There were a number of willing sailors on this brisk day but the wind was even more willing with a southerly gusting over 26 knots at 12:45 according to the Primbee weather station. After some observation and discussions both the small and large cat fleets decided to be safe rather than sorry.
Paul English (still nursing his injured thumb) and Jack Kroek were on duty and managed to get the monohulls and TY's away. Afterwards, Paul described the wave conditions as quite treacherous at the starting area - with a particularly steep and nasty chop. The rescue boat bounced around and they struggled to keep anchored in position during the starting sequence.
Much to the duty officers' surprise, the mono fleet including four F11's and a Lightweight Sharpie revelled in the conditions and stayed upright for the entire race. The only 'rescue' required on the day was to assist 'Puffa' (our trusty inflatable) when its bow line snagged its propeller.
As it turned out, the breeze eased after 2pm but, as they say, hindsight is 20-20 - I think we did the right thing to stay dry.
This time the sailors were greeted by a fresh Nor'easter - just for a change. The large cat fleet was a bit down on numbers this week with Rob Porter recovering from a broken bone in his foot, Les Porter away in Melbourne and Paul English out with his injured thumb. I also heard from Mark Bannister who sails an A Class that he had some rudder repairs to attend to - but hopefully see him soon.
At the start line, it was Bob and Johnny Porter on the Nacra 5.8NA and Kurt Griffiths on the Nacra 16Sq and me on the A Class Classic. Aaron Weares and Pierre set a great port course with bottom mark south of Gooseberry Island, windward mark at the entrance channel to IYC and wing mark just off the NE tip of Gooseberry Island.
The start was at 14:24:05 with Bob leading the way on starboard tack with Kurt and I in pursuit. The gusts coming off the eastern shoreline made things a bit tricky. At the windward mark the A Class was leading by a few boat lengths. The reach was quite interesting as we all felt our way through the big squirts coming off the shoreline. The big 5.8 Nacra absolutely screamed past the A Class to take back the lead before the wing mark. The wind gradually increased as the race progressed and the second reach became quite a handful for Kurt and I with both of us burying the bow but somehow surviving. Bob said afterwards he felt pretty comfortable and didn't have any real close calls except when Johnny had a problem releasing the jib in a tack. On the second reach I very nearly broke the tiller extension when it caught a wave and snapped itself out of its Ronstan attachment fitting. I couldn't believe my luck, and proceeded to re-attach it and keep going. Phew!
Meanwhile, Kurt on the Nacra 16Sq Wreckless had several narrow escapes - twice burying the bows up to the centre board cases. With the wind increasing, Kurt decided to call it a day as it was getting near impossible to avoid capsizing downwind with sheets eased.
Here is a snapshot from the Primbee weather station recorded on the day. It was gusting 27.2 knots at 3:15pm!!
Thanks to the T-Rudders that radically reduce the tendency to nosedive - I was able to continue but chose not to trapeze upwind on the last work. It was quite hairy and of course there were championship points at stake. (Don't laugh!!)
At the finish, Bob and Johnny on Phantom Menace romped home to win by a huge margin of almost 5 minutes and I imagine they backed off as well to bring it home safely. Well done and well sailed!
2016-2017 VYC Yardsticks
The latest yardsticks have been released and all of this season's results to date have been updated accordingly.
Have a great week and hope to see you all soon!
Regards, Ross Boyd