Saturday, Lane Cove, Handicap Start
Forecast fresh southerly has everyone very jittery while making the rig choice; however, commonsense prevailed & everyone rigged for the conditions present, not the forecast, so we all put on the second rigs.
Handicap start, Murray Press as guest skipper in Vantage Real Estate gifted with 1/2 of Vantage’s handicap, off with a 5 minute lead on scratch boat, so they were well into the race prospects.
All away in the very shifty east/south-east breeze, light in the river, fresher puffs in the Parramatta River. Lincoln Crowne & Company the only boat on scratch faced with a long chase to catch the rest of the fleet.
Course with 4 times to Goat Island & 3 times spinnaker run into Kerosene Bay. Lots of velocity shifts in the breeze, making some of these legs drifters, while some of the skiffs carted away on wild rides at a tangent to the mark.
LCC eventually joined this procession a whole 2 legs behind Vantage, having been caught getting out of the river. Vantage sailing well and chewing through the front markers. LCC slowly reeling the others in, but making no impression on Vantage. Last time from Goat Island, Vantage through to the lead, followed by Hey Charger, then Madonna, then Lincoln Crowne, and this was the order of the finish back in the river. A very testing day.
The previous days Southerly had decayed into a 17-20 knot South Easterly/South Westerly, with a host of starters, hoping for practice on the harbour in a 3rd rig breeze. This did not seem to be eventuating, with the fleet all opting to fit the 2nd rig.
The weather killed off the rumoured guest start of Vantage Real Estate, supposedly coming to defend the previous weeks win.
Drama on the way to the start, with Garde being rammed & holed by a club-boat from another class: this was their day over, and they limped back home, damaged a week before the Lincoln Crowne & Company State Titles – disappointing for them & fellow competitors.
The breeze firmed in just before the start, catching all away from the line somewhat. Gemmell Sails & Lincoln Crowne & Company recovered best, short-tacking back to the start line, with LCC 50m ahead at the crossing of the line, for the first long work through the twitchy breeze to the Rose bay top mark.
LCC around well ahead, for the run to Chowder Bay, with Gemmell Sails 200m back: however, 1/2 way down the run they decided they were doing the wrong course & dropped their spinnaker. By the time they determined to do the set course they were several minutes behind.
So the racing was very spread out, made eventful by the weather. A severe rain-squall with wind enveloped the race course on the next lap, with visibility reduced to under 50m in teeming rain, making it impossible to read the now quite fresh breeze. This passed, leaving the breeze to be up and down for the rest of the race. Gemmell Sails decided it was all too much on the next work and retired, leaving LCC ahead of www.skiff.org.au & Citadel as the only 3 boats to finish, with Variety having retired earlier due to rigging trouble.