Nick Press and Andrew Stevenson on Sydney Sailmakers are the new State Champions. The pair finished 2nd in yesterdays heat 5, and when heat 6 was abandoned it meant they had done enough to take out the title.
Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th December 2014
Forecast borderline 2nd and big rig, breeze variable so doubts in the fleet, eventually all rigging for a big-rig Easterly, run-out tide.
Start off Clarkes Point, everyone bunched for boat-end start, the requisite few cowboys barging in from wide: Maersk Line and Madonna causing some mayhem as they extended their rights. Sydney Sailmakers buried, tacked onto port from row 2, into the ebb-tide, along with The Bird and Hey Charger, while Lincoln Crowne and Company, Garde, Skoll and others went into the North.
Working the shifty breeze up to the Manns Point Mark, with lots of crossing-tacks as the bunched fleet sorted their positions. Sydney Sailmakers and Garde already establishing a tidy lead at the first mark rounding, followed by The Bird, Lincoln Crowne, with Bigfoot trapeze Harnesses, Hey Charger on their transoms.
Long run down to Drummoyne, looking for slants of pressure, gybing to stay in the lanes, the order unchanging with the 2 leaders extending further.
Working back up from Drummoyne, tense tussell between Lincoln Crowne and Company, Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses, Skoll and The Bird for 3rd place, this order around Manns Point for the short-leg to the Valentia Street gybe mark, where the skiffs had to drop the spinnakers for the short reach over Clarkes Point then re-hoist for the run to Snappper Island.
Last work back to Manns Point, The 2 leaders well clear of the fleet, with a good gap between Sydney Sailmakers first and Garde in second, rounding Manns Point and a 2-sail reach to the gybe mark at Birchgrove, where they set spinnakers for the run into the Lane Cove River to the finish at the club.
Lincoln Crowne lead the followers, then Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses, The Bird and then Skoll, with Skoll passing The Bird in Humbug.
In the river, 300m form the finish Lincoln Crowne had a comfortable lead over Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses: the latter picked up a pressure shift and moved into 3rd, leaving LCC in their wake, and initiating a gybing duel between the two all down the river to the finish, with LCC getting in front right on the line to take 3rd by 1 second.
Skoll in 4th, then The Bird, then Hey Charger.
Sunday, heats 5 and 6, very shifty East big-rig forecast, shifting around between South-east and East, showing North-east on the flags on the Harbour Bridge, tide running out all day.
Start off Clarkes Point, start delayed 40 minutes with rain-squalls and 90 degree windshifts.
Eventually away, again bunching at the start boat, Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses getting the best of the start, tacking onto port and leading up the middle, followed by Garde to the north, with Sydney Sailmakers again happy to tack onto port from the boat. The rest of the fleet in a mess on the biased line, all wanting to get into the stream, but buried under starboard tackers.
At Manns Point it was Sydney Sailmakers around first, followed by Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses then Garde then Lincoln Crowne and Company then The Bird.
Sort leg down to the Valentia Street gybe mark, Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses getting low-pressure on the run, allowing Lincoln Crowne and Company to gybe inside at the mark into 3rd, extending slightly on the run to Drummoyne, followed by Skoll and www.skiff.org.au
Patchy and fluky on the work back to Manns Point, saw Garde pull in Sydney Sailmakers near the mark, with Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses getting ahead of Lincoln Crowne and Company.
From Manns Point the run to the finish off Clarkes Point saw Garde find a pressure line to get through Sydney Sailmakers to take first, with Lincoln Crowne and Company getting no pressure, loosing both 3rd place to Bigfoot Trapeze Harnesses and then being passed for 4th on the finish by www.skiff.org.au, with Skoll 6th.
With Garde winning this heat, there was now the potential for a series tied on points if they could win the last heat: this result would give Garde the regatta for winning the last heat, so it was all to play for in the final race.
The last heat was eventually cancelled and the boats sent home as the weather was deteriorating and thunder storm cells were again threatening, giving the regatta to Sydney Sailmakers.