gps-icesailing
Sandy Point has one of the best natural speed courses in the world. The set up consists of an Inlet (Shallow Inlet) with a deep channel separated from the Ocean (Bass Strait) by a narrow, low sand spit varying between 300m and 500m across. Most of the spit is less than 1m high at high tide, although there are now some 2-4m sand dunes building up on it and the North Western end and the wind is affected by this a lot compared with only 5 years ago when it was flat.
The best wind is a South Westerly. These are common all year round with Cold Fronts, but stronger and more regular in Winter-Spring. SW winds blow uninterrupted off the open ocean and can reach 50-60 knots a few times a year. 30-40 knots fronts are fairly common.
Because the inlet is tidal, the smoothest water is around low tide. It is possible to sail within a meter of the sand in ideal tidal conditions. On the biggest high tides, sailing is less than ideal and access to the parking on the beach can be difficult or impossible.
The channel is curved over a 3km length through almost 90 degrees. This allows an ideal angle for speed to be found at some point along the course on winds between WSW and SSW. The other advantage of the curved course is that in all but extreme winds, there is minimal following chop build up.
The best time for regular strong fronts is July to November, but we rarely sail much until October when it starts to warm up a bit.
January February are the most reliable for wind of some kind. The usual pattern is a Cold front with 20-30 knots SW (perfect for the speed strip), sometimes up to 40 kts. Then a day where the wind dies and goes south. Sometimes a day of no wind and then the easterly starts. It often builds over 3 or 4 days and regularly gets to 30 knts+. There is some really fun speed sailing to be done at low tide close to the easterly bank and fun bump and jump in the channel.
Then a day of lighter northerlies (great for Surfing) and then NW (surf sailing anyone?) ahead of the next front and so the cycle starts again. All this with air temp 20-35 deg Celsius and water at 16-19 deg.
It does not always work like clockwork, but more often then not. If I were coming here from Europe I would escape the winter and come for the second half of Jan and into Feb. That would avoid the summer peak and accommodation is a bit cheaper than around Christmas. Rental houses are probably the best option for a group but there is limited camping and a small backpacker with 3 rooms. There are also some small units to rent. Sandy Pont is a small holiday village with just a single General Store and a Takeaway/coffee shop. Foster and Fish Creek are the closest towns with more services (and Pubs) about 20 mins drive away. A larger regional centre, Leongatha is 45 mins away. One really needs a car here to get all your gear from Melbourne 170km away (2 - 2.5 hrs driving time) and to transport it to the inlet each day (2km).

If you had more time and were just interested in speed sailing, come for October (and SpeedWeek!). You may only get to sail good winds a couple of times a week but as we have seen this week, you could very well get a howler of a SW Front. It is never crowded then.

January sees more on the water but it rarely get what I would call crowded (as long as there are no kites around) and then only on weekends and public holidays. Even then, you can have it pretty much to yourself midweek.

Email me at sailquik at hotmail.com if you want more info.


Sandy Point: 38.85 South 146.16 East
Speedfreaks!

Andrew Daff knows what he's talking about.

Hello Bjorn Dunkerbeck! If you are reading this then you must get over to Sandy Point in Victoria, Australia for next year's Speedweek in October. You were sorely missed this year. It blew 60 knots + and most people couldn't even carry their gear to the water, let alone sail it!

Adrian Bonomi
Speedfreak at heart.
Temporarily in London (arghhh!)
Melbourne from Christmas onward.






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