It’s taken a few weeks to shake off the rust, however the QLD 12’s are definitely starting to find their feet..!! Nobody knew what was going to happen weather wise this week with some forecasts saying sub 5kts and others saying 20kts..!! When we got to the rigging lawn smiles spread across the faces of all skiffies.. (Except BMad because he was on rescue driver duty) A delightful 15kts from the South East with a few gusts getting up to 20kts.. 3rd rig..!!
The Wingman decided to make a few last minute alterations by adding some more non-skid to those hard to reach places.. You know the ones you only stand on when it’s blowing snot and you’re trying to grip on with your toe nails.. Fruities were also added just in case the wind vs tide scenario threw some famous Moreton Bay ramps our way.. (Here’s hoping..!!)
We were all pretty excited to get out there, so much so that we hit the water early.. (For those who know the QLD 12’s, this never happens.. EVER..!!)
On board the Wingman it was our first real sail of the season and it showed.. We showered the bottom of the boat with rust when we started, but after 20mins of tacking practice and a sensational 20kt send, things started to gel a little.. GAME ON..!!
The gun went and unfortunately only one boat crossed the line on time.. Tankers came in hot and crossed the line first.. Wingman was a boat length back with Havoc and Ghetto fiddle farting around behind.. I believe there was a last minute crash tack on Ghetto which put them behind the 8 ball from the get go..
The first work saw Tank-ass go left and Wingman right (to try and get out of the chop).. Tankers came out on top and rounded in 1st.. followed by The Wingman and Havoc, then Ghetto (closer than the shave Benny so desperately needs).. The run was somewhat shorter than expected with B-Mads GPS prowess, or lack thereof, resulting in a “sprint” course.. It was a case of get the kite up, send it for 10 seconds then gybe and hope you make the gate.. Tankers did a good job and The Wingman followed.. Josh lost control through the gybe and was the first watery casualty for the race. We came charging down to the gate in a mega puff and were lucky the boat was so far out of the water otherwise the c’board would have caught the start boat anchor line..!!
Another gybe and within seconds we found ourselves at the bottom mark..!! The Wingman felt the pressure and put it in the piss on the final gybe drop allowing Ghetto to slip through easier than a greased up Scotsman..
The next work saw the top 3 skiffs headed straight for the corner with no real time gains.. That was until Ghetto did their all too familiar splash tack and allowed The Wingman to catch up a bit.. Tank Girl was now well out in front with a smoking 20kt breeze.. Around the top mark for the second time and they were looking slick..!! That was until they got a little too close and personal with the gate.. For those who haven’t yet seen the footage, Tank girl managed to gybe on the gate mark.. I mean that as literally as it can be.. The buoy got caught between the forestay and the mast..!!VIDEO HERE This allowed Ghetto and Wingman to slide up the inside.. (sorry no fun pun for this one) Ghetto rounded the bottom for the last time with a nice little gap with The Wingman and Tankers battling it out behind.. I’ll blow my own trumpet now, because it was the one and only time all day we did something remarkable.. After rounding the bottom mark together The Wingman opened the after burners and smoked Tankers from underneath.. I’m sure it was as pleasurable for them as it was for us..
Around the top for the final time and Ghetto Sled set and sent it to the finish for their first “Bradbury” win of the season..
The Wingman were second with Tank Girl third.
The second race followed shortly after the first with Tank Girl once again winning the start (although they must have been pretty damn close to the line……..) Ghetto, Tankers and Havoc headed left with The Wingman once again trying the right.. Unfortunately with two of the worst tacks ever seen on a 12ft skiff (without actually capsizing) We were well behind the fleet by the top mark.. Tankers rounded first again with Ghetto hot on their heels.. Havoc were looking good too until they snapped their jib sheet.. The Wingman watched the two leaders absolutely hammering after setting the kites.. The ramps were epic and the air time was huge..!! If there were any cobwebs still lingering at that stage they would have been well and truly blown out..
The ride to the bottom was much better this time as BMad worked out that there is a difference between a 6 and an 8 on the GPS and the course was that little bit longer..
Ghetto and Tankers battled hard with the Wingman falling further behind after an attempted auto pilot error.. (The kite sheet wrapped around the tiller extension and during the gybe when the kite filled, the tiller did too..)
Ghetto managed to pass Tank Girl at the final bottom mark and from where I stood (further back than fullback) they were able to successfully fend the tankers off all the way to the finish..
When returning to the beach it was a case of thank f*ck for trolley wheels because every crew member was completely exhausted.. We used our last remaining strength to lift the rum cans to our mouths and talk about the crazy rides for the rest of the afternoon..
It’s great to be back and racing.. A cracking 3rd rig day was exactly what the doctor ordered..!!
Until next week when we do it all again,
Send it, don’t bend it..!!