Six boats presented on a sparkling afternoon. A 5-12 knot east-sou-easterly, with a forecast to double in velocity during the afternoon.
The start (thank you John V!) was clear, but the starboard end was heavily favoured and the skippers were in a competitive mood. One boat (T&T) was forced off the starboard end, and had to tack and gybe around quickly, to stay in touch with the rear of the fleet.
Echoes (an Austral Clubman 30 racer; skipper Graham) showed the speed and good sailing we remembered from earlier seasons, and led the whole race, without bothering with a spinnaker. Chenonceau (Stephen) and Rockhopper (Mike) are cruising Beneteau 30-odds, and have to be sailed well to go well in light conditions. Both went well and finished second and third, also without kites.
Of the smaller boats, Corinna (Endeavour 24, Chris) won the start and, with most of the fleet, was able to reach the Point Piper mark without tacking.
On the leg to Taylor’s Bay, all three smaller boats set spinnakers, hoping to mix it with the cruisers. T&T (Hood 23) did well on this leg, moving past Umbakumba (a Sonata 26, Gerry) and Rockhopper. Our kite set well, and came down well, but we needed more hands to tidy up than we had; short-handed kite-flying is a challenge. Chris managed his solo, keeping us humble on this point.
The east-sou-easterly meant that the legs to Sow’n Pigs and then to Shark Island were both very shy reaches. We all had to handle wind shifts and lulls, and the wind came over the South Head peninsula. It was fun sailing, but not rich with tactical possibilities. The predicted build of the wind did not eventuate, leaving boats who had put up their #2 headsails in anticipation, a bit stranded.
The last leg was a run, but only Umbakumba (with 3 crew on board) set a kite. Rockhopper, which had passed T&T on the was to Sow’n Pigs, cruised past Corinna close to the finish.
A great afternoon; good racing with competitive boats and our best fleet for a while
Across the line:
Time after first boat (min) (thanks to Peter for the times)
Corinna 6.2 (so 12secs behind Rockhopper)
Time & Tide 8.5
We race again on February 1; that’s just 2 weeks away.
Hope to see everyone then