The second last sailing day on the Port Kembla sailing calendar attracted a good turnout of around 10 catamarans - 7 small cats and 3 large cats. A max 24 degrees with a variable 4 knot to 13 knot SE breeze swinging around to ESE and ENE.
George Lemann from Southern Highlands Sailing Club came down with his Windrush to join in.
Also Michael Quadling and his daughter coming down to spend some time during rigging to re-acquaint. He last sailed around 2002. He advised he was looking for a boat and was keen to come back and sail again.
After a burger drink and briefing we finished preparations and set sail out onto the lake. With a nice ESE breeze we headed out to the middle of the Lake.
Rod Nairn and Amelia Richardson doing duty this week. They set a port course start out towards the middle of the lake behind Gooseberry Island, Windward mark over towards shallows and wing mark out front of the PKSC near Gooseberry island.
A few words from Ralf Steyer on Dark Horse:
Billyo and The Dark Horse got a good start at the gun at the boat end, Billyo out on wire and pointing well with good speed, I had height but could not match Bill's speed, further down the line with good speed was our visitor from the Highlands, George, but he wasn't getting good height. A number of boats gave away valuable ground by starting well after the gun went off. Looking back Tony sailing Groove Thing was getting good height but was also suffering a bit with speed.
As Ralf tacked he crossed ahead of Tony, Bill also tacked while the rest of the fleet kept going on starboard tack, not sure how far.
At the top mark it was Bill followed by Ralf - on the first reach Ralf overtook Billyo, after the wing mark I was lucky Les Porter was in a good mood and allowed me to sail my course instead of taking me up to where he obviously wanted to go and get on foils, he slowed a bit and then tucked in behind me and was gone in no time. The next work saw Billyo stretch his legs again both actually by getting out on wire and also pointing well with good speed, this allowed him to get to the top mark ahead of Ralf, who also managed to get out on wire for a short spell, we both stayed on port tack for about 3/4 of the way to the lay line, we both had to put in another 2 tacks to round the mark. George and Tony tacked early and appeared to make a little ground on us.
The breeze for the next work was a bit shifty and required a number of extra tacks to get around the top mark, no major changes in positions.
The last work saw Billyo and The Dark Horse well in the lead, we covered each other, George and Tony were close together at the base mark, Tony followed Bill and I, George tacked early and picked up 500 odd meters to come around the top mark not far behind the leaders, the run down to X saw Billyo sail almost square to the mark while Ralf and George were on a broad reach covering each other all the way down towards the Berkeley headland, George tacked slightly earlier and was then running almost square down towards X, Ralf came up under him and took him up a bit until we were past the lay line for X, Ralf only just in front at the mark, I was able to point higher and faster on the work to the finish line, but Billyo was first across (hopefully wasn't in front by enough to beat the Windies on yardstick) followed by The Dark Horse and then George. I think Bill enjoyed the wind strength, I would have preferred a bit more to be able to sail on wire.
"The Dark Horse “
Even with last minute adjustments by the duty crew, the start sequence getting away pretty much spot on 2pm. During the small cats division 3 count down at the 4 minute mark Hot Pepper deciding she was starting a bit too far down the line so went around and headed up wind for a better position, unfortunately this meant missing the start and crossing the line after the 1 minute count down for the next division. Billyo, Dark Horse, George, Groove Thing, Blue Tongue getting away well. The cats heading towards the reef on starboard tack. Billyo, Dark Horse, and Groove Thing able to point high. Most choosing to tack a little early possibly to avoid the TY’s reaching towards the wing mark. This meant that an additional tack was required further up the lake to reach the mark. Billyo, Dark Horse, Groove Thing, George (from Southern Highlands), Blue tongue and Yabby followed by Hot Pepper.
A broad reach was able to be had pretty much straight to the wing mark. Then back up to the start again. Most remained on port tack after rounding the start buoy heading over towards the shallows. Some sailing pretty deep and others tacking off a little sooner meaning that they had to put in an extra tack. Hot Pepper pinching was able to make up a little ground on some and with the variable wind and was able to make the mark on 1 tack. George from southern highlands trying a slightly different approach in the light conditions running directly back to the start buoy on the windward return. Dark Horse catching up to Billyo on the last triangle. Billyo remaining focused was able maintain his lead. On the last triangle going back up to the start line Billyo followed by Dark Horse with Groove Thing then George. George bearing away across the back of Groove Thing towards the middle of the lake getting good boat speed. With favourable breeze and wind shift giving good speed he managed to bunny hop Groove Thing to the start mark before the final run to the Windward, X and finish.
Billyo liking the light conditions leading the way across the line followed by Dark Horse who had a close tussle with George then Groove Thing, Hot Pepper, Blue Tongue and then Yabby. Blue Tongue in particular having a great day having an excellent race mixing it with the fleet. As can be seen below getting a 3rd in the point score.
Whilst having a quiet chat with Ross Fyfe, he advised he had to get rid of a stick caught up on his rudder during the final leg. Also that he is always analysing how he went looking at what he could do to improve next time, like flattening his sail.
Whilst sitting out front admiring the view we noticed someone drive past and wave. The vehicle then turned and Jack Kroek emerged advising that he was showing his Dutch relatives around (hence why he missed sailing today). He also let us know that he had received a message from John Van Megan regards Tommy having passed away.
After everyone was off the lake the SE breeze started to kick in at around a healthy 10 to 15 knots. That’s sailing.
Next week is the last session for the season. Hope to see all the cats sailors for the final fling. A few are planning to stick around for a while afterward, I hope you can join us.
Regards Hugh Lewis