November 26 - December 2, 2023: Issue 607


Palm Beach Sailing Club: Beware the Bullets Regatta 2023 wrap

PBSC's 2023 Bullets regatta. Photo: Dick Clarke

Great weekend, lots of breeze and a fair bit of action on Saturday - carnage even - but Sunday was just high speed champagne sailing. As well as local Palm Beach sailors, we had boats and crews from Kurnell, Toukley, and Vincentia. 

Classes represented were Hobie 14s which are making a big comeback for close match racing in a simple and very sturdy boat; the perennial Hobie 16s; a reinvigorated Hobie 18 known as the Hobie18 Reimagined; and the awesomely spectacular F16 and F18 spinnaker boats. We were blessed with a loaned start boat - a 30’ Prowler power cat ‘Castaway’, upon which the crew (including yours truly) had a great view of the action at the bottom of  the course. 

Most of the big action took place at the top of course, where as always in a nor-easter, Barrenjoey and the spit caused all sorts of bullets to come roaring down on boats and their crews, ready or not. That’s where the Regatta gets its name: always beware the bullets! If you see them coming and are in the right place, the advantage can be enormous. But if unaware, you can lose ten places in a matter of seconds, or worse, go for an involuntary swim with your daggerboards pointing skywards.


Saturday’s racing produced some great results before the wind speed topped out over 24kn, which really sorts the girls from the old men. A couple of old men and their long suffering crews ended up kissing the rocks on the western shore, there were multiple capsizes, including one boat that tumbled five times in one race alone. Several rescues were performed, including one by the ever chivalrous Race Officer Dave Fisher who donned a life jacket and dived off the start boat, swimming 30m to assist one solo sailor whose boat could not be righted on her own. Needless to say, the last race was cancelled. Back on the beach everyone had a laugh and story to tell.  

Sunday threatened to have even stronger wind, so racing was started early at 10am, and we were rewarded with a beautiful breeze that stayed below 20kn, which meant we saw only one capsize, one very close call (how they saved it is a mystery!) and no rescues. All boats were sailed at or close to their optimum speeds, as the photos show. The last race was over by 1pm, followed shortly after by the prize giving. Everybody had a seriously good time. If only the rest of the world could share in friendly competition where fun outweighs perceived fortune.

Photos and official results can be found on our Facebook page:

Palm Beach Sailing Club website:

Dick Clarke
Palm Beach Sailing Club

PBSC Beware The Bullets 2023

Photos by Dick Clarke

'Getting Ready for Action' - Day 1 by Trevor Gourlay in Issue 606's Pictures: Out & About On The Pittwater Estuary: Etchells NSW State Championship Being Sailed From The Stunning Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Palm Beach Sailing Club's Beware The Bullets Regatta Day 1 2023, A Day At The Basin, The 2023 DF65 Masters Club Challenge by RPAYC, Trevor Gourlay and Selena Griffith

Ready for Action, Saturday November 18 2023. Photo: Trevor Gourlay