Gray generously supplied and manned the rescue boat and said that the conditions had him having flashbacks of the worlds in Brazil!



From discussions with the rest of the fleet, the experience was unanimously positive.  Local knowledge indicated that weed was absent in South Easters and reduced anyway in the winter.  The venue is tide dependant but can be used in anything but the very bottom of the tide so events would need to be scheduled to suit but that's not a problem.  Club Secretary Andrew Wilson said that they have identified weekends in the first half of this year to run an Open Water Series.  The Wynnum Manly Club only sails on alternate weekends so this new series will be scheduled to not clash with the established calendar.  The Club will welcome affiliated visitors.

The pier is 200m long so visitors need to factor that in.  A couple of different solutions appeared on the pier from 4-wheel trolleys to a fridge trolley with the sail box and boat on cradle strapped to it, worked well for me.  Spares in a backpack sat on the trolley too.  Anyway it was the only thing I could find in the shed the night before!  If there is a breeze on, then best not to take your camp chair, there is seating in the shade.

Probably the most exciting aspect of this trial is the opportunity for the Wynnum Manly Club to host events on the Queensland calendar.  Anyway the trial was very successful and the club management should be commended by the entire radio sailing community for going outside the box to develop another venue.   I look forward to the club scheduling events there this year, I know I will be there with bells on!

Ron Fawcett.

Photos and video: Ian Lobley

 Video here 


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