Stories from Sail Sydney 2019
Sail Sydney is finally on at Woollahra Sailing Club for a four days of excitement sailing and we are giving the opportunity to our sailors to share their unique emotions with you.
𝐍𝐚𝐜𝐫𝐚 𝟏𝟓 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐦 𝐛𝐚𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐎𝐥𝐲𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐜 𝐚𝐦𝐛𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐇𝐒𝐂
Written by Stephen Brook
Most of the time, Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown are on the same page.
The two 17 years olds, competing in the Sail Sydney Nacra 15 class, have an easy familiarity with each other that comes from crewing together for two seasons and being friends since they were eight.
And sometimes they even finish each other’s sentences.
For both, passionate parents were their entrée into the sport: Rhinnan’s mum first showed her the ropes when she was just five, Brin’s dad campaigned in Tornadoes at the Barcelona Olympics, while his mum crewed on the tall ship Young Endeavour on its world voyage when she was aged 18.
The pair hope to sail all the way to the Youth World Championships in Brazil next December, and the youth spot will be decided early next year.
Brin steers, while Rhiannan crews. Asked how that was determined, Rhiannan replies succinctly, “He was already in it.”
And lest anyone think being ordered around by a bloke is not keeping with the spirit of the times, she explains: “We more work together as a team, both put in input and we work it out together. We never really fight.”
Brin adds: “Mostly we are good. We stay as calm as we can on the water so we don’t have big arguments.”
The pair seem slightly uncomfortable when asked about their ambitions. “This regatta we’d like a podium at least, and to try and get gold,” Brin says, as both give out a small chuckle.
Another chuckle accompanies the explanation of how they fund their sport, which turns out to be thanks to the bank of mum and dad.
Training is mainly on Lake Macquarie, south of Newcastle, in NSW. Brin lives in nearby Belmont, while Rhiannan comes over from Gosford on the Central Coast to train over the weekend.
They love sailing the Nacra 15 catamaran as it “goes fast, it’s an adrenaline rush, especially when it’s windy,” Brin says, while for Rhiannan, “it helps clear your head, you get all your stress out from school, out on the water”.
The ultimate aim is the 2024 Paris Olympics, and the crew are familiar with the Marseilles course, and the adversity that can occur on it, after a mishap at the Nacra 15 Worlds in October, where the pair placed 14th.
The pair were leading a race until a snapped centreboard crippled their boat and they fell back to seventh.
“It made it difficult,” Rhianna started to say, “to come back from those breakages,” Brin concluded.
To compete in the Olympics will require an upgrade to the Nacra 17s, but before 2024 comes another Olympic year, 2020, which is more pointedly the final year of high school for both young athletes.
Sailing in Spain and The Netherlands next year while studying for the Higher School Certificate might be a clash of priorities, but not for Brin. “We have started (the HSC),” he confides, “but sailing comes first.”
Less than a week to go to the event of the year at Woollahra Sailing Club. Do not miss the opportunity to be part of it.
School Holiday Camps – Dec/Jan
Don’t miss another summer of fun at Woollahra Sailing Club, home of the best holiday camps in Sydney.
WSC first camp will start next Tuesday, get ready for fun!!!
On Saturday 7 December 2019, the richest paddling race in the world ’20 Beaches’ was held over 20 kilometres between Palm Beach and Fisherman’s Beach near Narrabeen. It is no idle boast to suggest the largest contingent of paddlers came from WSC and the Shark Island Paddlers. Our crew included seriously experienced and strong, hard paddlers, and some newbies who were taking on 20 Beaches for the very first time. Notwithstanding we all knew the race was going to be challenging particularly with the bush fire smoke giving the race a little bit of a ‘Apocalypse Now’ back drop.
Justine was such a newbie, she wanted a mission and for her sins she chose 20 Beaches, and when it was over she’d never want another. Justine finished the race saying “never again”, but there is a lightness to her paddling now, and a twinkle in her eye when she talks of 20 Beaches that may contradict such a negative imperative. Justine records conditions as “challenging for the novice paddler. Newport reef was a tricky section of the race with waves breaking over the reef and many paddlers having to go further out to sea or risk the dreaded fallout and remount in the choppy conditions. There was consistent cross chop from the ENE wind combined with the southerly swell and rebound from the multiple headlands we paddled past. This race was not for the faint hearted and requires much preparation over winter accruing paddling mileage and expertise in the ocean just to be able to complete the event.” You’ll be back next year Justine.
No such concerns were held by Grish and Mal, whose ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ style epic sea battle was spoken about oft and hard, long after the race has finished. The Economist Newspaper may have approached Grish for comment (sic) and he was recorded saying, “the conditions were tough, technical and uninspiring but once we got going it was action stations. My objective was to go sub 2 hours which I did and to beat Al and Mal … one out of two is ok. Love a big race”. Mal was far more diplomatic thanking Grish for the contest and noting him as a fine ocean paddler. A spectator saw the battle play out and observed the race as “close, real close man”. And so it was.
Tommy and Andy have declined to comment however that may be because they are swigging champagne after beating some the world’s best and earning the first prize novelty cheque in the double. I shan’t say ‘Lucky Buggers’, as their winning race was down to pure grit and determination. It just goes to show what hard work, fitness, technique and style can do for you. Tommy and Andy love the smell of big waves and tricky conditions in the morning, and they are bloody good paddlers.
As a newbie myself I found the race bloody tough, indeed the light and space of 20 Beaches really put the zap on my head. I concentrated on the ‘never get out of the boat’ adage that the upright boat is the fast boat. At times I found it easier to head out to sea rather than go south, and sometimes I enjoyed the 2.5 metre elevator rides, and sometimes I didn’t. It was my first 20 kilometre ocean race and I was sure for most of the race I hadn’t yet reached the halfway point. To my shock a shouted query with a safety boat revealed the finish was only about 5 kilometres away. I was happy with those last 5 kilometres, ‘this is the end’, I thought and managed to catch a few lucky runners. We all love a lucky runner.
A huge thanks to the members who volunteered their time, petrol, driving skills and special talents. Particular I should mention Noodles, Rob and the 24 members of the Coopers Brewing family who cheered every paddler coming in and eased the thirst and assisted the recovery of the entire gang.
Ramp etiquette tips
Be safety conscious. Booms can swing with wind change. Pedestrians and young children are unaware of the dangers be very careful when crossing the footpath.
Please do not queue across the pedestrian footpath outside the Club. Move boats forward when washing.
Use the ramp for launch and retrieval only. Not for parking. Not for rigging.
Please DO NOT LEAVE DOLLIES ON THE RAMP. One person leaves a dolly on the ramp then next person follows that example and the next and pretty quickly the ramp is unusable. Store dollies on the grass or on the brick pavers behind the winch. Stack the dollies to minimise the space they consume. Place them out of the way.
It’s Xmas Time…
Woollahra Sailing Club will be closed from Saturday, Dec 21 to Monday, Jan 6.
We wish all WSC members a wonderful time and Happy New Year =))))