The Met Service Forecast threatened a wash out with high winds, lightning, thunder and rain – BUT instead the sun came out; the sea sparkled and the nimble catamarans roared around the course sometimes barely in control, or totally out of control, but recovering – and all relishing in the challenge that Mercury Bay presented. A total of eight races were sailed over the two days, five on Saturday and three on Sunday. By the end of the eighth race, “shattered” and “knackered” were often muttered but quickly followed by “spectacular conditions” and “awesome race track.” Mercury Bay Boating Club’s Double Trouble now in its fourth year, exceeded expectations.
The volunteer, race management team, led by Philip Hart, set perfect courses, that challenged the fleets but also kept the boats in the safest patch of water available in a very windy bay. Vice Commodore Simon Rawlinson skippered the photo boat and once ashore took on the painstaking task of entering all of the results. Safety boat drivers had their hands full, not so much with setting the marks but with the many capsizes and even man overboard incidents that occurred.
A wild few minutes
In one notable moment, both the skipper and crew were ejected from their Tornado which incredibly, did not capsize but instead, raced off without them. Safety boat driver, Andy Hopping with his crew member, MBBC junior sailor, Euan Stewart, chased the tornado down and in a bold decision, Andy slammed the patrol boat against the side of the crew-less boat and told Euan to jump on to the Tornado. Now Euan has never been on a Tornado before, but he has been crewing with our Hobie skippers and is an excellent Spectra sailor. Wide-eyed and with what would have been a white knuckle grip, he luffed the boat up to de-power it. Andy then left Euan alone while he raced back to the sailors in the water, collected them and brought them back to their boat, where Euan was safely in command. There were other dramas that played out on all parts of the course, but that is what high wind sailing is all about, “HiHo” is what catamaran sailors say, which means, hook in and hang on. (See Sports for more)
The Saturday night BBQ was well attended with a delicious buffet and BBQ prepared by Chef Kelvin from Espy Café’. A running slide show with pictures from Helen Hart and Jackie Dagger entertained the diners. After racing on Sunday, the prize-giving was held at the Boating Club. A room full of tired, but invigorated sailors applauded those that ended up on the podium and revelled in the general camaraderie of the sailing fraternity. The representatives of each of the fleets made a point to publicly thank the Mercury Bay Boating Club for running such a smooth regatta with a professional air. They went on to say that even though they came for the racing, it was the friendships made, the beauty of the bay and the hospitality of the club and town that made the regatta a special, and a not to be missed event.
Commodore Kline heaped praise on those club members and community supporters who gave up much of their weekend to support the event. “We are so fortunate to have the support crew, not only on the water, but on shore - safety and first aid, clubhouse hospitality, communications tower.
Mercury Bay Boating Club and the supporters brought acclaim and big doses of goodwill to Mercury Bay this past weekend. (See Sports for the results of 2022 Double Trouble)