The day started with very high humidity, a reading of 92% to be precise. We were able to read this before the race on the newly installed weather station base unit inside the doors out to the deck. 92% translates into 'dripping wet' when even thinking about physical activity.
The forecast was for 10-15 knots from the NorEast, but as we got closer to start time there was absolutely no wind, not even enough to make the wind speed indicator turn (on our new weather station). Thanks to Peter and Carmel for investigating weather station options and installing this unit during the week.
Anne had the most difficult job of the day, needing to decide if to postpone the race, and if so, which course to send us on. Would we make it back from all the way down the harbour with the tide against us both ways? Could this be the first abandoned race in quite some time? Anne held her nerve and (patience) while out on the water some boats were engaging in some child-like behaviour involving water pistols.....Still Festering taking the lead in such activity, of course!
Finally the postponed race flag came down and the course #7 flag was hoisted and we were started as one fleet.Today the fleet comprised of Div 1 boats (SF, AOE, LOEG, RGT) and Div 3 boats (FGO, XWP, AFB, MPS). After a snappy start, Still Festering ran into some technical issues at Abbotsford Point, and paused for quick repairs while the rest of Div 1 worked on up towards Searles. Eventually the issues were resolved and SF took off in hot pursuit of Div 1. The chase was on. The skipper clearly had intent to catch the fleet and pushed the crew hard to make up for lost time. No whips or chains were used, just a gentle word of 'nice tack boys' and we seemed to be catching them bit by bit. It was great to see the tacking duels in front of us involving three of the four tall ships.
At Goat Island it seemed that LOEG had threaded the needle perfectly between the red shipping marker and the island, but alas, they [a] continued on to see some friends at Barangaroo] or [b] ignored Anne's fine work of choosing a shorter islands course for us] and didn't realise their mistake until the other three boats of Div 1 had slipped though.
The quick hoist of big blue started what would become a 3 beer run back to Mark #1. This fact was also confirmed by LOEG. Gybe gybe gybe, all the way back up the river to our home waters. A check of the course sheet meant there was to be one more run of big blue past the clubhouse before the after race nibbles could be consumed. RGT and AOE were never far apart with their kites hoisted, making for a great spectacle on the river. The finish order was SF, LOEG, AOE, RGT, with the handicap honours going to SF, followed by RGT, LOEG and AOE.
Again, I'd like to offer my thanks to the volunteer starters and assistant starters that make our races happen, to the RSA trained people that man the bar, to the maintenance and bin management work that goes on behind the scenes. Thank you for your efforts, they do not go unnoticed.