by Paige Haddock
What was predicted to be a light wind sailing weekend, with the forecast averaging between 2 to 3 knots, turned out to be just that. Light winds, but as eventful as only J22 sailors can make it.
Racing started on Friday the 30th – Race Officer Ronnie Gurnell managed to get three races in before calling it a day. This was when the fun began; 3 boats did not make the start of the first race – Commodore of Witbank Yacht and Aquatic Club Dave Martinson, J22 Chairman Brent Haddock for whom the wheels literally fell off (he managed to lose one trailer wheel on the way to Witbank and a second wheel on the slipway) and Rory Hay who had halyard issues. After the racing started Graham Baker, on Red G, lost his spinnaker halyard in his mast… just an average day on a J22!
Day two dawned sunny and breezy. Our J sailors demonstrated some great sailing skills over the five races that were completed. It started with Trevor Donald on G’day J doing four circles in the harbour before exiting. Tina Samways, of Phoenix Rising fame, took a chance on the far corner of the course, which really paid off for her in the second race! Keagan Nel, skippering Shambles, managed to fit a J22 into a dingy sized space on the start line – which resulted in a first place in the third race. Dave Martinson on Laugh a Minute lost a crew member over board while rounding a mark. Spinnakers under boats, doing circles with spinnakers hoisted, shouting and posturing… when you are sailing a J22 the fun never stops!
Easter Sunday turned out to be a rest day – rain and no wind was the order of the day. After sailing was postponed some sailors headed up to Sand Bar – where they were treated to Gordon Hooper’s Teapot Tumble and Ronnie’s almost slide into the dam!
On Monday, the final day of the regatta, Ronnie really tried to get another two races in but the wind did not play ball. Ever so keen to beat the competition, Damian Muller, almost went overboard while skippering Wild Card. This brought the 2018 J22 Mpumalanga Championships to a close.
Congratulations to Graham Baker who finished 1st overall, with Brett Van Rooyen placing 2nd and Paul Thompson 3rd. Many thanks to Witbank Yacht and Aquatic Club for a great regatta (as usual) and to Ronnie Gurnell for running a tight regatta (as usual).