Jonathan's report for 12 March, (and I apologise for being a week late in relaying the report)....
Seven boats presented on a sunny autumn afternoon, with a nor-easter at 15 knots and building, reaching 20knots before we finished.
T&T sailed the line for the ‘gate’ start. Corinna took off quickly, followed by Umbakumba, Chenonceau, then G-Force, Smitten and Chloe. Corinna managed the blowy conditions across Double Bay best and was the first to tack out into the Harbour and tack again for the first mark, at Point Piper. G-Force showed speed to sail through the fleet and turn second.
It was a shy reach to Taylor’s Bay, and G-Force steamed into the lead, turning first, with a clear lead. The next lega long work to Sow’n Pigs. G-Force consolidated her lead, Corinna - a smaller boat - work hard to hang on on, then T&T and Umbakumba all crossed the harbour, looking for an easterly shift. The big mover on this leg was Chenonceau, looking balanced and fast in the heavy winds and she reached Sow’n Pigs in third place, and in a position to challenge for second.
On T&T, we used our small size to slide quickly around the top mark, and then pole our jib, reclaiming third place for the long run to Shark Island. We sailed low, dropped our pole off the northern tip of the Island. That allowed use to reach to mark - we had held this place. G-Force and Corinna clear ahead; the gybe was smooth, so we settled down to battle with Chenonceau, who was holding onto the strong breeze and moving fact.
In a nor-easter there is always a lee south of Shark Island and skippers have a choice - to take the short way home, stay close to the Island and hope the wind fills in, or to go low, hoping the better wind will make up for the greater distance.
And sometimes, it’s unevenness of the wind or the size of the boat or the choice of sail …… In the event Chenonceau sailed over us, and we could not defend.
A thorough enjoyable race. Across the line:
Time & Tide
These autumn afternoons are special - we have just three in our season. This one was sunny and warm, without being hot. The Harbour was busy, the nor-easterly a sailor’s wind.
Crews from several of the boats relaxed on the Club deck for half and hour, rehydrating, exchanging stories
We race again on Sunday April 2