Royal Brighton YC have relaunched the historic George Mac Regatta this year as the Club’s premier off-the-beach event. Initially the event was founded as an annual regatta to honour the late George “Nugget” McCallum.
The aim is to bring together sailors of all ages from around the bay. Invited classes include all the junior and youth classes, along with selected open classes including RS100s, RS200s, RS Aeros, Tasars and Vipers.
Matthew and Ron report;
Matthew Geake: "Two Aero sailors competed in the George Mac regatta at Royal Brighton Yacht Club last weekend, including Ron Fergusson visiting from Geelong. Saturday’s windy conditions were even more than promised, gusting to over 20 knots with seas to match.
Courses were windward-leeward, with gruelling beats of over 15 minutes that tested the leg muscles but provided marvellous downwind thrills (and spills). It’s something special to catch a wave that propels the boat so fast that the sail flaps limply as if becalmed, and of course gybing at that speed actually becomes easier.
In Saturday’s races the conditions may perhaps have favoured the Lasers, taking 1st and 2nd places in all the races. Ron was robbed of 3rd place in one close race by an unfortunate capsize that let Matthew Geake through He also scored a minor psychological victory through his claims for gains made by using his newly fitted compass, fitted using a mount supplied by Sailing Raceboats in a personal delivery that morning. Whatever the real benefits, Matthew was wary of splitting tacks for too long. Nonetheless, Matthew managed to finish ahead of Ron in the third race.
After lunch, in a further two races, the forecast drop in wind strength didn’t happen. And neither did the exhilaration drop. Perhaps best of all was the broad reach home from the finish; the Aero just loves those conditions!
Sunday brought superb conditions, adding glorious sunshine to a more manageable wind which seemed to suit the Aero particularly well. Either that, or Ron had been out practising under the cover of darkness; he won all three of Sunday’s races, ahead of the Lasers both over the water and on handicap. Well done, Ron!"
Ron Fergusson: "Matthew generally had me on toast on the runs during Saturday's breezy conditions. I examined my GPS tracks for Saturday and estimate 9 full or near capsizes in the morning session, and 3 in the afternoon, all but one on the runs. It was my first time out in the Aero in those conditions. On the positive side of the ledger, I am now fairly confident of getting back in the boat in a breeze. I also learnt that it's probably best to keep the board all the way down in 20 knots, any speed gain from raising the board is all too quickly thrown away. Top speed recorded was 22.36 kph (12 knots) on the reach out to the start in the afternoon session"