Forecast light Big rig, day showed stifling hot and completely airless – looked like a bad day.
Then the wind readings at the airport showed a 20 knot aberration. The wind blew into Abbotsford, still under 10 knots on the harbour, leaving the fleet with a conundrum: all chose to go 2nd rig as a compromise.
The fleet launched into the building breeze, about to be given a masterclass in skiff-racing by the 2 front-runners.
Start in puffy South-easter in Bedlam Bay for a short work up under the Abbotsford scarp, with Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press & Andrew Stevenson), Garde (Brett Hobson & Brad Phillips) and Gemmell Sails (Murray Press & Scott Lanham) just ahead of Lincoln Crowne and Company (Jonathon Temple & Richard Jones) and then Skol (Peter Polec & Jamie McCrudden). Tight-bunched for the run through the twist in the river, back past the club to the bottom mark at Putney Punt. Breeze clearly much fresher than anticipated, all the skiffs well over-powered with their 2nd rigs on.
Garde lead around the bottom mark, then Sydney Sailmakers, with LCC 50m further back, Gemmell Sails having capsized toward the bottom of the run.
Garde and Sydney Sailmakers tussling all the way up the puffy, shifty work, extending on the following boats.
Top mark the second time, for a by-now very fresh 2nd sail run to the bottom mark, still Garde in the lead, Sydney Sailmakers ahead of Lincoln Crowne and Company, then Skol.
At the bottom mark, the lead two really cleared out on the fleet now, LCC capsized in the approach to the mark, allowing Skol through: Skol then capsized allowing LCC opportunity to catch, but Skol got going quicker.
Last run down, to the last bottom mark in Glades Bay, still tight between Garde ahead and Sydney Sailmakers with daylight to the fleet, to finish in this order.
Skol capsized in the approach to the bottom mark, followed into the tide by LCC: following their recovery, this was the order for 3rd and 4th places respectively.
The 2 front-runners, capsize free and racing every millimetre of the track, gave a great display of over-powered sailing in a tight waterway