The Big Boats raced on Fathers Day. The perfect gift for any dad....3 Sunday hours on Sydney Harbour without the kids.
The afternoon was cloudy, warm and very still as we rigged. Five boats presented, and John V was there to give us a start. We were all out in good time for a 1.00pmgun.
But patience was our trial. The promised easterly did appear about 1.00pm; but it was 1 knot instead of the promised 10. We delayed and postponed, and eventually John began the timing sequence at 1.20pm.
Even so, the first leg was little more than a drift; we all had to concentrate to keep moving. Umbakumba won the start, from Corinna and Time & Tide and Chenonceau. Graham waited another 20 minutes before setting Blue Moon to chase us down.
To Point Piper we looked for wind left and right; Corinna did best with a late tack into Point Piper, which sometimes channels an easterly around its bluff. The tactic worked and Corinna rounded the mark comfortably in the lead, with Umbakumba next.
The leg to Taylor’s Bay was a close reach; the wind dropped out and came back; one boat surged and then another. All very slowly; with no change in places -Corinna, Umbakumba, T&T, Chenonceau, Blue Moon.
The work to Sow’n Pigs was the longest leg and slowest; we all tacked east hoping for more wind in the middle of the Harbour, but it stayed north-west and very light. The top mark seemed a loooong way away. Umbakumba was consistently the fastest at these very low speeds and she slid past Corinna; on T&T we struggled to make sense of the conditions, and fell 200 m back, and Blue Moon, a beautiful North Shore 38, came past us.
I considered shortening the course but, while I was considering that, the wind veered east and fleet’s patience was rewarded with a stiff little nor-easter, which came through soon after 3.00pm and lasted the rest of the afternoon. T&T was still in Watson’s Bay with the top mark hundreds of metres away; but the wind heeled us over, our boats responded and we streamed around the Sow’n Pigs mark and scrambled to set our kites. Corinna hunted Umbakumba, pressuring her to make an error; both flew kites to Shark Island and then, after a gybe, all the way home. Blue Moon chased them goose winged. On T&T we were too far back, but we held our kite all the way home and at least lost no further ground.
For the record, Umbakumba did not make that error and held a close lead to the end, Blue Moon could not close the gap and on Time & Tide we enjoyed the long run under our yellow and black spinnaker
We finished a little before 4.00pm (usually we are done by 2.30pm), as follows:
Umbakumba (well done Gerry and Mike)
Time & Tide
A testing race and, once the wind came in, a fun race