Great first sail of 2024. Bit of sun, bit of cloud, bit of wind, no rain!
Leading up to the start things were not looking good with 0 knots of breeze from all directions. Luckily with 5 minutes to go a light ENE breeze picked up and allowed the start boat, HooRoo (Andy and Lou) to begin the countdown and then the gate start.
HooRoo arrived at the start buoy about 5 seconds late and began their port tack start line. Southern Cross (Greg and Lynne) timed things well and passed first over the virtual line. Unfortunately for poor Equinox, the breeze decided to go missing for a minute, leaving them stranded without steerage in the path of the oncoming HooRoo. HooRoo had no real choice but to tack on to Starboard and declare the start sequence over and to begin racing. Only Gone Too Farr (Greg and Ronda) had enough speed to still pass behind HooRoo and the start buoy and then to keep on sailing. All other boats were close enough so as not to be too disadvantaged.
Special mention to guest boat Zipper, crewed by long-time friend of the club Gordon Davidson and his grandson Nate for deciding to join in the fun for at least part of the race, keeping in touch with the fleet all the way to “Ernie’s” which seemed a fitting place to head back to home!
Long, long work in a light and variable breeze up towards Wrights beach, with Southern Cross leading the way, chased by Gone Too Farr and then HooRoo, with Salty Tiger (Greg and Darren) keeping in touch and Equinox (Ken and Jannette) rounding out the fleet.
Spinnakers up for some, after the Wrights beach mark and then a run down to Macleans Point, followed by cracked sheets into Ernie’s.
With the wind now a steady 10 knots, if a little variable in direction, it was once again time for the colourful sails to be hoisted for those who wanted to, for the final run around Garden Island and down to the Basin view mark. Southern Cross leading the way, followed by Gone Too Farr, then HooRoo, Salty Tiger and finally Equinox.
Down at this western end of the course, the wind decided to have a little fun, and swung between ENE and due north and then back, with a few good gusts thrown in to keep everybody awake. Certainly, this was the case for Southern Cross, when caught by a very unexpected gust, they were knocked flat, resulting in a freshly washed mast, cockpit, and some spilt beverages! Nearby vessels can report the keel looked quite clean. Having kept all crew safely on board, the Cross continued on the work back to Kangaroo Point, with Gone Too Farr a little bit closer than before.
It was a long and for most boats, a single tack to Kangaroo, then a reach to the finish, with only Gone Too Farr having the energy to raise the kite, one last time, which as the results attached show, may have been very worthwhile.
All boats safely made it back into the river or home ramp, before the breeze built any further.
Another special mention to volunteer buoy retrievers Ben and Kim, for saving one of the yachts a long work back up to collect Ernie and Wrights Beach marks.
Next race in two weeks, Triangle Course Handicap Start. Not long after that is the Regatta!
Andy and Louisa