Albany - Lilacs (WA, Australia)
Windsurfing (Speed Sailing) at Lilacs in Albany
Albany is located 420km SE of Perth (about 4.5 hours drive) and has a large inlet called Princess Royal Harbour.
Lilacs is a spot located on the NW side of the harbour in Frenchman Bay and is one of the best speed sailing spots in WA with glassy water protected by weed.
This spot works best in easterlies (NE, E & SE) and the best time for wind and water levels is Feb & March (but can be sailed from Nov to April). The breeze is cooler down here meaning it is denser than Perth and above.
If it’s westerly try the bay on the inside of Quaranup Rd or Shoal Bay beach or the eastern side of the sand spit above Rushy Point at Little Grove.
A Delta fin is best as you can go further into the weedy patches where the water is dead flat, however a weed fin can work in higher tides. A min 50 deg rake is required but a 55 deg rake is better. The weed is very abrasive, fin leading edges need to be sanded after every session (unless they are stainless or Alloy). The nautical mile run is shallow at the end so if you want to do that, a shallow fin is a good idea. .
The deepest spots are chest to waist depending on tide however it can be over waist deep and still have very thick weed all the way to the surface.
Comparing it to Lake George in SA and Fangys at Mandurah, there’s not a lot in it. All 3 can have that huge area of oily smooth water, especially in lighter wind. Lake George has a bigger area and works in more wind directions, with more frequent wind than lilacs.
However, Lilacs has a better nautical mile run when the tide isn’t too low, and the weed is consistent.
Fangys wind is more frequent than Lilacs, but not as strong as Lake George, and can also have an excellent nautical mile run, but weed varies through the seasons, so the oily smooth is more a spring early summer thing.
Access, Launching & Rigging
Launch from, Lilacs water front cabins off Frenchman Bay Rd.
There is a nice grassy area for rigging and trees for shade. The launch is off a narrow strip of sand which drops off quickly to waist-deep water and thick weed & mud. At high tide you can launch from the beach, however at low tide it can be a 100m wade out before there’s enough depth to get going.
So when sailing back to the beach be aware that the water over the sand can be very shallow so approach with caution. But don’t stop to far out in the weed as it can be a real struggle to get out of it and back to shore.
The same goes with the sand bank to the southern end of the bay. If you fall off into the weed it gets wrapped around you and your rig and it can be really hard to water start and get going again.
If the wind is blowing from the W/NW it is still possible to sail here but best to launch from the other end of the bay as there is a wind shadow at the cabins launch area.
Be aware of stingrays & cobbler. You will find less of these in the shallow weedy areas and on the sand inside the weedbank at low tide but they do come in to this area at higher tides. There are also more of them to the North towards the woolstores.
The other obvious hazard is hitting the sandbars at speed.
Where To Stay
For campers there is the Panorama Caravan Park a few kms south on Frenchman Bay.
Another option is to stay at the Lilacs cottages which can accommodate a couple of families. You can rig directly in front of the cabins on a shaded grassy area and then its just a few steps to the launch spot.
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- Flat Water Blasting
- Speed Sailing
- Flat Water
- Cold Water
- Moderate Temp Water
- Salt Water
- On-site Parking
- Free Parking
- Camp Ground
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