It was a classic early autumn afternoon on the Harbour.
The 18s ‘world championships’, their JJ Giltinans, were on and I heard stories of their first race, the day before. There was also a Sydney Harbour regatta with multiple fleets, so many that start boat volunteers were having a hard time picking which was their pin. Protests were being prepared. And of course the DBSC BIG boats. The Clubhouse was crowded, Paul and his catering group were busy, busy. Small repairs were being done on the grass
It was sunny and autumn-warm. A classic Sydney sea breeze, nor-east, blew all weekend.
Corinna, G-Force, Sanity, Smitten, T&T all presented for the start; our line is fixed and in a nor-easterly we have to cross the line on port. That all happened with manoeuvrings and judgements; Corinna won the start, then T&T and G-Force, Sanity and Smitten.
T&T was late because - we were late; her skipper misjudged time by 15 seconds; Sanity because she had to give way to a starboard tack boat; Smitten, because she was late to the starting area and had only just unfurled her headsail!
So, Corinna led us on port tack across Double Bay, for our mark at Point Piper - faithfully laid by Peter Collie and Gerard Cafe, from an RIB (thank you)! Sanity is a beautiful boat, fast as a modern 34ft cruiser-racer should be, and her skipper has been winning trophies since the 1950s. She edged past Corinna on this leg, to lead us around the first mark, followed by Corinna, G-Force, T&T, Smitten. The leg to Taylors bay was a very close reach; some boats went a bit higher, some lower; the race was on for second place but places didn’t change.
The last upwind leg was again classic Harbour. Sanity went left, looking for a lift and breeze around Chowder Head. The rest of us went right, to the east side of the Harbour where there is hope of an easterly lift coming over a saddle in the Harbour’s South Head, into Watson’s Bay. We sailed hard through fleet after fleet to get to Watson’s Bay and still there were no place changes. Except that T&T briefly overtook G-Force and closed on Corinna, so that those three were all close at the top mark.
The leg to Shark Island was a square-to-broad reach, sometimes a dead run, as always. Sanity didn’t need to set a spinnaker to maintain her long lead; Corinna had to protect her second place and did need to set a spinnaker to be sure of it. G-Force took time to set hers and T&T came past her goose-winged. But once the spinnakers were set it became a contest between the two kited boats for second. The contest lasted through the gybe at Shark Island and was decided back in Double Bay where G-Force struggled with her kite. Corinna pulled away and, very close to the line, T&T slid through into third, profiting from G-Force’s misfortune.
Back at the Clubhouse we rehydrated and talked it all through, tidied up the last of the Clean-Up Australia jobs as the 18 footers came in. And all was done.
Across the line:
Time & Tide
We race next on April 7.