Port Jackson Championship, Sunday 2nd March , Woollahra.
A rainy, grey and windless day greeted the fleet as they prepared for the regatta onshore.
The race committee called for a postponement onshore as there was no breeze on the course.
The rain came in from the South-east, and with it the forecast 10 knot southeaster. The committee called for a start, and all left the beach out to the start-boat.
The wind had shifted South-east from earlier, presenting a slightly starboard-tack bias out of the start.
Gemmell Sails (Murray Press & Scott Lanham) Lincoln Crowne & Company (Jonathan Temple & Richard Jones) and Garde (Brett Hobson & Brad Philips) all at the boat end away at the front of the fleet, in that order, with Variety (Adam Forbes & Tim Baroughclough), Arrogant Frog (Peter & Steve Hill) & Vantage Real Estate (Jack Winning & Brett Philips) up in the front. Gemmell Sails lead LCC then Variety, Arrogant Frog & Garde around the Rose Bay mark for the run to Chowder Bay. Garde gybed toward Shark Isand earlier, looking for left hand pressure, with a good gap to 4th place, with these 3 taking the easing pressure toward the west shore.
The rest of the fleet went all the way to Steel Point in new pressure from the east, and looked to have the front-runners on the ropes, until 3/4 of the way to the west the east went soft, & Garde got the new south pressure 1st, going right around LCC.
Gemmell Sails had a tidy gap at Chowder Bay, then Garde then LCC, with The Bird (David Lusty & Glen Farquhar) & Vantage Real Estate & Variety coming in with the breeze.
The work to Shark Island rounding mark saw all the boats head for Steel Point, then around Shark Island for the run to Taylor Bay, with Garde rolling over Gemmell Sails to hit the, and LCC still 3rd.
Another South shift on this run kept the front 3 with a gap to the rest of the fleet, to round Taylor Bay in the same order. On this work to Rose Bay, Gemmell Sails split South, Garde & LCC going east. The wind came in very fresh on this work, well out of the range of the big-rig. Gemmell Sails changed gears the best, with fantastic speed through the fresh, gapping both Garde & LCC.
The breeze softened at the top of the work, and fickle shifts up here saw Garde close with Gemmell Sails, to round for the run to Chowder neck & neck.
At Chowder Bay again, for the last work to Rose Bay, the breeze had gone very light and patchy, requiring tacking across the harbour seeking pressure lines.
Garde & Gemmell Sails, still neck & neck, with Gemmell Sails just to the front: Gemmell put multiple tacks onto Garde, to keep them tucked away & defuse the risk of Garde stretching their legs in the lighter breeze.
This saw Gemmell Sails round the last mark ahead by 50m, to lead Garde on the run to the finish. Lincoln Crowne came in for 3rd, with a group fighting for 4th to 6th. The Bird taking 4th, with Vantage Real Estate taking the pressure off them by picking such a low lay-line to the finish they capsized avoiding a boat. Variety, similarly low, were carted below the finish with their spinnaker and also capsized, allowing www.skiff.org.au (Ben Faulkner & Renn Holland) to pick up Variety’s & Vantage’s places to finish 5th. Handicap went to www.skiff.org.au