Abbottsford 7th Feb.
The skiffs arrive to a glassy river: looks to be no racing today. Forecast light Big rig not looking to eventuate, with even Adrienne Cahalan and her forecasting expertise was not optimistic for the day.
But the breeze filled slowly from the east, precipitating the skiffs into rigging for the scheduled 2 short races, east north-east breeze with a strong run-out tide.
Heat 1, short start-line, hotly contested, saw a few of the eager, including Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses shut out at the boat-end.
Garde away the best, closely followed by Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant and Lincoln Crowne and Company, working out of Dobroyd Bay into the tide run of the river, tacking down-river seeking pressure-lines in the breeze. The strong tide caused all the skiffs to overlay the top mark in Bedlam Bay, with Garde rounding first, the breeze swinging into the south requiring a gybe-set around the mark. They were followed closely by Lincoln Crowne and Company, who unfortunately caught the line from the mark around their centre-board in the rounding, towing the mark away from the 3rd placed Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant, with LCC cheekily taking their penalty turn at the end of the run. Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses were 4th around, closely followed by Stay Connected Electrical, then Chapman High Performance Sailing.
Down the run all the skiffs looking for advantaged breeze to get deep to the bottom mark in France Bay. In the tight-running to the mark, a small pressure increase saw Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses put the nose down slightly, followed by a lightning fast capsize in the nosedive that ensued.
LCC dropped to 6th at the bottom mark while taking their penalty turn, with Garde leading up the work, just in front of Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant, with Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses rumbling to recover lost ground.
This was the order for the next rounding, with Lincoln Crowne and Company back up to 4th. This mark-rounding was again a gybe-set to position the boats for the run into France Bay. This order held for the remainder of the race, with Garde 1st in a ‘photo finish ahead of Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant, and Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses getting a final north shift 50m from the finish to shake off Lincoln Crowne and Company to take 3rd, with Stay Connected 5th and Chapman High Performance Sailing 6th.
Heat 2, all skiffs bunched at the boat end again, this time Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant got the best of the start, just ahead of Garde, with Lincoln Crowne and Company and Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses right there.
Again the fleet making short tacks in the tide, looking for now stronger shifts out of the north, Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant cleared out, with Garde, Lincoln Crowne and Company and Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses all crossing tacks for next placing. All 3 overlapped at the Bedlam Bay top-mark, Garde was second around, then Lincoln Crowne and Company and then Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses. Again a gybe-set for all, lining up for the breeze into the ferry stop at Abbotsford Point. Pressure lines down the run saw the front 2 and Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses extend slightly from the fleet, with Garde working back into the race from the first-work hold-up. At the bottom mark, back on the breeze, the fleet very tightly bunched, with Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant just ahead of the next 4.
This remained the pattern until the final top-mark rounding, where Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses rounded in 3rd and set the spinnaker in the gust-of-the-day, that rocketed them past Garde into second place.
Around the bottom mark for the last time, Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses tacked east into Abbottsford Point, getting better breeze than Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant moving into first. Desperate short-tacking in the final 100m saw Bigfoot Custom Trapeze Harnesses hang on for the win and Garde pass Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant to take second, with Lincoln Crowne and Company 4th.