Lola takes message from Carl. “Tell Ron to be at club before 12.00 as it is an early start Long Harbour Course”. Lola also wants to be dropped off in the city. Ron rushes (he is not used to this), drops Lola off and reaches PRSC at 11.28 (also not used to being this early). Ron immediately notices something different about the club, the rubbish bin that normally stands next to the recycle bin is missing! A forensic search of the club is launched but reveals nothing. Pat arrives and throws some light onto the investigation. He had thoroughly scrubbed out ‘rubbish bin’ early in the week and left it in the inverted position outside the PRSC front door. He returned later in the week to find the rubbish bin had disappeared.
Taking on board (nautical term) this relevant information, the search for missing ‘rubbish bin’ was called off. Our starter, Anne, had been made aware of the problem and made the valiant call to proceed with the Long Harbour Course race despite the missing rubbish bin.
Sporting our normal crew, the LOEG pre-race strategy meeting began (along with the odd libation to accompany the deliberations). Finally the question “Which headsail?” Without hesitation, Willo replied “No. 1” (alias the silver bullet). Said sail is prepared on the deck and hoisted with 4 minutes to go (unlike the previous week when we switched from No2 to No3 and hoisted the latter seconds before the start). Jockeying (a horse racing term) for position begins. With 20 seconds to go, Willo makes two calls “harden up” (another sailing term – not in any way associated with pornography) and then “We are racing”.
Perfect start. We take the lead and gradually improve our position. Still in first position at Goat Island and under the Harbour Bridge. Across Circular Quay we observe the exclusion zone (see page 43 of sailing instructions) and go onto starboard tack early to avoid a departing Manly Ferry. This is when we notice Still Festering, still on a port tack and wondered if they had friends on the Rhapsody of the Seas to wave to?? Or maybe Pat was concentrating on explaining to his crew how well he cleaned ‘rubbish bin’ and pondering whether there had been a kidnapping?
We are still in front at Fort Denison and, on the way to Bradleys Head, a giant orange floating mobile mountain (alias bloody big tanker) emerges from the other side. We keep a respectable distance and can’t understand why the maritime boat is coming towards us. A few anxious moments before it turns away and we sail on to the Lady Bay YA Mark. We turn for home, still in the lead but with Still Festering uncomfortably close and gaining. Both boats set up their spinnakers but too shy to hoist them. Cat and mouse game follows and we finally hoist “Big Red”. Still Festering is matching us for speed without their spinnaker. Closer to Bradleys Head, they hoist “Bigger Blue” and gradually take the lead. All the way home we keep in touch but fail to “reel them in” (fishing term).
Result: Still Festering first across the line but not far enough in front to prevent LOEG from taking out the handicap win. Axis of Evil and Resurgent made their way safely home in that order.
Great day sailing and good to see the Division 3 boats having their private duels!
On Saturday, if you see Pat with a tear in his eye, give him a cuddle as he is no doubt still missing ‘rubbish bin’.