We had a big week, relocating AOE into Looking Glass Bay after having the same mooring in Abbotsford bay for 35 years. A new boat bag was lovingly put in place and the rig endured a major retuning. The boat was re rigged at the end of last season and our sailing was not at our best on our last outing. So either the setup was wrong, or crew was going senile. Thankfully for me we found issues with the rig, with everything set correctly we are now ready to rumble.
Floating out of Looking Glass Bay we see the big guns assembling ready for the start, to blow us out of the water, there is Black Velvet, LOEG, Next Light, and Still Festering, and us in the little AOE. The Southerly was shifting to a South Eastley breeze, and the AOE does not do well against these big boys with their genoas on the reaches in to Hen and Chicken Bay.
The Red flag and white cross goes up and it is going to be another hard day in the office to keep up with the big boys today, LOEG put a new No 1 genoa on board this morning, so where is it, what went wrong? Still Festering is host to Skippers Pat’s 8 year old Grand Daughter Skye, and another new recruit, Paul Fowler is on board LOEG filling in for Bam.
We started in a soft 6-7 knots SE breeze and head to Abbotsford bay, LOEG got a great start along on the Sydney rowers side whilst we were in our own air out wider and Still Festering steams up outside us. LOEG cross in front of us and we tack on their stern. As we tack again off Abbotsford Point they have to duck behind us, whilst Still Festering is charging down the middle of the river. It doesn't take long before these bullies leave us to play by ourselves. Mark 5 is rounded by LOEG, Still Festering and us now on their tuck.
We have our new forward hand Stephen with us again today, so we will see how we go setting up big Blue. He is a genius and we are up and sailing to Mark 1, finding ourselves on the tuck of LOEG, who’s kite work needs some help. These days they have a crew average age of 70 plus so they are doing all right! Just a thought from the author though, adding a "Senile" in front of LOEG might be more appropriate. Somehow SLOEG seems lots more appropriate! :)
Black Velvet and Next Light are on the chase. The spinnaker on the big boat have them in front rounding mark one as we head to 4 deep in Hen and Chicken Bay.
Doing well to keep in touch on the work back to Cabarita Point, we set up for the 3/4 into the bay. Breeze changes see us tacking to the mark not far behind the big boys.
Black Velvet comes to join us but no Next Light. The breeze is changing and my mate holding the tiller shouts and demands that we get the jib up and the kite back down as we race past Cabarita point, now chasing the big boys again.
The race is back to 4 up to 1, back to 5 and finish, Still Festering gets home 30 seconds ahead of SLOEG, followed 3.30 later by AOE with Black Velvet bring up the rear.
It was a great sail enjoyed by all, Next Light had to leave the race early, let's hope the Next Light team are are on the water again next week.
A o E Scribe