We had 4 keen Large Cats on the day. Rob and Josh Porter on Shark Bait (Taipan 4.9), Les Porter on Pilot Error (A Class) , Paul English on Playtime (Nacra 16Sq) and me on Symphony 2 (A Class). We also had a visiting Hobie 18 from the Southern Highlands out for a day sail, and a Hydra which joined us out on the water.
Bob Porter elected to give the Nacra 5.8 a well-deserved rest after wrapping up the Large Cat Club Championship the week before. Instead, he and Rose took the Windrush TY cat “Beans” for a practice spin with our TY fleet.
And still no sign (yet) of Kurt Griffiths with his newly acquired Nacra 16sq. We’re looking forward to his return and the maiden voyage.
Believe it or not, Willyweather predicted 12 knots from the SE for the entire afternoon. Boy, did they get that wrong (!) The best of it occurred just prior to the start when we enjoyed a 10 knot breeze but that faded to a miserly 3 or 4 knots as the race progressed. So much so, that at the end of the day, the marina security lights illuminated before all the finishers had crossed the line.(!)
Up for grabs was the Pointscore Series, and with only three quarters of a point separating Shark Bait and Symphony 2 – it was all going down to the wire. In a nutshell, Shark Bait had to finish within 5 or 6 minutes of Symphony to win the series. The wind conditions definitely favoured the A Class - so the stage was set for a showdown.
On duty, Barry Grant ably assisted by Ray Stanley (thanks guys!) set a port course with start line backing onto Gooseberry Island, top mark towards Primbee and wing mark situated near the reef markers off Wollamai Point. After the TY’s and the monohulls got away, the wind shifted 20 degrees further to the east creating a strong port bias. Shark Bait, Symphony and Pilot Error all headed to the pin end hoping to get away on port tack. Paul English on Playtime chose to keep everyone honest and remained on starboard tack.
After some jockeying for position at the port end, Shark Bait found itself over the line early and had to restart. This allowed the two A Class Cats to take full advantage of the marginal trapezing breeze – with Playtime in hot pursuit. Rob and Josh did a great job recovering from the start and showed good downwind speed to quickly whittle the gap down to just a few boat lengths.
It was tricky maneuvering through the trailer yachts and the dead zones to leeward of their big spinnakers.
With the wind fading, big holes were appearing on the course. On the final upwind leg, Symphony managed to luckily slip through one to get the last of the breeze whilst Rob and Les languished. At this point, the Pointscore looked within reach, and I foolishly thought all my chickens had come home to roost - but they say, never count your chickens before they hatch - or else your goose is cooked. They also say two swallows do not a summer make - but I don't think that's relevant here. (Sorry guys.)
On the last leg to the X Mark, a big hole opened up and the lead boats sat helpless as the southeaster managed one last gasp – and as fate would have it - Rob and Josh rallied and closed the gap to less than 4 minutes at the finish.
There followed Les Porter on Pilot Error and Paul English on Playtime who both suffered in the dying breeze.
Congratulations to Rob and Josh on Shark Bait for wrapping up the series with a hard fought and well-deserved win!!
It’s also appropriate at this time to sincerely thank Hugh Lewis for all the time and energy spent supporting and promoting the cat classes and the junior training program. Hugh, you are a great giver and a true gentleman.
If anyone is interested we plan to sail on the Anzac weekend – weather permitting - with Denis Baker bringing his foiling A Class up from the South Coast. Everyone is welcome to join in. We’ll send out some SMS texts to let you know more details.
Presentation night is not far away (May 7th) – it’s a Movie Theme – don’t know what to wear yet – but hope to see you all there for a fun night!