Five boats presented on a cool winter’s afternoon. We started in in a light southeasterly, with too much east in it for a spinnaker start (the wind had been westerly until just before the race and a spinnaker start would have been the way to go).
T&T won the start from Sanity, Chenonceau, Liaison and Corinna, who was uncharacteristically caught off guard. The leg to Point Piper was a reach just forward of square, and the elegant Sanity crept fastest, until she fell into a ‘hole’ off Point Piper. T&T and the rest of the fleet, seeing Sanity stalled, sailed lower, further from the Point and were rewarded with better winds. This closed the fleet up, but still Sanity turned first, with T&T second.
The leg to Taylor’s Bay was a square run; on T&T we flew our biggest spinnaker and were rewarded with a surge to the front of the fleet, turning first! It was a good moment. Boats 50% larger were behind us and chasing.
We tried keeping the spinnaker on the way to Sow’n Pigs, but that wasn’t going to get us there; we were too close to the wind. So we dragged the kite down, as Sanity set off for the bottom mark. The leg to Sow’n Pigs was another reach forward of square, and the fleet closed up, and the wind strengthened - though never above 12 knots.
At the Sow’n Pigs mark, we all had company - huge yachts on their race; to windward of us and therefore with no rights. But much bigger than T&T anyway; Liaison was particularly caught up for a few minutes. We all rounded safely, but there were yachts to the right us and yachts to the left and bedlam threatened briefly.
Still T&T was still second as we turned upwind for Shark Island; and the next decision - when to tack onto port - turned out to be critical. Sanity, Corinna, Liaison and Chenconceau all sailed left, towards the eastern shore (Watson’s Bay and Neilsen Park), tacking there. Where they enjoyed an enormous easterly shift. T&T tacked early and sailed right, towards Clontarf and Taylors Bay. The wind seemed fine, the sails trimmed well, the crew well in control. But, when we tacked to the left the other four had made hundreds of meters on us. We could just seem them in the distance.
They stormed home, Sanity three minutes to Corinna, then Liaison 20 seconds back, not much more to Chenonceau. T&T brought up the rear with as much dignity as we could muster. We actually made a bit of ground on the last leg - another reach (she is fast off the wind). But all had been lost on that long windward leg, when we tacked onto port towards - was it Clontarf?
We sat, after the race, in the sun on the deck, until the sun disappeared and the cool of the wind had us standing up and making our excuses to head home.
Overall a splendid race, with a number of boats having their moments at the front of the fleet.
Over the line:
Time and Tide
We sail next on August 5
Thanks to John Vasey for the start; much appreciated