The Canberra Optimist Regatta is one of the most popular regatta’s of the year for both the sailors and the parents. Racing is held from the Canberra Yacht Club in the Nation’s Capital on the waters of Lake Burley Griffin. Team RPAYC had 9 Open
Optis and 9 Intermediate Optis attend the regatta, which again made RPAYC the most attended club. The majority of the RPA families all stayed together in Kingston at some serviced apartments and enjoyed plenty of social activity after racing on the Saturday evening.
Saturday was clear and sunny and the afternoon had a NNW wind forecast of 10 – 12 knots predicted. The forecast proved to be correct and racing got underway on time and 4 races were run in the afternoon. The top mark proved very tricky for some with the mark being laid close to an island and very large wind shifts occurring near the mark. In the first Intermediate race of the day, Markus Sampson from RPA had a huge lead at the first bottom mark and rounded the bottom mark to starboard instead of port. Just about every Intermediate boat followed the same way until the first Open boat had started lapping and went the right way. To avoid the confusion and congestion at the bottom mark, the next day the race committee added a gate as the bottom rounding marks.
Whilst the racing is on, this regatta does not require ribs to be taken to the event as racing is held right in front of the club. Parents are able to enjoy the afternoon sitting in a camping chair, watching the racing through binoculars, eating fresh fish and chips, and sipping on the odd beer or wine.
Sunday the forecast was for stronger winds and the wind had shifted more to the west and was much stronger with gusts to 20 knots and the lulls well under 10 knots. Again racing got underway on time and another 4 races were held in gusty conditions, however this was the most consistent any of us had seen the wind in Canberra for the last 3 -4 years we have all been attending this regatta. Racing was completed around 3:30pm allowing time to pack up, attend the presentation and leave Canberra around 4:30pm for the easy drive home.
For any new Green Fleet sailors looking to take on their first regatta, the Canberra regatta is definitely one to consider, easy going and the racing very close to shore. It is also a very social regatta with other team members from RPAYC and always great fun. The regatta is held late October each year.