We know that this weeks race is going to be tough without our lynch pin, the barrel chested Jim. Great news however arrives during the week when the skipper calls to say that Jamesy, the legendary one, (AKA Mr Wonderful), would grace us with his presence for this race at the mere cost of a few beers with rum chasers. What a bargain to obtain the services of one of the rivers legendary sailors, second only to the great Willo and Sumo, who naturally tie for first place!
As we settle the boat down in pre race shake down mode, we have a good feeling about the breeze, there will be plenty of tacks today this may sort out the men from the boys and girls.
Once Division 3 head off all is comfortable on AOE. The jib is hoisted and all sails are trimmed and balanced. Forestay rake is adjusted along with stay tension, Jamesy is particular about tightening the rig, as we count down the last seconds of the start speed asks are we early, no we are spot on and leave the competitors in our wake.
The easterly is great and is building, it is about 10m knots and consistent, we decide to take every lift we are offered, throw the boat around quite a bit. We approach Searl's with a commanding lead. Still Festering is challenging, but why have LOEG and Resurgent not responded to the challenge today.
With Mr Wonderful up front, assisting with trimming and calling tacks our lead continues, once we pass Pullput Point and long works are allowed the big boats with big masts start to attack us. Still Festering takes us at lane Cove river.
So we start to wonder when will we fall to LOEG, Resurgent and Patto. With constant sail trimming we stay with Still Festering all the way to Clark Island.
Once we round the Island the lads on the little boat host Big Blue and chase Still Festering home, our problem is the bigger longer boat are only a few minutes behind will we hold them off?
Mr Wonderful says "no worries, all it will take is more hard work", so open the esky we do and have a relaxing beer. Sailing with such an experienced forward hand allows us to gain years of experience in this race, all will hold us in good stead for future races. We have no one to race but our selves, as Still festering is off in the distance in front, and LOEG, Resurgent and Patto are all behind us. Today LOEG Is skippered by the broad shouldered BAM, who continues to close the gap we approach Searl's and see a white spinnaker rounding Wrights Point, another glance we see Resurgent not far behind.
Rounding Abbotsford Point we hope Brad on Zina Warrior Princess took a couple of good photos of us flying Big blue as we pass them at goat island, speed holds the boat steady and a gybe is not necessary for us to cross the line behind Still Festering, but in front of the rest of division 1.
Many thanks to Mr Wonderful, and great skippering Speed, today hard work paid dividends to the Barrel Chested Men Of AOE.