March 2018

Racing into the 2018 – Last Month

The first race of the season was a Bay Race, the first in the Lindsay Joice series. Five boats entered and sailed bravely out into some pretty variable conditions, gusts of 30+ knots were reported, and several mayday calls were heard, fortunately not from our boats. First back over the line was Volare in 4hrs 20 minutes but were beaten by Centinela on handicap. Third went to Wee Welsh Dragon with Vanguard 4th. Anastasia retired.

Not much wind for the start of the Fitzroy race, even less later on.

Our second race was the first of the Fitzroy Island races. A light S-E breeze and an outgoing tide determined a downwind start past the Coffee Shop. Centinela got their spinnaker up early and romped away to C10, the first & only mark, before heading for Cape Grafton & Fitzroy. The light and variable wind favoured the lighter small boats and swung to the sou-west as the leader of the fleet rounded the mark allowing them to keep their spinnakers flying. Approaching Cape Grafton Centinela becalmed with their spinnaker hanging limp like a used handkerchief & about as useful. Soon after G&T sailed into the same hole and, looking back, the rest of the fleet were finding their own patches of no wind. Eventually, the forecast easterly crept towards the leaders prompting tack & cover tactics until G&T headed out to sea as the wind slowly shifted to the south-east. Now six hours into the race the wind decided to abandon the fleet altogether. It became clear that even the leaders would not make Fitzroy by the time limit of 5pm. So after nearly seven hours on the water, one by one, sails were dropped, and engines started, the race was abandoned. At this stage, it appeared G&T was in the lead, Centinela second, Volare third and Anastasia bringing up the rear. So that was it, no points could be awarded and of course, it seemed no prizes could be awarded. There was no chance to re-run this race. The major prize, generously donated by Fitzroy Island Resort, had to be raffled. There is a God in sailing. G&T won the raffle!!!

I didn’t say it was pretty, plenty of pink for a good cause.

In between these two races we supported the Lil Cortis Memorial Race, a charity fundraiser for breast cancer hosted by the Yorkey’s Knob Boating Club. Pink was the dress code with female skippers at the helm. Most boats had all female (looking) crews with some scary disguises filling the decks. All in all  25 boats headed out from Yorkey’s into a light northerly for Double Island. Once around some beautiful spinnakers blossomed for the run home. All were winners, prizes were handed out to all boats that participated from some very generous local business sponsors. $8600 was raised toward this worthy cause.

Cairns Vessel Traffic Service – This visit was an eye opener for a good turnout of skippers and crew from our Club. Firstly, the people behind the voices, are friendly and helpful. Cameras mounted in strategic locations allow them to see movements in the whole of the inlet and out into the channel. They appreciate the effort the Club makes to remain clear of commercial vessels reserving their vitriolic for fishermen in tinnies with no radio trying to catch dinner in the path of a large vessel. The importance of staying clear of ships in the channel was clearly illustrated. To ships, the channel is narrow and shallow. To navigate this, they have to maintain a good speed, usually 8 to 10 knots. This gives them steerage and allows the pressure beneath the hull to lift the ship through the shallow spots. It must be remembered that the channel is not as wide as the markers. For all intents and purposes, ships have NO room to manoeuvre whereas a yacht, even under sail, does. I was surprised that they can’t track vessels in real time on a map in a similar way to air traffic control, but I think that’s coming.  All large vessels now have AIS (Automatic Identification System). This uses VHF or satellites to relay the ship’s position to ground stations. These can be seen on a map but, the report giving vessel name, speed and direction, can be several hours old. You can see a list of major vessels coming and going on the MSQ web site. Click on ‘Ship Movements’, top left of your screen.

VTS control centre – they’re watching you

Big Sign-on Day / Discover Sailing day. – Once again our tireless volunteers in the Club turned out to both these events to help raise the awareness of sailing as a sport and the Club. What surprised many was there is more to a sport than chasing balls, cricket, footy & thugby. Dinghies, Sailability and keelboats were kept busy ferrying enthusiastic potential sailors around the inlet for a unique experience. Yes, we even had a jet ski couple wanting to slow down! (Their backs were killing them).

Signing on for the Discover Sailing day

Discovering sailing. It’s not so hard?


Crew for You or You for Crew  (download the app, click here)

Crew for You – We now have ten boats on SailConnect, a great start. However, boat owners. You have to tell SailConnect which events you are interested in sailing. It’s important to show intent even if you are not sure if you can make it on the day. It’s easy to cancel later and doesn’t cost you anything until you actually sign up for the Club nomination form. Go to ‘Events’ and ‘tap’ on a race you might like to enter in then, ‘tap’ on “ATTEND ON YOUR BOAT”. Then you can invite or find crew to sail with you. You are also visible to the interested crew, and they can indicate their availability.

You for Crew – Once you have registered (there is no cost), use the filter so you only see Cairns Yacht Club then go to “Events” and ‘tap’ on and event you would be interested in sailing in. ‘Tap’ “REGISTER INTEREST” and all boats sailing in this event will get a notice that you are interested. If they have space for you, an invite from boat(s) should be forthcoming, and you are on your way. It’s helpful if you can be realistic in describing your abilities so boat skippers can better assign a role for you on their boat.

Dinghy Learn to Sail  (Register here)

It has been a big month for dinghy sailing and the club more generally
Our Learn To Sail program had 16 participants most of whom were adults who have developed their skills and have indicated interest in both dinghy and yacht sailing.
The discover sailing day attracted over 100 people ( a little down on numbers from last year ), but already we have seen an increase in participation numbers across the fleets a big thanks to everyone who made the day such a fun event.
Last week we welcomed over 50 kids from across the region for the annual school team sailing regatta. This year the wind was favourable, so we managed to do a full round of races, but unfortunately, the storm came in, so we had to finish early – great racing great fun and a big thanks to our volunteers.

With the popularity of the CYC Dinghy Learn to sail course on the increase we have decided to open registration for the course early.The course will be held on Saturdays from 8.30am on 2pm,

7th April 08:30 AM 2:00 PM
14th April 08:30 AM 2:00 PM
21st April 08:30 AM 2:00 PM
28th April 08:30 AM 2:00 PM

The trusty Pacer’s with new sails from Ports North – THANK YOU

The program which will go for 4 weeks and is designed to teach all the key skills required to sail a small sailing vessel safely.Next Learn To Sail program kicks off on the 7th of April. You can register here (click).
See you on the water.  Call Scott on 0410 477 166

Ellis Beach

Opening Regatta on the 17th & 18th March. Here are the boat hire and event entry fees. Get in early as boats will soon be snapped up.

Food / meals / BBQ will be available, lunch dinner and breakfast. Bring some cash.

If you are hiring a boat please help keep equipment together so the next person hiring the boat doesnt have to hunt through the Clubhouse to find missing parts. Each boat has a number to help with this. If something is missing or broken please let Scott or Barry know. These dinghies only stay serviceable with your help.



Evry one helps at Ellis Beach – it’s gonna be a great weekend

Coming UP – This Month – download nomination form here

Sunday 11th March – Lindsay Joice race three, the first Double Island race. Out to C9, down to double Island to starboard and back via C9, around 30nm, the longest race in our series.

Saturday & Sunday 17th/18th March – Ellis Beach opening regatta. Take a tent and camp the night. Bring a boat or borrow one of the Club’s fleet from two-man Pacers to one man Lasers. Great fun. There is also the sporty little Nacra cats. Have a go on these, they need to be used.

Saturday 24th March – First Lady Skippers race and continuing the Lindsay Joice series.

Friday 30th March – EASTER RALLY to Fitzroy Island. This is a casual fun sail over to the Island to see if you can spot the Easter bunny.

WAGS – Every Wednesday. A fun sailing day with others, stress-free and a chance for non-members to sail for the day, just $20 gets you on a boat. Be at the Boat Shed at 12. No need to call anyone, just turn up. Backpackers welcome, the best value day out on the water you can have in Cairns.

Connect to the calendar HERE, you can download a .pdf copy to your phone or synch the calendar.

Commodore’s Commands

Want to thank you all for generously offering your time and boat to give the sailing experience to those that otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity otherwise.
From what I saw a lot of visitors did the trifecta, dinghies, SWD, keelboats, so some thought had gone into their visit as a good half day was spent at the club.

I would like to thank those CYC members that made an effort to visit the VTS office at MSQ yesterday, Cairns .I’m hoping you are more informed on what they have to do to control shipping in a busy commercial port like Cairns. VTS and the harbourmaster have indicated their appreciation of the CYC showing interest in what happens on their watch


Feature Story

Wazza is found. Romping back into Cairns after his jolly jaunt to Sydney, here’s his final instalment.

20 knots is a fun speed on a Sailing boat but if you hit something at 20 youre gonna do some Damage!
Barefoot was sailing past Seal Rocks with all the laundry out, Masthead screetcher, Full Main and Jib, Heading North in a Southeast wind and the boatspeed was between 17 and 22 knots …. lots of fun! Then BANG! The starboard rudder hit something and broke clean off!
The port rudder was still working fine so we sailed all the way to Yamba with one rudder and didnt even reduce sail.. Luckily it was Starboard tack all the way . When we crossed the rough bar at Yamba the steering was a worry as the only rudder was often in the air when a wave came under the stern! Barefoot made it in safely for a well earned rest.
Stuck in Yamba with only one rudder wasnt a great position to be in .
I read on a facebook post that the famous race cat XL2 had recently updated his rudders so i rang the owner Mike Pebbardy who said i could have one of his old rudders for a bottle of rum!
It was almost a perfect fit with little modification and this will get us back to Cairns! Cant thank you enough Mike!
When the green boat arrived in Brisbane we decided to do the twilight races at Royal Qld yacht club, They gave the Green Boat the last off handicap time for the course but we ended up coming in second behind Cut Snake who started before us. It was a fun race. Thanks to Peter Hacket for crewing and also introducing me to Shaun who invited me to crew on MCJACK , A Diam 24 trimaran in the Surf to City yacht race which we won the big three…. Line honors,
O M R,
Perfomance Handicap !
Thanks shaun!
I was totaly exhausted after finishing the race but was smiling for days!
Being the crew and not the Skipper means ya gotta work hard and i will now show more respect for crew on Barefoot.
BAREFOOT is on her way home to Cairns and is riding on a big high pressure system with strong southeasterlies, a sled ride… Yeehah

What a bottle of rum can buy you

Kerry D has done Adelaide and the Adelaide to Port Lincoln Race plus a few other jaunts around. Click here to see some spinnakers behaving badly. I hope you had nothing to do with this Kerry. Kerry uses the SailConnect app to find fun places to sail. You can too, download the app (click). Good to see you weren’t alone down there, especially when it came to inspecting the vineyards.

Hmmm…. Beanie, scarf, coat + 6 layers under. I’m convinced, sailing below the Tropic of Capricorn is not a good idea…

… but drinking wine is. The CYC cheer squad in SA

ED: We’d love to have your stories too. Please call the editor, Hew on 0409976888. Perhaps you can tell me your story over a drink or two? Email at (We can fix spelling and grammar slip-ups)


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