Da Lukje leads Rag Top around the mark.
Da Lukje leads Rag Top around the mark. Contributed

Sailors enjoy testing their skills

The warm summer evenings are ideal for twilight sailing on Gladstone Harbour, with last Saturday no exception.

A moderate 12 knot east, south-easterly breeze filled the sails of five yachts from the Port Curtis Sailing Club (PCSC) as they motored out of Auckland Creek into an incoming tide and a cooling breeze.

Roger Fawcett and Tony Constance on Intrigue took an early lead and were soon a distant speck on the water as the mono hulls took a more leisurely pace.

Tuan, with Brad and Maryke Barker sharing the helm, enjoyed their first sail after a Christmas break, while crews on Da Lukje, Rag Top and No Problem took a relaxed approach and enjoyed the busy scene of boats on the harbour.

Elsewhere club members have been representing PCSC at a national level at regattas and taking advantage of training opportunities while the racing calendar is less demanding.

Hannah O'Brien undertook an intensive two weeks of sailing in Brisbane sharpening her skills during youth training week , then competing in the Laser

National Championships amongst the 50 best laser sailors in the country.

O'Brien tackled strong winds and high seas during an exhausting week of racing to finish 16th.

Meanwhile back in Gladstone, Jon Drummond and his crew on Loco, Ben Miers, Ben Hobbs, Brad Stewart, Jordi Oakley, Trevor Herbert, Dave Mann, Danon Ware and Dave Taylor, took advantage of a prize won during the 2012 Farr 30' National Championships.

After a punishing weekend on the harbour practising "round the cans" and short sprint techniques, Drummond was happy to talk about the prize.

As part of the 2011 National Championships one of Australia's best known professional sailors, Darren Jones, offered training to the first amateur crew (i.e. no paid professionals or people in the sailing industry on the boat).

Drummond was lucky enough to secure that prize, so Jones travelled up from Sydney to spend a couple of days going over Drummond's boat, making suggestions on rigging tensions and small details which could improve boat performance before turning his attention to the crew.

In one design racing the yachts are technically identical and winning or losing can be the difference in crew skills.

On the water Jones' focus was on tightening team performance, working on communication, techniques and speed as he emphasised the constant kinematics (body movement) that are essential to achieve optimum performance.

Jones spends most of his time overseas sailing on professional teams.

In the Farr 30 he has been the mainsheet trimmer on the World Champion winner four times including the last worlds. It is a hoped that the club may be able to access professional sailors of this calibre more frequently in the future.

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