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79 Bay St
Double Bay, NSW, 2028
Australia

The finest Laser sailing club in the world, located in Double Bay on Sydney Harbour.

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Big Boat Report

Jonathan Stone

The wind gods kept their promise, and this race was sailed in ideal conditions - warm, sunny, a 10-15knot sea-breeze. It was a little more variable in pace and direction than some sea-breezes but - really - ideal.

Alas, after successive postponements of this race, caused by extreme weather the previous two Sundays, only three boats were there to take advantage. Still, Team DBSC swung into action for the start. Gerry (Umbakumba) gave us a timed start, from the Jazzman; it was the first time we had been started from the Arvor 21, and it was great. John Vasey, from the RIB Paul Adam, laid a brand new buoy at Point Piper. This was great service - thank you both.

The start wasn’t our greatest; only T&T was on time; Corinna was held up with a rigging problem, and was 2 minutes late to the start; and Smitten - was just late. On T&T, with a full crew, we were working smoothly through the fresh conditions; only a few errors. The Harbour was empty for a high summer’s day, and we had a good lead.

Still, Corinna is fast upwind, and closing the gap is something her skipper enjoys; it’s instinctive in a veteran racer. T&T was still well ahead at the Point Piper mark, again at the Taylors Bay mark; but as we approached the top mark - all three of these legs were upwind - we had choices to make. A huge tanker moored in the East Channel, and a series of ferries forced T&T to the right hand side of the course; we tacked for the top mark near Neilsen Park. Corinna was forced to the left side of the course, and tacked back somewhere off Clontarf. As we crossed, Corinna passed just behind our transom; he had made up those 2 minutes.  We had a few more tacks to do before reaching the mark and Sown’n Pigs, and we traded gains and losses as we crossed and recrossed. Impressively - Corinna rounded the mark just ahead; he had caught us.

But T&T is often the faster boat downwind; we quickly poled the jib to port and surfed, goose-winged, downhill to Shark island, reaching it 100m ahead of Corinna. Smitten sail well upwind and down but, though she is bigger and intrinsically faster, she is also heavier, and needs careful management and a clean hull to keep her moving against the Endeavour 24 and Hood 23. She had kept up with Corinna to Point Piper, but by Shark Island she was cruising well but out of contention.

On the last leg, a reach from Shark Island to Clark Island, Corinna again made time, but could only halve the gap to Time & Tide.

Across the line:

  • Time & Tide
  • Corinna
  • Smitten

We pulled down our headsails, sailed to our moorings with the wind in our mainsails, derigged and repaired to the Clubhouse to rehydrate, now following the 18s, who were racing in these very fresh conditions. The radio told us that on one the centreboard had snapped; she wobbled back downwind, with only her jib up. Another was against Clarke Island after losing her tiller pin. John V in the Paul Adam was attending. In the Clubhouse the radio crackled, binoculars were trained on the Harbour. The 18s were flying.

Another great afternoon’s sailing.

Big boaters - we sail again (after the postponements) in just weeks - on February 4