The 2018 West Harbour Winter Series will commence with Race 1 on Sunday the 6th of May 2018.

The Sailing Instructions and the 2018 Course Maps are available via the BSC’s website.

If you are a current member of GFS, PRSC or DSC and have paid your annual race fees you do not need to pay to enter, however you still need to enter using the Top Yacht Entry System by clicking here.

All Winter Series Dates are as per the GFS Sailing program –

Race 1     May 6

Race 2     May 20

Race 3     June 3

Race 4     June 17

Race 5     July 1

Race 6     July 15

Race 7     July 29


Please be advised that the members’ fridge is provided as a service for members. It is an honesty system and is not available on days when the club’s licence allows the bar to be open. It is available at all other times – weekdays, Saturday and Sunday race days.


At present the funds collected are not matching the funds expected. The system is currently under review and is being monitored to ascertain whether the shortfall is continuing and whether the service should be continued.

Well done to David Edmiston and crew – 2nd on handicap in Division 1 Race 2 of the Performance Crusing Division.

Both the Hasta La Vista (John Veale) and Sweeney Todd (Julian Todd) crews continue to enjoy the competitive racing.

All results can be viewed at


To mark the end of the 2017 – 2018 Down Harbour Series, or just owning a boat, participant skippers and crews are invited to come back to the club and partake in friendly banter related to sailing on the day, in the series, sailing generally or not at all.


It would be nice to bring some food to share.  However, there will be a supply of bread and sausages in the members’ fridge for all to consume.


This promises to be another quality event to enhance the already lofty reputation of the GFS ‘Deck of Knowledge’.

The 11th annual Sail Port Stephens regatta, home of the Commodores Cup, NSW IRC Championships, Australian Sports Boat Nationals, Super 12 NSW Title and Port Stephens Trophy (Performance Cruising + Racing) runs from 9-15 APRIL 2018.

GFS has two competitors in the Commodores Cup and Performance Cruising events and we wish David Edmiston and crew (Passion X) and John Veale and Crew (Hasta La Vista) best of luck in the competition.

Passion X is also competing in the Newcastle – Port Stephens race on Sunday April 8.

It is with sadness that we note the passing of another previous GFS club member.

Geoff was a keen racer and sailed his J24 Grott with the club in the 1980s and 1990s with young Harvey as an active crew member.

His funeral notice appeared in the paper on Monday –

OTTEWILL, Geoffrey Rabone

March 14 2018
Aged 82 years

Dearly loved husband of Bev, loved father and father-in-law of Mark, Susie, Anthony, Robert and Meaghan. Loving grandfather of Max, Hannah, Sascha, Abby, Lola and Charley.

Family and friends of Geoff are invited to attend his funeral service to be held at Magnolia Chapel, Macquarie Park at 11am, Thursday 22 March and afterwards for refreshments from 12-2pm.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Parkinson’s foundation.

This is a post on the GFS Facebook page by Graeme Davey skipper of G-whizz detailing the events that unfolded in Race 4 of the Summer Twilight Series on January 12, which graphically brought home to Graeme the potential for disaster inherent in yacht racing.

It is worth reading if you haven’t already. Thankfully Graeme and the G-whizz crew were on hand to affect a rescue of the persons in the water.

‘I thought it appropriate that I bring to members’ attention some of the circumstances that occurred last Wednesday.


Three GFS yachts rounding Cockatoo in an area prone to sudden windshifts. Click to enlarge.


The photo was taken at the very moment of the incident, you can see the splash of a crew member hitting the water on the port side of  the leeward yacht.


Photo courtesy Jeff Lewis



Accidental Gybe
In a recent Twilight race a yacht had an accidental gybe, they are not the first yacht that has had this happen and they certainly won’t be the last.

The potential for an accident increases when crews are relaxed and not enough attention is being applied to the job of sailing the boat. On a warm evening, with a light breeze coming from behind, there is little apparent breeze to remind the crew that we are sailing.

We all know that there are some pretty big wind shifts in the area in which we race heightening the potential for an accidental gybe. Even in light air the boom can swing across the cockpit with incredible force.

Please make sure that our crews are aware of the dangers of being inside the arc of the boom and above its height and remain aware of the environment they are in.

MOB retrieval
Julian Todd spoke about Man Over Board at dinner after the race about the importance MOB practice. I have been fortunate enough to have had training for MOB, in fact in one course I did we were subjected to an average of 3 drills an hour all the way from Middle Harbour to America Bay in the Pittwater.

 MOB in the Harbour is practically quite easy, keep a lookout so as not to lose sight of the victim, get to the victim as quickly as possible under motor or sail. There are then a couple of schools of thought, get into a position where the boat will drift onto the victim, or the complete opposite let the victim drift to the boat. The latter is the preferred method taught to me to use in sheltered waters. Most Important BE PROP AWARE know exactly where your propeller is in relation to the victim.

Retrieval can be extremely difficult even with a fit victim, they will probably be exhausted and also in a degree of shock, they will not have the strength to get themselves on board. We had quite a bit of difficulty getting one of the victims on board last Wednesday and he was conscious.

MOB practice is very important, although most practice does not involve a real person, while it does reinforce the method of getting to the victim it does not prepare anybody for getting the victim on board. I would like to suggest human victim retrieval with a real person in the water, practice getting them out of the water without their assistance.

Safety Gear
We always put an emergency boarding ladder out together with a life-sling, I have often thought “Why am I doing this for a couple of hours on the harbour?” After using both of these items on Wednesday I will never think that again.

Victim Care
We have crew with first aid certificates, good luck more than good management, I would suggest that every crew have at least one member with an up to date certificate. The guys that we got on board on Wednesday evening were typical of most of us, they had an ability to swim, they didn’t panic when in the water, but they like me were not at the peak of their physical fitness, When they were on board they were exhausted and I suspect suffering a bit of shock. It was a balmy evening, but these guys were shivering un-controllably, the crew were able to get some of their wet clothes off and wrap them in dry towels, we have blankets on board – somewhere – we have now decided to add a few “Space blankets” to our first aid kit, hopefully they will never be needed but at least everyone will know where they’re stored.

Bottom Line
We were not the closest boat to this incident but we were in open space which meant we could quickly and safely manoeuvre into a position to assist, where the closer boats really lacked the space to safely manoeuvre. Even if you are not the closest be prepared to assist in an emergency.

Make sure your safety gear is readily accessible and your crew know how to use it – practice again.

Good news is that all three crew members of the yacht concerned, one that stayed on board, one that was knocked into the water and another who dived in to give assistance are all OK and have been checked and cleared of any potential ongoing issues.’

Graeme Davey
Skipper G-whizz

The Laser Metropolitan Championships will be held at the Drummoyne Sailing Club on the weekend of the 17th and 18th of March 2018.

There may be at least 80 Lasers – courses around Cockatoo, Snapper and Spectacle.

We may set a ‘Down Harbour’ course.

Rule 14, avoiding contact, is a rule that always applies, anywhere on the racecourse.

A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat or one entitled to room or mark-room (a) need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room or mark-room, and (b) shall be exonerated if she breaks this rule and the contact does not cause damage or injury.

The rule’s intended message is, put simply: “Sailing is not a contact sport.”

Linda and Wally are converging as they approach the line to start. Neither changes course and they collide with damage to both boats. Linda protests Wally.

At Position 1, Wally must keep clear of Linda (Rule 11) and he also must avoid contact (Rule 14). Because the starting mark is surrounded by navigable water, Rule 18 doesn’t apply (see the Preamble to Section C of Part 2).

Wally is barging and Linda is under no obligation to give him mark-room.

Wally could avoid breaking any rule by luffing and leaving the mark to port. But he doesn’t, and just before Position 2, Wally commits to sailing between Linda and the mark. At that moment, it becomes clear that Linda needs to take avoiding action in order not to collide with Wally, so Wally is not keeping clear (see part (a) of the definition Keep Clear). At the same moment Rule 14(a) begins to require Linda to act to avoid contact, which she easily could do by bearing off a few degrees.

The protest committee disqualifies both boats—Wally for breaking Rules 11 and 14 and Linda for breaking Rule 14.

There will be a quiz coming soon.

The following first place winners will be invited to Sydney Town Hall on Tuesday March 27 to receive their medallions.  Invites have been sent.

Class or Division Boat Name OR Sail Number Skipper /Crew                        
Twilight Blue AVANTI Peter Clarke
Twilight Green SILVER SPRAY David Wells
Twilight White AMATEAU Brian Davey
Twilight  Orange FOLKLORE William McLaughlin
Twilight  Gold ETESIAN Bram Penberthy
Twilight Black LISDILLON Andrew Richardson
Saturday Division 1 TANA Pam Joy
Lesley Barr
Saturday Division 2 PACA Paul Hanly
Sabot 1-Up MISS BEHAVING Elliott Wilson
Sabot 2-Up WILD SIDE Aiden Senior
Tristin Power
Junior Laser FULLY WORKING Jessica Challenger

A funeral  for Ross will be held this Friday February 23 at 10:30 am at the Camellia Chapel, Macquarie Park (corner of Delhi Road and Plassey Road).

The service will be followed by a celebration of Ross’ life at The Deckhouse, Clarke Road Woolwich from 12 to 3:00 pm.

This invitation extends to all Ross’ sailing friends.

Dear Club Members

I was informed this Thursday morning of the passing of Ross Springer, owner and skipper of the blue fleet yacht Izzi.

Ross competed in Izzi on Wednesday night and was in the raft up at the club when the 40 knot southerly hit.

I saw him waiting patiently in the raft up for the outer yachts to clear little suspecting it would be his last visit to GFS.

Ross passed away at home Wednesday night and we will circulate details of funeral arrangements in due course.

Ross has been a valued member of the club and for several years we raced against him in the Blue division and also the Winter Wednesday events at RANSA.

Ross has been a loyal supporter of racing at GFS and will be greatly missed.

On behalf of all GFS members I express my sincere condolences to Ross’ family.


David Edmiston






Click to enlarge

To enter go  here


It is with sadness that we note the passing of ‘Bill’ Wilson.  Bill along with his brother Tim took on the responsibility of laying the start/finish marks for twilight races and the custodianship of Pegasus.

Bill’s death notice appeared in today’s paper.

WILSON David Paget Avonmore (Bill)

Passed away on Monday December 18th, 2017.

Devoted and much loved husband of Lilly, dearly loved by his brothers Tim and Peter, and in-laws of Wilson’s and Markos families including many nieces and nephews.

Bill’s Funeral Service will be held in the East Chapel of the Northern Suburbs Crematorium, 199 Delhi Road, North Ryde on THURSDAY (December 21st, 2017) at 3.30 pm.

GFS Facebook Group

Upcoming Events

  • 21/04/2018Saturday Autumn Series Race 7
  • 28/04/2018Saturday Autumn Series Race 8
  • 06/05/2018West Harbour Winter Series Race 1
  • 20/05/2018West Harbour Winter Series Race 2
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