The first long course race was eagerly anticipated with the 20-25 knot southerly forecast to come in around 9am –which it did. The thought was that it would be reasonably stable by start time but this was a tad wishful, with peak gusts on the harbour recorded at 30 and less than half that at times – guess a normal southerly change breeze. The wind was given the respect it deserved with SF and LOEG going for non-overlapping jibs and full mains, Resurgent (RSGT) the same but with a reef in the main, and AOE after a late appearance hoisted their well proven suit.
The start was an absolute cracker with all four boats off to a blazing start right on the gun with RSGT to windward, then AOE, LOEG and SF. First boat around Searles was the goal as always, and the tack off the east Bedlam shore would be crucial. SF and LOEG footed through to get to the shore first and tacked out and into the lead, with RSGT trying to hold height and speed in mid-stream, and AOE after initially getting sandwiched was pointing the other side of the wind above RSGT and in control. As Searles was approached the race changed from a dodgem car effort to a near demolition derby, and amazingly AOE squeezed around 2nd behind SF then LOEG and RSGT.
Up to Drummoyne Pt LOEG reached through to 2nd as expected, then the slog to Pulpit down the Drummoyne channel was nasty as the breeze funnelled through. 2 tacks got us all around then it was close reaching to Balls Head where LOEG and RSGT had to take a dig out on port to clear it, whereas SF (with pure blind luck) and AOE squeezed up and got around. But this left the latter too close to the lee shore in less breeze, and in mid-stream RSGT was able toroll over the top with better wind and the outgoing tide and headed for Fort Denison.
Everyone got around there well, also around Bradleys Head inside the 105,000t crude oil tanker Zaliv Amurskiy on the way to Gore Cove, then it was off to South Head broad reaching where RSGT kicked up a gear and lengthened stride. Everyone got around the non-existent mark well (many thanks SF for letting us all know the YA mark was cactus and to use the channel marker – should have put in the search time taken for redress but too late now sorry……….) then back to Bradleys. Everyone got around nicely except RSGT where the helm on that leg (Rob) did not get high enough early and we had to tack off to clear it – a bad blue also with the outgoing tide in mind – and now AOE was right on our stern. Also many apologies to XWP, sailing so well out of Taylors Bay, for us causing them on port needing to dip us as we came out.
The reach home went well for all albeit the breeze went to sleep in the washing machine area west of the bridge, and SF got the gun 7mins in front ofLOEG, followed by RSGT 8mins after them, and AOE 3mins later. Only one kite flown all day - by AOE in a nice bit of showboating down the Drummoyne Channel coming home. RSGT won the hcap from SF, LOEG and AOE.
So that was a super weekly sailing fix in blustery conditions well managed by all boats of both divisions – Jimmy mentioned the incessant spray coming over AOE which it can be assumed did not do his mascara any good, or the Brylcreem, or both. The day was topped off with the sublime club dinner hosted by SF – hope someone got a photo of Pat scooping out the ice cream so adroitly……..next race is Spring Series Race 4 which means we are into the second half of this series.