With Nick from Windcraft on board for Race 9, giving handy hints along the way, Susan and Philip were beaming as they cruised past Barry (and his hooter) in the tower, this time in first place!


In Susan’s words… “With Nick’s canny eye on the sails, excellent strategizing and magic on the helm we were truly competitive!  As always Windcraft keeps looking after us… it was the highlight of the race season so far.” And Windcraft’s Nick Jones added “It’s always a pleasure to head out on the water and sail with great company on a beautiful boat. We look forward to following Amity and her team as she races through the season.”


Safety Beach Sailing Club


Novice 385 Sailors have Fun Learning to Race


Hanse 385 owner Susan O’Reilly describes Friday night racing at Safety Beach Sailing Club… or as Susan titles her story…


Calamity Amity and her Friday night pursuits!


“I’ve just perused Friday night’s results… and there she is again: Amity DNF. Oh the shame! I can tell you we DID finish… We just obviously didn’t know HOW to do it right! It’s almost 12 months since we collected our beloved Hanse 385 from Sydney, and sailed her from Pittwater NSW to Victoria (despite people telling us we were ‘very brave’ as we are complete novices!)



But I have to tell you this racing/pursuit business is MUCH more difficult.


I guess it doesn’t help that there are only two of us and we have no ‘crew’ (God bless electric winches and a self tacker!) I’m also ashamed to say that our modus operandi when attempting a race is to just ‘follow’ everyone else.


Now this would be fine, as you can learn a lot from what others do….. IF we could keep up.


Husband has a multitude of books on sail trim, but theory and practice are poles apart, aren’t they?


And after some difficulties getting out of our berth at the marina (don’t ask!) we were running behind so we crossed the start line well behind all the other girls our size. So glorious it is out there, isn’t it? However when every man and his dog has surged ahead, it’s impossible to tell exactly how everyone is finishing, and then attempt to do the same thing ourselves. Obviously we got it wrong… again!



Of course it would help if we tried to learn the various courses ourselves… but first things first, I say (learning to actually ‘sail’ must take priority!) Yes, we obviously need some serious help!


Last season we roped in the lovely Pauline Cleaver to be ‘Lady Skipper’ for us one Sunday, and what a buzz it was to be keeping pace with Mr Bojangles at one point! So it’s obviously US that are the problem and NOT the mighty Amity. Fortunately Renaissance and Tango are keeping the Hanses from total shame at SBSC.


One day we might be ‘competitive’… but to be honest we don’t really mind. A few weeks ago some fellow said, as we were walking past:


“Don’t worry, we were like that too when we started/” (whatever could he mean? Are we the laughing stock of Martha Cove??!!) At least when you’re always last (very very very last!) everyone else has tied up and gone off to dinner, so we don’t have to do the walk/motor of shame back to our berth. (And no, it’s not because we’re embarrassed at our failures that we don’t come to dinner at the club too – we care for two elderly parents who are always clamouring to be fed post race!)



But although our efforts to sail our beloved Amity in a competitive fashion are yet to bear fruit, it’s not about the winning (or in our case just keeping up with the pack!) but the joy of being out there on the ocean on our beautiful girl Amity…


… and it’s still a wonderful sight to see all those white sails – even if, in our case, they are always disappearing into the distance!


See you next Friday (we’ll be the ones in the lovely Hanse 385 – coming last and crossing the finish line incorrectly!)”


Susan O’Reilly


This article was first published in the Safety Beach Sailing Club newsletter. If you’d like to have a go at racing or some social sailing, contact your local Windcraft office for a chat.