Despite the incoming tide, we managed a couple of very long tacks. One from Abbotsford Bay down to Huntley Point where we almost caught up with RAB and FAR, and then again from Woolwich Point to Birchgrove where this time with a favorable wind shift we did catch up with RAB and FAR.
It looked like a trifecta around Fort Denison! Sadly not to be – hubris is deadly. In the space of several score meters nearby Goat Island, we sailed into a dead zone and FAR and RAB sailed away from us – f-a-r away from us. Undaunted, the crew saw us through the washing machine that is the Harbour Bridge and dodged pleasure craft, party boats, and all but one ferry between Circular Quay and Farm Cove.
Approaching Fort Denison, we spy RAB on our port side, setting up spinnaker and making for home. We are seven minutes behind her and four minutes behind FAR. Around the Fort, a quick set of our spinnaker and we are chasing them both. The wind has turned more to the south-east and we are flying very shy but at 5.5 knots who cares?
By Cockatoo Island we have run down FAR. We trail her all the way to Drummoyne bridge where we make the crucial decision to maintain our spinnaker while FAR drops theirs. RAB are at Huntley Point and they look to have dropped their spinnaker as well.
We overtake FAR and head for RAB. Passing Wallumatta Bay, we are catapulted upriver by the stream of wind out of Fivedock Bay, we call “Old Faithful”. We are now looking for RAB who, with spinnaker flying, are leaving behind the last of the channel markers at Henley.
But that is how we finish. RAB take line honours, AFB cross second, and FAR third mere seconds behind. AFB taking the race on handicap. My thanks to the AFB crew for their diligent efforts and hunger for the win with a special mention to Noel for his brilliant setting, adjusting and finessing of the spinnaker. Game winning stuff.
(The occasional skipper)