Impressive upwind speed from Offshore Account saw her recover from a late start to be just behind the lead group of boats. As the fickle finger of fate would have it though, gear failure on the second work, resulting in loss of rig tension, left Offshore Accounts crew only one option of dropping sails and retiring early to save the rig.
The strong winds pushed Serenity and Grey Fox crews who sensibly sail conservatively, getting to know their boats better and improve their competitiveness in these sorts of conditions.
Strong north easterly usually mean exciting down wind runs and today was no exception. The astute observer watching the lead boats would have noticed Rosstered Off displaying a very interesting jibing technique nearing the bottom mark on the square run. I imagine that her crew noticed some dirt on the spreaders that needed washing off so were able to combine this activity with the jibe. Again Nirvana 7 showed impressive upwind speed and consistent downwind technique to keep Rostered Off honest.
Momentum is steadily getting its new rig sorted with improved upwind performance in today’s stronger conditions. With the wind decreasing for the final work and reach Momentum passed Frou Frou and held this position to the finish.
Finishing positions were tight with Nirvana 7 coming out on top on CBH followed closely by Frou Frou, Rosstered Off, Momentum, Grey Fox and Serenity.
* Don’t forget this Saturday is the TY Night race with the start planned for 20:00 hours. There will be a “bring your own” barbeque prior so that crews have an opportunity to fuel up before the nights sailing activity.
* The St Georges Basin Sussex Inlet Race is the next away event to be held over the weekend of 5 to 6 February. So get organised and get down there.
20 January, 2011 : I should apologise to Wayne and David for not being prepared for this Saturday’s race with appropriate handicaps for us all. On reflection though past performances were not that indicative of the competing boats potential, given the light and fickle winds dished up for us. Like many a handicap start I have sailed in, the weather conditions favoured the faster, later starting boats. Just as the early starters crossed the line the wind died right off, then about half way up the first work it changed direction and filled in allowing the late starters to catch up. The gentle conditions did provided us with an opportunity to ease back into the sailing season after the Christmas break allowing time to sort out new crew combinations and test out new equipment.
Wayne, Ray and Joel aboard Serenity demonstrated good tactical form staying on the right side of the course up the first work to get the wind change early and lead us around the first mark and down the reach. Up the second and consequent works Dave, Larry and Keith aboard Offshore Account put on an impressive turn of speed in the light winds overtaking Serenity and making up considerable ground on Peter Alan and Trev aboard Frou Frou.
In many ways Saturday’s race was the perfect start to the second half of the season by providing the opportunity to re-familiarise ourselves with our boats’ light weather personality.
The final positions were Frou Frou first followed by Offshore Account and Serenity.
Thanks to Barry and John for giving up their sailing time as duty crew and running a good race.
Don’t forget that this coming Saturday is a Championship event, and one not to be missed.
21 December, 2010 : No race but lots of action. What a challenge for the duty crew. On the positive site Saturdays blown out event provided an opportunity to hone seamanship and teamwork skills. Well worth being out on the water for. Thank you to Bill Ledger and Tony Zara for managing the race and rescue operation so professionally. I was also very impressed with how some of our young crews managing in the big blow. They displayed their cool, waiting out the main gusts before attempting to get up and going again. At least that’s how it looked from the safety of FrouFrou.
The big TY travel away races for 2011 are St Georges Basin Sussex Inlet 5 – 6 February, Marley Point 5 – 6 March, Bay to Bay 30 April 1 May and , the Wintersun 25- 26 June. So start getting organised.
Happy Christmas and New Year.
15 December, 2010 : Saturday felt a bit like the old days with 8 TYs lining up for the start on a beautiful mild and sunny December day. What I liked most about it was that new blood was included among the crew numbers not just all the same old diehards. Not that there is anything wrong with being an old diehard I hasten to add. Aboard Frou Frou, and in the absence of faithful crew member Alan, we welcomed aboard Hugh and Alanah Lewis. It was quite exciting lining up at the start with the other 7 boats, especially on a fairly short line. It must have looked great. Most of us anticipated a swing to the North East on a building breeze however we were disappointed at least up the first work with all boats reaching the top mark closely grouped. Momentum rounding first with Nirvana 7 and Offshore Account close behind. One of the things attractive about sailing at Port Kembla at least for me is that I have confidence other skippers know the rules. This became evident when Frou Frou on starboard tack approached Hail Storm on a port tack. Hail Storm did not see Frou Frou and tacked a little late causing Frou Frou to tack away to avoid a possible collision. In the spirit of good sportsmanship Hail Storm performed a penalty turn. It did show up how close in speed the Ross 650s are upwind, making for exciting racing. The Castle 650s Serenity and The Vibe were also having a close tussle.
Predictably the wind started to build slightly after the first work to a nice consistent 10 knots making for very manageable sailing conditions. The tight angle on the reaching leg meant that Grey Foxes asymmetrical spinnaker could be flown to their advantage and Offshore Account showed us how to go fast on a two sail reach. At the first jibe mark the fleet were all still close together. But even in these light conditions Momentum showed impressive speed down wind.
The surprise package on the day was Offshore Account. Dave must have whipped his scratch crew into shape as they sailed the race very consistently. I could go on about how pleasant a day on the water it was and how good the racing was, but that could get boring. Suffice to say that there was only about 5 minutes between first and last on corrected time. So here are the results for Championship 4. First Frou Frou, 2nd Nirvana 7, 3rd Offshore Account, 4th Grey Fox, 5th Momentum, 6th Hailstorm, 7th The Vibe and 8th Serenity.
8 December, 2010 : City of Canberra Regatta,
Most of my sailing buddies consider the City of Canberra Regatta as one of the best TY travel away events. The regatta is always well resourced with plenty of helpers (both volunteers and one or two paid), has good launching and parking facilities for TYs, has a sheltered mooring where you can conveniently pull up rear to the shore near showers and toilets, has access to stuff to fix you boat if it breaks and good dining and drinking options. There are a few drawbacks however like the relative small size of Lake Burley Griffin and the often fickle wind you will be familiar with. But there is another less obvious drawback you may not be aware of that changed the course of this weekend’s event. It’s not an issue as long as it doesn’t rain. But as most of you would have noticed it has been raining quite a lot lately, especially in the south western parts of NSW where, it just so happens, Canberra is located. We are talking bucketing down rain that causes water storage dams to fill to capacity and overflow something that has not happened in the Canberra area for more than 10 years as the Canberra Times Newspaper was want to publish.
The other element contributing to this particular drawback is human beings that gather in large numbers and in particular their by-products of living. The engineers, well-travelled and well-read amongst you will understand the enormous amount of resources and effort that goes into managing by-products of human habitation. So if you mix this very heavy rain with stretched to capacity human sewage storage facilities something has to give. For us on the coast crap is dumped into the ocean and is diluted moderately quickly in a way that makes it almost invisible. Although I heard on the news that Port and Warilla beach were closed on Monday because of effluent overflow. If you live in a place like Canberra where there is no nearby Pacific Ocean dumping ground it’s another story. There is only one place overflow can go and that’s into the river system. Unluckily for Lake Burley Griffin a very large sewage works is situated a very short up river distance away.
You know where this is going so to cut a long story short Lake Burley Griffin was closed due to raw sewage and debris flowing downstream into it. The City of Canberra Regatta was cancelled due to poo in the lake sailing and the regatta was cancelled.
It wasn’t all a waste of time and effort thought because Margaret and I now had time to fix the leak in aunty Suzan’s roof in Bowral and to get the Saturday papers for Aunty Mary who we stay with in Canberra. Plus we were able to take advantage of the hospitality of Peter Taylor and family and join them for Saturday lunch. In fact if the sailing went ahead it would have interfered with our social engagements. All in all we had a good weekend in Canberra, just not sailing on the lake.
Over Saturday lunch the events of the weekend did force us to consider how we human beings are stuffing up our environment and how long we can continue abusing the planet that sustains us in this way.
1 December, 2010 : No sailing this weekend for TY’s, but for those of us able to assist with the Kembla Klassic as helpers it was a fun weekend to be on the water.
I mentioned last week that we were working on another date for the previous weeks postponed Championship race. The suggested date is the January 29th night race event. If you have any objection to that date please let me know so we can negotiate an alternative.
This weekend 4th and 5th of December is the City of Canberra Regatta. I will be heading over and will provide a report for those of you not going. I hope that for those remaining you will have good sailing conditions and an exciting race.
24 November, 2010 : For me Saturdays sailing was defined by a clash of events and loyalties. On the one hand I feel loyalty to PKSC and my sailing friends there. On the other hand I feel loyalty to old friends Bob and Anne Bower and for promote TY sailing events. There was also the secret issue of testing sailing abilities and handicap ratings against old foes. The decision making was compounded by the lure of sailing with a great roll up of PKSC TY’s and their new and enthusiastic crew members.
To cut a long story short Frou Frou and crew and Hail Storm and crew participated in the Lord Mayors Cup event sponsored by the IYC. It was a long event with nice sailing conditions and with a predictable winner. On occasions we watched longingly at the Port Kembla sailors gliding by and of their relatively early return ashore to a hospitable club house.
Although most of the Port Kembla sailors were packed up and long gone by the time we returned to shore the talk from those hardy souls remaining was about a magical afternoon of sailing with old and new sailors making the most of the opportunity and enjoying what the Lake and the club had to offer. We were even welcomed back. Preliminary results for the Port Kembla Sailing Club TY event were Nirvana first on CBH and first on Pointscore : Momentum second on CBH and third on Pointscore; Rosstered Off third on CBH and forth on Pointscore; Hardware forth on CBH and fifth on Pointscore and; Grey Fox fifth on CBH and second on Pointscore.
See you next week to assist with making the Kembla Klassic a success. Remember the following weekend 4th and 5th December is TY the Canberra Regatta. Anybody else going?
17 November, 2010 : It’s probably an understatement to say that Saturday’s weather conditions were not the most ideal for introducing newcomers to the pleasantries of sailboat racing. It was the first race ever for Frou Frou’s newly acquired “Try Sailing” crew member Venice. I figured the aim of the game is to give someone the right amount of thrills and spills so they would return. Scaring them to death or maiming them is probably not the most satisfactory of outcomes. In a 25 + knot north easterly this of course is a possibility. So I figured if I used language like, “we will sail conservatively” and “it feels like we are in control now” and “the water is nice and warm isn’t it?” would convey a sense of calmness. It was a little more difficult explaining away our knock down while we were practicing our tacks before the start, apart from saying, “ see we don’t sink and anyway your life jacket will keep you afloat long enough to be rescued”. The dingy sailors were not helping matters either by tipping up in spectacular fashion left right and centre.
It was arguably the strongest winds we have sailed in this season and for that matter the most variable, from 25 knots for most of the race, to 10 knots near the end with lightning and bucketing down rain. As the race progressed we watched our competitors dwindle. Serenity was the last having to retire with a broken rudder box. I was not able to ask most of you your survival stories but bet there were some good ones.
As it turned out Frou Frou was the only TY to finish out of the 5 starters, so I guess that means she won. With all crew intact and our newly christened crew keen to come back for more. Now that is a good result.
10 November, 2010 : Jervis Bay Challenge
I don’t know the final results of the race as yet but, as far as the two PKSC yet except that Bob Porter and crew aboard Gee Wiz convincingly trounced Trevor Dunn and crew aboard Frou Frou. The predicted 10 to 15 knot east to north easterly did not blow making for slow and, at times, tricky progress in the South to North 5 to 10 knots that was dished up. Let’s just say that there was plenty of time for whale watching, with the outcome being that none were spotted. We did see dolphins though and that’s always a treat. It’s a long way round the bay in light winds with many traps awaiting the unwary. Halfway through the race Frou Frou had a commanding lead over Gee Wiz and looked like they had a good chance of finishing in the money. However that is when the fickle finger of fate intervened, the wind disappeared where Frou Frou was sailing and favoured where Gee Wiz was sailing. Gee Wiz turned their 300 meter deficit and into a 600 meter advantage.
Apart from the vagaries of the weather it was still a beautiful day on Jervis Bay.
3 November, 2010 : A big welcome to Keith Wilson and crew aboard Nirvana 7 who I believe will be sailing with us this season. If today’s results are anything to go off we will have to lift our game to give them some decent competition.
The first real strong winds we have had to sail in this season demonstrated that the new rounding buoys stayed up and were very visible. At least from Frou Frou’s point of view, the windy conditions showed up a few areas of boat handling and tactics that we could improve upon. It made me think of those articles written for the “Newsport” about resilience. Not so easy putting theory into practice.
Anyway, one of the good things about being at the back of the fleet is that you get a good view of what is happening to the rest of the fleet ahead, and with 5 starters it made for some interesting observations. Nirvana looked beautifully composed up wind, powering effortlessly through the water. I wish we could have been close enough to get some photos. Rosstered off looked like they were struggling up wind. Even still they held there lead for the entire race. Momentum also looked comfortable in the strong upwind conditions. Hail Storm showed very impressive speed upwind in the heavier conditions, and I get the impression that there is sill a lot more to come from her. What great spinnaker rides though, with the last run providing the best thrills for us. Just a pity we had to turn around and head back upwind in the building breeze.
Final results on CBH were first Nirvana 7 , second Rosstered Off, third Hail Storm, forth Frou Frou and fifth Momentum.
I hope to see a good representation of PKSC TY’s down the coast at next Saturdays 6 November Jervis Bay Challenge. Its one of the best events of the season and as a club we usually do very well.
27 October, 2010 : You must admit that the weather on Saturday made for interesting and challenging racing conditions. From the duty crew position, we had our nails bitten down to the quick with anxiety getting you all away for a decent start and course. As it happened our prediction of the wind filling in from the north east held true, and the course we set turned out in the main to be OK.
That is not to say we did not have a few doubts so, we had a lot of discussion about whether the wind would hold up long enough for everyone to finish before the sun went down or without being caught in a deluge or struck by lightning. Adds to the excitement I suppose. From talking to competitors during the après sailing activities it sounded like one of the best and closest racing events of the season. We did comment on how close the fleet was bunched and how often, as the fickle finger of fate would have it, positions changed over the course of the race.
The TY’s looked as if they had their fair share of frustrating wind changes to keep all participants in contention for first place, with the final results betraying the closeness of the adjusted finish times. Final results were Grey Fox first on Pointscore and CBH, Hail Storm second on Pointscore and CBH, Momentum third on Pointscore and forth on CBH, and Rosstered Off forth on Pointscore and third on CBH.
Many of the PKSC TY’s will be competing in this year’s Jervis Bay Challenge on 6 November and returning to assist with Try Sail on 7 November. Over the last number of years we have used the JB Challenge race results as one of our Pointscoring events. I would appreciate it if you could let me know next Saturday if you still agree that this will be OK or if other options may be more equitable.
13 October, 2010 : It was nice to have variable conditions on the day to test our sailing skills. With three starters and a long course there was plenty of time to work on tactics that would hopefully make the best of the patchy 5 to 10 knot winds. There however was a new and unpredicted obstacle, a mud bank where a mud bank near the top mark where a mud bank was not supposed to be. Not only was it where you didn’t expect it to be but it also shallowed quickly giving little warning even with eyes pealed to the depth sounder. By some perverse twist of fate or perhaps karma, Momentum was the only boat to escape the shallow water trap. Just adds to mystery and unpredictability of sailing I suppose. The grounding of Rosstered off provided Frou Frou and particularly Momentum with a jump ahead. Good down wind performance in the light conditions extended Momentum’s lead. Rosstered Off was able to pull back some of the time lost form the progress halting grounding, passing Frou Frou up the second work. It was not enough however to improve their finishing position. In the end Momentum crossed first and in convincing fashion secured first place, with Frou Frou second and Rosstered off third on handicap. Finishing times over the past 4 weeks of sailing will make for an interesting race for this Saturdays handicap start.
1 October, 2010 : Before going any further I must give praise to the duty crew this week for making very good starting time course decisions in the difficult and madly swinging wind conditions dished up for us on the day. Trick conditions mean greater opportunities. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. That probably sums up Saturdays race in a nut shell. With headsail changes during the starting sequence it made for a very interesting beginning to the race. Fortunes favoured crews sticking to the middle of the course up the first work with Frou Frou rounding ahead of Momentum closely followed by Hail Storm and Rosstered Off. The challenging conditions created by the shifting variability of the westerly winds meant that it was difficult to pick the shifts, and constant adjustments to sails were required to keep from falling behind. No crew were reported lost overboard, so that has to be a plus. The four starters finished within 5 minutes of each other on CBH. In first place were Alan, Peter and Trevor aboard Frou Frou, second Jim, Shaun, Rob and Wayne aboard Rostered off, third Barry, John, Ray and Ian aboard Momentum, and coming in a credible fourth were Rob Dave, and Johanathan aboard Hail Storm.
22 September, 2010 : As the saying goes “the more boats racing the merrier”. However, it only takes two boats to generate very tight competition and to have an enjoyable race. The light conditions tested both starters in today’s event. Aboard Frou Frou there were sail changes and many adjustments made to try and stay in touch with the seasoned crew aboard Rostered Off. Just to show they were good sports Rostered Offs crew of Jim, Wayne, Shaun and Richard slowed up for us by sailing past a mark. It must have been one of their senior’s moments. Any way, we thought it was a nice change sailing in light conditions. It gave us time to try different things and improve on our crew work. First on handicap, Frou Frou, closely followed by Rostered Off .