Who will sail today at PRSC? There will be those who will show their true (glittery) colours and have appointments at the hairdressers for the annual BSC service, and will take the day off to watch the exciting racing. And there will be those who stay loyal and true to PRSC.
Black Velvet has paraded past full of colour. The LOEG crew have gone to do more maintenance on that boat, one day they may get in front on the maintenance, but the foreman is not real good at planning, and what can be said about the engineer! Sumo still says a Hail Mary as he drives across Madonna's bra whenever he's in Sydney! He loves you Willo.
Both Next light and Still Festering are no shows for what should be a challenging day for all sailors. 5 -10 knots is predicted for the harbour, not much is left over for us.
The course is set. Number Five around Cockatoo, up to, 1, 5, 3, 5, finish. A great call Anne as we can be finished at any number of times if the breeze falls out.
Division 3 have 4 starters, Xena, Farrago, Fire fly and Duchess. Having just missed the start we turn and see Vince, skipper of Xena, in a great position, in front, up high on the river, when he loses it, and turns back, he must have broken the start, it is a shame when that happens.
Time waits for no one and our start has arrived. Willo keeps us honest having started out in the river with breeze, with us at the rowers, sitting trapped in light air and we work hard to keep the mighty AOE alive.
With a number of quick tacks along the shore (always good to dig into Abbo 12's) we are able call Starboard at Abbotsford point forcing the big boys back across the river. The breeze is a little heavier than last week, giving us speed against LOEG, but we know when the long works start we will lose our lead.
Working down the Huntley shore we have to call LOEG a few more times, it is such fun playing with these boys. When we arrive at the Gladesville bridge they are gone, having picked up the Stocky lift at the mouth of the bay and are now nothing more than a boat to chase.
Having passed Division 3 boats sailing down the gutter at Drummoyne, we look back and can not see Black Velvet anywhere and are wondering what has happened? Turning at Snapper Island we get get good breeze from the N/Easter, 3 tacks and we are at the home of the Grand Prix Cats that have made the Eastern end of Cockatoo their base in Sydney.
All the Grand Prix boats and crew are there, Australia, with Tom and the boys, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, USA & Spain. Some boats are still on land and a few are with tenders leaving a 10 metre gutter for us to squeeze thru. Once all realised we were racing the chant went up, "go guys, go get them", then someone recognised Speed and the chant from the crowd began, "Speedo, Speedo, Speedo". This was pretty inspiring stuff so rounding at the wharf Big Blue was popped in micro seconds and we took off chasing that tall masted LOEG, who never got far away.
It transpired that Black Velvet has started the race with no race instructions, are lost, and we find them sailing down river with Cockatoo to Port, they realise their mistake and turn round.
Up the river we go drowning a few cold ones along the way, what a great way to spend a Saturday.
LOEG round mark 1 a couple of minutes in front and we are happy with this so far. Working back to 5 we seem to have pulled back Willo and his team. Once 5 is rounded the kite is set to fly once we hit the middle of the river, but LOEG are at Abbotsford Point with no kite up. Loving a challenge, Big Blue is worked hard and the beers are downed. Rehydrated with a couple of jibes we cruise to mark 3 metres in front of LOEG.
With the main being worked by Willo, all efforts are made to put us back in our place. Willo just needs to get out on a wire to emulate his skiff days!
According to them, ( LOEG), our position should be any where behind LOEG! They get their job done and as we head back to 5, they lead by 3 minutes. As we round five we pop the kite and are sailing well, when we see LOEG are becalmed off Abbotsford! What a shame, will Huey be with us today or will the girls take the glory.
Needless to say a breath of air came their way and carried them to victory. As we rounded Abbotsford we notice Black Velvet turn and head home not finishing the race.
From there it was straight home for the battlers, with big chests. Did Anne know where she was sending us when she sent us off. What a lady, what a starter, there is none better than Anne. A beautiful day on the river.
With our handicap being eroded each week, this may be my final report on behalf of AOE. After 36 years of sailing at PRSC, I am moving out of Sydney and so this is my final year of racing. I would like thank all the friends and the family of PRSC for making me part of the Family. To skippers Sumo & Speed you guys are the best. To crew men Jim, Steve, Carl, Willo, Bam and Nuts what great mates we have become. Love your work boys.