The 2015 Learn to Sail Clarks beach trip was a big success.

Assembling at Wailuku this year we had a fleet of 10 Optimists, 8 Starlings, and a beach Cat, in addition, we had several parents in support craft and two club RIBs.

On Saturday morning we had a light North East breeze to get the fleet on their way, with the plastic optimists just lying through past the needles. The breeze tended slightly North after that making it hard going for the smaller sailors beating into a building chop. As the breeze built to over 10kts and with the fetch along the length of the river combined with the outgoing tide meant a sharp chop built up. After about an hour of solid effort form the LTS sailors, we assisted by towing most of the optimist fleet into Glenbrook beach for a welcome break.

The Starling fleet made it look easy so a few laid marks were added for them to go around before coming in to Glenbrook beach.

Unfortunately only 7 of the 8 starlings made it in, in one piece as Rhys Chaplin’s starling had a side say fail close to Glenbrook beach. He was towed in with no further damage.  To his credit Rhys gave a one of the tired junior’s a hand by sailing a plastic optimist the rest of the way to Clark’s beach and then help with the return trip in a RIB.

Arrival at Clark’s beach was a challenge for some who didn’t manage the fast current and over shot the landing spot. It all just added to the fun, and was largely uneventful.

After setting up tents a nice BBQ meal with lots of extras was enjoyed, with Ice-cream and marsh mellow Easter eggs going down a treat. Soccer, soft ball, a lolly scramble, and spotlight games kept the kids occupied and meant mums and dads could take a break before retiring for the night.

Sunday morning at first light a big breakfast was underway, with tea coffee juice, cereals, fruit, bacon, eggs, toast, and left over sausages hitting the spot.  After decamping and a big clean up in and around the club house we were ready to leave by 9:30.  Due to sporting and other commitments several sailors weren’t able to make the return leg of the trip.

However the remaining fleet had perfect conditions to come back with. 7 Optimists and 5 starlings had an easy reach in light conditions heading up the river. They looked a sight in the mid-morning sun.  The light breeze came and went a bit, so positioning to get the best tide assistance was important. The starling fleet cruised up the river with no problems until several hit the oyster banks out from the needles with their centreboards.  This was unexpected as it was between 10:30 and 11am and mid tide. Luckily no one was hurt and and only one boat saw minor damage.

The first optimist home was Eliot Williams in “Sony” his new to him fiberglass optimist. A close fort battle for the first plastic LTS sailor home saw Bethany Cossey come in ahead of Tom O’Sullivan, only seconds behind, with the rest of the fleet following in soon after.

Many thanks to all the parents and helpers that help make the event happen, and a special thanks to Clarks beach Yacht Club for the use of their club.

See the photos on facebook
Max Cossey