A hot and unsettled westerly breeze greeted the fleet, with the forecast being souwest and slowly swinging to norwest through the afternoon at 10-15 knots before the southerly change coming a bit before midnight. The high tide 11.30am was a true king, and the 3 works up to Morrisons were significantly affected by the ensuing rush-out.
There were more flags on the clubhouse deck than the Britannia on season opening day, and we were in for a combined division scratch start. The Commodore and cohorts on Still Festering (SF) advised all it was to be a gate start with them running the show, also the sound signals. This didn’t quite work as SF got too far down line and down tide with just mainsail set, and at the designated start time the gate was obviously not going to happen so Axis of Evil (AOE) nonchalantly sheeted on and took off in a King Canute effort, followed by Resurgent (RSGT) bemused by the unfolding saga and not wanting to lose contact with AOE, and Farrago from Div 3 who held on doggedly up that first work. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LOEG) lagged, probably vainly trying to do the right thing with the gate, along with Div3 boats Xena WP and Memphis. SF unfurled the genoa and lumbered up to join the flotilla.
RSGT got to the lead half way to Morrisons but AOE pointing the other side of the wind and also jagging a good lift off Breakfast Pt rounded in front, with SF 3rd and then LOEG. Down to Abbottsford with kites went smoothly with no place changes and it was back to Morrisons with the breeze patchy, swinging, and dying, and in an eventful leg SF footed through to lead, RSGT momentarily passed AOE off Cabarita, changed up to the masthead asymm kite on the way up but lost AOE again and let LOEG through, the latter courtesy of a clumsy windward crossing effort by RSGT (apologies Brian) and it was 360 time. Off to Hen and Chicken and wineglass and wrap issues left RSGT’s kite resembling barley sugar and SF and AOE sailed right way in top gear. RSGT gained on LOEG into and out of H+C and with good fetching speed closed right up at Cabarita.
To Morrisons and the Breakfast Pt shore was again favoured, with the smelly breeze dying more and the tide being a right pest. Positions remained but the fleet had closed up a tad, and we sailed down past Cabarita to Abbotsford for the last time, closing up again as we brought the breeze up on AOE and LOEG who had gone through. Just as we planned a nice sleigh ride down with a bear away sou’wester out of Frances Bay expected, a bullet over the top of Cabarita hit us and we had to drop the masthead kite and 2 sail reach. SF marched on imperiously to finish around 7 minutes to LOEG, AOE and RSGT each about 2 minutes apart. Hcap positions were RSGT, AOE, SF, LOEG. SF won the best dressed award, second XWP.
So ends a great half season, and everyone is looking forward to the next half with more stable breezes out of the easterly compass half.
All the best for the festive season to all.