Bundaberg Sailing Club facing huge rebuild costs.

...Bundaberg Sailing Club and the flood.

     Like many others who enjoy the beauty of a riverside location the sailing club will incur major rebuild costs after the river showed it's ugly side.

    Almost without exception everyone who visits the club remarks on what a beautiful section of the riverbank the club occupies.........most of the time.

   Along with members from Sailability Bundaberg and the Bundaberg Dragon Boat Club, who are both based at the club, sailing club members have worked hard to get most of our facilities back to their pre flood condition allowing our members to get back on the water and do what they do best. (Some of them handle a boat better than a shovel.)

    The club has lost approx. 6 metres from the river end of the boat ramp and the drop off at the end is now about 4.5 metres. In fact the dropoff extends for several hundred metres along the eastern bank of the North Reach. Before the 2011 flood the depth of the river in front of the club (the deepest section of the North Reach) was about 7 metres, post 2011 about 15 metres and now it is 20 metres plus. The damage to the ramp is a real blow for the club and the other organisations based at the BSC.

    A unique feature of the river when it's in flood is that in front of the sailing club the water actually flows upstream as a result of a massive eddy that forms as the river rises. While not having the same power as the flow in the main ''channel'' the force of the water is nonetheless extremely strong. It also results in LARGE whirlpools forming in the river as the tide falls and which gave one of our members a jaw dropping moment when the unmanned ''Burnett Queen'' came down the river stern first, was sucked into a huge whirlpool, paused, spun 180 degrees and then continued on it's way bow first.

    One positive aspect of the formation of the eddy was that when the pontoon broke away it was swept into some mangroves close to the bank. As a result of a tremendous effort by Greg a line was attached and members were able to haul it back and secure it to the flagpole at the front of the clubhouse. It was also possible (again thanks to Greg) to get a line on to the hinged section of the pontoon walkway which resurfaced, slightly damaged, 250 metres UPSTREAM. Fortunately for the club as a result of the recovery of the pontoon and ramp section along with what appears to be minimal damage to the main walkway section the rebuild cost for the pontoon will be substantially reduced (hopefully).

    The pontoon piles were swept away and the river end support for the walkway will need a thorough inspection. Not having the pontoon in place will severely restrict the activities of the sailing for the disabled organisation, Sailability Bundaberg, so there are many who are keen to have the facility restored a.s.a.p.

    As the river reached it's peak the clubhouse became a man made island and as the water constantly surged it became obvious that it would enter the building. Luckily by that stage members had lifted everything possible off the floor and damage was kept to a minimum. Here I would like to make special mention of the ''above and beyond'' effort of our caretaker Gary and his contribution, along with other club members, which undoubtedly helped to save the club and some of it's members from hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of possible damage.

    One unlucky member who had already arranged to pull his boat out of the water in the morning was beaten by the speed which the river rose and while the boat was saved it did suffer some significant damage. The fate of a couple of boats moored in the river and owned by club members is not yet known. Another members yacht was stuck in the middle of the river because a submerged yacht was laying on top of the anchor. Many of the larger boats in our storage area which couldn't be moved in time simply floated and then settled back into position on their trailers while many of the trailer sailers and smaller boats were either moved out on to the access road or moved to the highest ground. It was a huge effort by all those who were able to help.

    Apart from the lower level which was badly eroded the club grounds have recovered reasonably well already and thanks to a tremendous effort by members the rescue boat shed, dinghy shed and various smaller storage sheds have all been cleaned and many repairs carried out. Repair and/or replacement of pumps and other electrical equipment, as well as cleaning and repairs to the clubhouse, are well in hand and hopefully as you read this the sailing season will be back on track.

    In summary the major damage at the club has been the lose of approx. half of the boat ramp and the damage to the pontoon, the lower level requires substantial filling, the starters shed was washed away (minus the starter thankfully) and there has been some minor damage to smaller club structures and equipment and of course there was the messy cleanup. Lets hope it's a long, long time before our members and the people of Bundaberg and surrounding areas experience that level of damage and destruction again.

    Obviously there are no local sailing results but congratulations to our two new Australian champions, 17yr old Jarrod Potter (Nacra 16sq) and Richard Cullen (Nacra 4.5). Also well done to our other members who performed well at the Nacra Nationals at Hervey Bay.

    Our Learn to Sail and sail training programes are proving successful and will be up and running again as soon as possible so if your interested please contact the club or call over at 66 Strathdees Road, Port Bundaberg. Our usual sailing day is Saturday so call over and find out more about what the club has to offer. Membership is available to everybody whether they have an interest in sailing or not so call over and see what a great riverside venue we have.........most of the time.

    And for those members who are keen on wetting a line the new dropoff along the eastern bank should be an ideal spot for Bream and Flathead fishermen.

    Bundaberg Sailing Club, ''Doing It On The Water''....

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