Well done  to club members David Edmiston, Geoff Lucas and Kevin Phillips who competed in the 2016 Laser Worlds in Mexico on Banderas Bay.

Geoff was 4th in the ‘Legends Fleet’ (75 and over) out of 8 competitors and Kevin 5th and David 6th out of 36 competitors in the Radial Masters Fleet. Full results listing and information can be found on the competition website http://www.laserworlds2016.org/index.php

Since its inception in 2013 the WHWS has been a huge success and we are hoping to build on that success in 2016.  The Notice of Race for the 4th Annual West Harbour Winter Series (WHWS) is here.  As with previous years, there will be 7 races, commencing with Race 1 on the Sunday the 15th of May 2016.

We are again looking forward to some great racing across at least 4 divisions.

The inaugural 2013 Series was hosted by BSC however in 2013 it was DSC who out-performed the other clubs. In 2014 DSC hosted the series which was dominated by GFS.  GFS hosted the 2015 series which was dominated by BSC.

In 2016 the WHWS has come full-circle with Balmain Sailing Club becoming the host club.

With support from Yachting Australia we are planning on introducing the measurement handicap system ‘ORC Club’. This will not replace the usual PHS handicapping system. Results under the ORC Club rule will be published alongside the PHS results.

Unlike other measurement based systems ORC Club is an inexpensive, ‘owner declared’, measurement system that has a transparent formula for determining a boats rating. (Anyone who holds a current ORCi Certificate can compete without having to apply for an ORC Club certificate).

I’d encourage people to read the information on the following links:




PHS favours consistent sailing, and occasionally favours those that consistently improve. However, unlike PHS, ORC Club won’t penalise you for sailing well – it will give you a fixed rating based on the design characteristics of your boat (it will favour those with clean hulls, decent sails and good teamwork!).

Yachting Australia will be hosting a Q&A seminar on ORC Club and local Sailmakers and sponsors of BSC and DSC, Sydney Sailmakers have agreed to assist owners with boat measurements following the seminar.

The Balmain Sailing Club invites all competitors interested in getting an ORC Club rating to the Q&A session at 10am on Sunday the 10th of April at the Balmain Sailing Club.

Yachting Australia have agreed to process Certificates for a promotional rate of $60.00 (cost).

The WHWS, with support from GFS, DSC, BSC, Yachting Australia and importantly competitors will be the first in Sydney to embrace this initiative.

Please, get on board and support this initiative and help us to position the WHWS at the forefront of racing development in Australia.

All competitors need to enter the WHWS via the Balmain Sailing Club website. There is no fee payable for entrants from BSC, DSC and GFS who have paid their club’s annual entry fee. Your entry automatically puts you into the PHS series and you will have the option of entering under the ORC Club rating rule.

Come along to the Q&A seminar and consider having your boat rated under the ORC Club rule.




In light of the incident where a DSC yacht (Hartley TS 16) lost its keel and capsized and now the death to one and serious injury to another sailor during a race on Pittwater, GFS skippers are urged to copy and keep a Safety Card on board.

Skippers should be aware of the potential danger when fleets with boats of different capabilities are sailing in restricted waterways especially when the fleets converge as was the case in the Pittwater incident.

The Safety Card can be downloaded from the Club Documents page on the GFS site or here .

Humbug_Dec_15Humbug Dec 2015


The latest Humbug (March 2016) has been distributed by email.  A copy is here.

The final race for the GFS 2015-2016 season was sailed in balmy conditions – warm temperature with little wind.  The wind apparently was somewhere from the North or North West or West, who could tell. There was barely enough breeze to fill spinnakers of those who decided to carry them.  In the case of Gwhizz they seemed to sail quite well without using a kite.

Initially the fleet in both divisions stretched out only to bunch up at the shortened course finish. In all a memorable day to end the season.

Provisional results –

Autumn Series

Blue Division               Foxy, Speedwell, Gwhizz.

White Division             Paca, Umzimkulu II and Flair equal second

Overall Series

Blue Division               Blue Chip, Gwhizz, Eggshells

White Division             Flair, Umzimkulu II, Paca

I would like to thank the starters Hugh and Xavier for their effort and dedication this season. Their involvement has allowed us all to sail and provided a consistent start regime.  Also thanks to the skippers and crew who have participated in Saturday sailing this season.

Upcoming events –

WHWS (entries via the Balmain Sailing Club website).  Race 1 – Sunday May 15

GFS Prize presentation – Saturday May 21 from 1500hrs.

“The skipper of Dump Truck is looking for one to two people to help with sailing a near new Salona 44 from Sydney to Hamilton Island.  We will stop at various places along the way and will stay in port to avoid bad weather.  The trip can be done in stages for example Sydney to the Gold Coast as the first leg.  If interested please contact Darren on 0422 873 755.  Leaving in May 2016.”
I don’t have a picture of the actual boat but this is the same model yacht.b8cb5ab5-58e6-4d86-809c-c2554d17b024

Again great weather and just enough wind for the final Down Harbour race of the season. Well done to the series winners.

In Blue Division the Etchells team battled the yachts as they made for Clark Island.  Solitude made a great start and escaped through Humbug which was at its fickle best.  The light wind justified the choice of course and resulted in a journey of about 2 hours. Saints II sailed a great race to be second and not far ahead of Flashback which had a good run back under their huge asymmetrical kite. Handicap results were Saints II, Blue Chip and Chloe.  Series results to Eggshells, from Blue Chip with Flashback and GWhizz equal third with exceptionally small margins.

White Division headed off to round Fort Denison and Umzimkulu II established an early lead with Tana, Out of Africa and Joka endeavouring to catch up. They ended up very close together at the finish.  Wind Charmer were not far behind them as was Paca.  Umzimkulu II were back ahead of Joka and Tana.  On handicap Umzimkulu II from Joka and Out of Africa. Series results to Joka from Umzimkulu II with Tana and Out of Africa equal third.

In Red Evo took the water and handicap double after a close race.  Flair led momentarily at the start but were hampered by a lack of sail area.  Evo were ahead at the Goat Island rounding and held the lead on the spinnaker run to Cockatoo.  Flair nearly caught up on the next spinnaker run from Cockatoo to Humbug but to no avail and Evo crossed the finish line just over a minute ahead.  Series results to Flair from Evo and Barubi.

Race 1 of the inaugural BSC Friday Afternoon Non-Spinnaker Series saw a fleet of 5 sail in perfect sunny conditions that saw NE breezes averaging around 10 knots.

For most, the finish was close with Balmain Tiger taking the win. See the link to the results below.


All of the competitors came back to the clubhouse for drinks and the consensus was that this series will surely grow.

We have since had additional entries.

The series will run every Friday afternoon until the end of July and will appeal to those who are retired and can muster a crew – or, those who ‘work from home’.

This is a Non-Spinnaker Pursuit Race commencing at 1330 hours. The series will be split into 2 (Series 1 and 2). There will be 3 discards in Series 1 (9 races) and 3 discards in Series 2 (also 9 races).

This is a low-management series with no laid marks, no starters and no tender services. The BSC will publish offset times on their website every Friday morning. There is ONE course and start times will be determined by the forecast on the day.

Skippers will be required to text their first lap and finish times to me on my mobile [0411206347]. Please ensure that your finish time includes hours, minutes and seconds!

Following the race, boat owners are invited to come back to the BSC for drinks and a sausage sizzle. Those coming from further afield are welcome to tie up in our new marina.

For those who have yet to enter, you can do so by clicking on the link below:


The list of entrants and their handicaps/offset times for Race 2 will be published on Friday morning prior to the race.

Below is the link to the Sailing Instructions


If you are not on the current entry list and intend competing, or, if you intend entering and require assistance, please feel free to email me for further information.

Light winds prompted the choice of Course 17A which at one point looked like it was too long.  However, the starters were aware and prepared to finish the race ‘outside’ if the wind had not filled in late as it more-or-less did.

In Division 1 Sweet Chariot powered away in the conditions to leave the fleet in their wake to record a comprehensive victory on the water and on handicap.  Velocity and Irukandji kept together and escaped marginally from the others.  Chloe led the Etchells group with 4 boats racing, others were Forte Forever, Eggshells and Foxy.  Blue Chip managed to fit in somewhere in amongst the Etchells ‘Fleet’.

Welcome to Peter Francis in Wind Charmer for their first Saturday race in a different boat, although they started in Division 2 they may be better suited to Division 1 especially when Gwhizz and StarElan are sailing. They were so far ahead that the computer has momentarily missed them.

In the rest of Division 2 each boat led the race albeit momentarily in the case of Flair. Paca eventually escaped to lead the fleet in pursuit of Wind Charmer. Umzimkulu II made a supreme effort to catch them and Flair continued to sail into every hole in the breeze at every point on the course.

Next Saturday, April 9, is the last Down Harbour Race of the season.


A good representation of GFS skippers attended a function in the Lord Mayors reception room at Sydney Town Hall to receive first place medallions for the GFS races held to commemorate Australia Day. The group looked resplendent without their boats in a convivial atmosphere.



First place recipients in GFS Yacht Divisions

Twilight Blue Division French Connection Michael Murphy
Twilight Green Division Shemozzle John Hayward and Paul Clune
Twilight White Division Jaytripper Mark Rhodes
Twilight Gold Division Jester Tim Harrington
Twilight Orange Division Evo Richard Wood
Twilight Black Division Lisdillon Andrew Richardson
Saturday Division 1 Sweet Chariot Ralph Pickering
Saturday Division 2 Flair Phil Hare

Dinghy classes first placings were –

Sabot 1 Up Whisper Felix Laubi
Sabot 2 Up Splasher Isaac Edmunds – Skipper
Liam Barry  – Crew
Senior Laser Max Efffort Ray Vaughan


Again spectacular autumn weather with a breeze that seemed to come from a variety of directions made for a tricky but enjoyable sail. Added to the need for skippers and crews to watch for wind shifts the antics on various harbour cruise boats added an additional distraction.

1531In Blue Division Irukandji were powerful and made perfect use of their asymmetrical kite in the shy conditions as they led the fleet.  Likewise Gwhizz sailed an excellent race and a good dice with Peach Teats Velocity for position on the water. Blue Chip were not far back. StarElan, Foxy and Speedwell sailed as a bunch and seemingly had a good race.  Handicap results were Irukandji, Gwhizz and StarElan.

The Reds had a good race where each yacht had a turn at leading on the water.  Paca were powerful and made a break on the others, Umzimkulu lost a bit of ground shaking out their reef and Flair managed to read the wind shifts so well that they found every hole around the course. A rare spinnaker run through Humbug allowed Flair to make up enough distance to win on handicap from Paca and Umzimkulu.

Next week is the Easter break and Saturday sailing resumes on April 2.

Again spectacular weather and a good northerly breeze!

Conditions were such that Blue Division sailed course 1 to Manly. The long course stretched the fleet which was amplified by lighter wind conditions near Middle Head. Flashback powered away to be well ahead at the finish. Blue Chip were second on the water and first on handicap after sailing a consistent race with visitor Monkey Business third on the water after a close race with Gwhizz. Once again welcome to Paul Glynn and crew.

IMG_1272The longer race threw some of the boats finishing mid-fleet into the mix and after the Chippies handicap places were Foxy and Gwhizz.


In White Division a good breeze at the start had them clear Humbug in no time at all and they made good time to the rounding at Neilsen Park. Tana and Out of Africa made a break on the remainder of the fleet and left Joka, Umzimkulu and Paca to vie for positions in what seemed to be a close group.  On water Tana from Out of Twilight and Joka and the handicap mix – Out of, Joka and Tana.


In Red Division Flair battled any number of sea-going craft, the RSYS start boat ‘Mischief’, the RSYS inshore fleet and a flock of ferries to reach, round and return to and from Clark Island.  Bathed in Sydney sunlight Clark Island looked spectacular as did the huge ‘darlek’ at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair being prepared for Turandot. The spinnaker run home was fast and kept us awake as we sped home and for once it allowed us to go in close to the green buoy at Balls Head and beyond and not be trapped in the normal wind shadow.

Drone1If you were wondering what was the buzzy big mosquito which was ducking and diving around Humbug on the Wednesday twilight a few weeks ago – ponder no more. Chistian Chalambous was piloting his drone and captured some interesting footage of the yachts beating home.


You can see Christian’s  footage on You Tube HERE


There is no sound which, considering some of the close encounters is a good thing, as it may have to have been sensored.

At last the prospect of a steady 15 kt northeaster greeted the fleet. However, the breeze had more north than expected and towards the end of the race increased from around 14 to 20 kts.



Course 15 gave long works and tricky spots to negotiate – particularly at the Berry’s Bay and Goat marks. The TS16 fleet were out in force, Paramatta’s thin fleet were rounding Goat Island and a variety of dinghies and skiffs which seemed to fall over regularly made for a mardi gras like day on the water.


Division one were missing some of the likely suspects some in the Sydney Regatta others perhaps enjoying the start of the NRL season or preparing for whatever was going on in Sydney that evening. Solitude led the fleet and were well suited to the shy conditions with their asymmetrical kite.  Forte Forever were also one of the few to brave a kite and were in hot pursuit.  Foxy continued to improve and the rest of the fleet kept in a bunch. Result on the water was Solitude from Forte and Foxy, whilst on handicap Starelan from Foxy and Solitude


Division 2 had a great race with the fleet always close and making up and losing ground at various points around the course. Scratch and handicap results to Paca from Flair and Umzimkulu II.

Not only does she flash past the screen whilst on her mooring in the television show ‘Here Come the Habibs’ Barubi is now the subject of the Noakes add in this month’s Afloat Magazine.


Details have now been released of the death of a sailor and serious injury to another in a yacht race on Pittwater yesterday (Incident report). This  highlights the need for all of us involved in the sport to be extremely conscious of our own safety and that of our crew and other competitors. We offer heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the victim and our thoughts are with the club which has to deal with the aftermath of the incident.

We sail in a restricted waterway with courses which are often crowded with a variety of different boats from our own fleet and those from a variety of different clubs. Yesterday was a case in point in the waterway between Hunters Hill and Cockatoo Island. We are reminded that we need to give room, and opportunity, for boats to navigate in a proper manner.  The issue of room is vital especially for windward boats in areas of congestion with boats of different capabilities and sizes.

Also, copy and complete the GFS Safety Card (here) and keep it on board and instruct your crew where safety equipment is stored and how to retrieve persons overboard.

GFS Buoy


Autumn Race 3 at GFS was sailed in glorious conditions – the 60% prediction of showers seemed way off the mark and a good breeze around 16kts with some gusts up to 18kts made for a quick race on Course 18.

In Division 1, Solitude and Irukandji headed the fleet on the water whilst the remainder kept in fairly close contact.  Foxy, Solitude and Speedwell were the handicap placings.  Well done to the Speedwell crew for coping it sweet after a Port-Starboard incident approaching a GFS mark. They exonerated by doing a two-turns penalty.

Division 2 on-water and handicap results went to Paca, Joka and Umzimkulu II after a well sailed race.

Upcoming Events

  • 10/05/2016GFS Committee Meeting
  • 15/05/2016West Harbour Winter Series Race 1
  • 21/05/20162015 - 2016 Prize Presentation
  • 22/05/2016West Harbour Winter Series Race 2
AEC v1.0.4