The last sailing day for the season was a corker. Sunny 23 degree day with a nice NW swinging to NE breeze starting out around 8 knot and building thru the afternoon up to around 16 knots with up to 21 knot gusts.
The final sail day attracted 13 catamarans, 10 small cats and 3 large cats.
See right for a snapshot of HOLFUY weather conditions on the day.
I’m pretty sure Tony Zahra led the small cats across the line, crossing pretty much right on the hooter. Hot Pepper still having some work to do to improve start timing, trailing the pack. Most out on the wire with good speed on starboard tack heading towards the northern shore near the club house. Ross on Yabby pointing quite high followed by Hot Pepper. Once reasonably deep tacking to Port and heading to the windward mark. This week Jody on Blue Tongue also out on the trapeze wire. Can’t remember the exact order around the windward mark but I think it was Billyo, White Wave and Dark Horse leading the way closely followed by the pack. Groove Thing having dropped back a little as Tony Sanderson felt a little too free and easy due to a jock strap come undone on his trapeze harness. As a result he had to stop to re-attach. Once around the windward mark a great reach was had down to the wing mark. The breeze picking up a little and the catamarans really taking off. Another excellent reach was then had back to the start (bottom) mark. Thanks to Trevor and crew the course really suiting the catamarans with nice angles allowing great reaches. At this point the pack started to spread a little, Billyo dropping off the pace a little as the strengthening breeze causing him some concern (looking after his shoulder).
From the wing mark back to the bottom mark White Wave leading the way around, closely followed by George from Southern Highlands(had a promising start), Dark Horse and Hot Pepper. However when George went to get out on the wire he slipped got dragged out back and capsized. Hot Pepper managed to avoid collision on port side and Dark Horse went the other side. With the freshening breeze George went to right his craft and capsized again losing touch with the leaders. An excellent work out towards the shallows, White Wave and then Dark Horse tacking off midway, Hot Pepper going deeper into the shallows to try and make the top mark in one tack. Hot Pepper close with some pinching but unfortunately missing out by around 50 metres. Having right of way over Dark Horse Hot Pepper had heart in mouth with Dark Horse having to give way adjusting, skimming past rudder blades. A little slow on tacking meant that Hot Pepper followed White Wave and Dark Horse around the top mark. I think it was on this leg whilst pushing hard to make up lost ground Groove Thing ended up nose diving and even though he was able to release mainsheet couldn’t stay upright and capsized adding to his deficit. An excellent windward return again saw great boat speed heading back towards the bottom mark.
By the second triangle the leading 3 boats had opened a small buffer with Silver Fox not too far behind working on bridging the gap. Hot Pepper dropping off the pace a little when reaching from the wing mark back to the bottom mark then got back in the groove making up ground again. The final run to X was a blast at times having to drop power in the stronger gusts just a touch to keep from nose diving. I think both Blue Tongue and George again were capsize casualties with the breeze freshening with over 20 knot gusts. Round the X and home Dark Horse leading the way across the line followed by White Wave, Hot Pepper, Silver Fox, Groove Thing, Yabby and George. Billyo and Blue Tongue recording DNF although still out on the water for the duration. See below for results:
Afterward once assisting each other ashore dismantling our craft we spoke about each of our experiences. Having borrowed a trapeze harness from Kurt, Jody was pretty chuffed as she was out on the wire under race conditions and felt a great sense of achievement.
Afterward a few partners and friends came down to join the sailors for a bite to eat and a chat at the club house. Looking over the idyllic vista of Lake Illawarra watching the sunset as the sun dropped below the mountains.
All that remains is presentation night Saturday the 13th May 2017 “Under the Sea” theme. Looking forward to seeing every one.
Small Cats Delegate