The five minute gun sounded and everyone started jockeying for position, the rowing club end looked to be the place to be. A bold move to charge into the favoured end on port saw Xena and Axis get nice and close, with nifty boat work by Axis to ensure a clean start. In the first 100m we were fine tuning the boat when 'bang', our makeshift outhaul arrangement let go. We were not too worried by this, second guessing what the noise was. However, the dinner plate sized eyes on LOEG that spun around to see what had happened to us to windward suggested they were not so comfortable hearing the same noise. Maybe they thought they were going to receive another rig in their boat..... We got that sorted and settled into race mode. The peace and harmony was disturbed at Searles when a party boat chose to chug along in the middle of the river at exactly the same speed as us. Their skipper seemed blissfully unaware of our presence, choosing to neither speed up nor slow down to facilitate an easier passage for us. So, with about 10 times as many tacks as we should have had, we finally cleared the blue buoy at Drummoyne to leave the party boat behind.
The breeze was freshening, making a little more work for the sheethand than expected. A couple of fresh gusts gave us something to think about before finally rounding Goat Island. Having watched the Greenwich fleet have some excitement running back to Long Nose Point from their Goat Island mark, we set up but did not launch big bluey until clearing the point. A smooth run down the Balmain shore had to come to an end at Snapper Island, where we had a lovely drop and fast reach along the Drummoyne shore. Once again back at the blue buoy, it was time to hoist again. Another lovely run along to Searles before needing to sharpen up to clear Abbotsford point, then ease again to pass the club. It got a bit tricky at Cabarita so we decided that was it, the drop adjacent to the red channel marker made the skippers heart skip a beat or two... No harm done and we made a clean rounding of #1.
The breeze was perfect for the work back to Abbotsford point, one big long tack. We saw the LOEG at Cabarita and exchanged pleasantries, the first time we had seen them today with normal sized eyeballs. The barrel chested men of Axis weren't far behind, even with Big Barry missing they were battling on. Around #5 and although big blue was on the deck ready for launch, she stayed in the bag for the final reach up to #1. The number 1 headsail chosen for the day came into its own on that final reach, and we rounded #1 again without issue and had another nice work back to the club to take the finish hooter for line honours. The finishing order over the line (SF, LOEG, AOE) was replicated in the handicap results.
Well done to the starters of the day, Peter and Carmel, great decisions all round ensured we had a great day on the water. Also, a special shout out to Sandy and the crew on Windfalls. Sandy fine tuned his skills as a tourist guide, showing the spectacular sights of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge to his special guest on board before resuming the course around Cockatoo Island. Well Done!