12′ skiff race report Woollahra, Sunday 11.11.12

Patchy shifty South-east, east breeze, Gemmell Sails paying another guest visit to Woollahra bringing up the interest another notch.
On-shore sledging, the light-guys talking up the breeze, trying to spook the heavier crews into second rig. Sense or nerve prevailed, and Gemmell Sails & Lincoln Crowne & Co. selected big-rig: this drove the sledgers into having to follow suit.
Course was a 3 lap windward-leeward Easterly, into Rose Bay, sharing the track with the 18 foot skiff fleet, having their first heat of their state titles, so plenty of spectators & traffic.
Good tight start off Shark Island, Gemmell away from the pin end & seeming to get a bit of a jump, Variety just to windward, Garde buried between them & Lincoln Crowne & Co., forcing Garde to tack away early. Gemmell, Lincoln Crowne Variety & Lincoln Crowne & Co. going all the way to shark Is. before tacking.
Lincoln Crowne Variety capsized in the tack off the island; as Gemmell Sails & Lincoln Crowne & Co. came back to the south it was apparent that Garde had done better from having to tack away south early at the start.
At the top mark it was Garde by a small margin, Lincoln Crowne & Co. & Gemmell Sails just behind, then Geotherm & Variety. Down the run the 3 lead boats gybed variously looking for lines of stronger breeze: at the bottom mark all 3 came together, Garde just ahead, with Lincoln Crowne Variety having come back at the front markers.
Up the 2nd work the lead swapped between the 3 boats, as the shifts & wind strength determined. At the top mark, it was Lincoln Crowne & Co. just ahead of Garde, Gemmell Sails back 100m as “Twinkle-Toes” Press fell out of the boat in a tack.
Down the run, Gemmell roared back in to the race as the front two boats had no breeze, seeing all 3 locked together at the bottom mark again, for the final work to the top.
Again the lead shifted between the 3, each having a turn at being buried in the 18 foot skiff fleet & spectator traffic. At the end of the work, Garde’s turn to be buried allowed Lincoln Crowne & Co. to tack at the mark with a 50m gap, with Gemmell Sails further back, “Twinkle-toes” having fallen out of the boat again!
LCC tacked around the top-mark & lost breeze, allowing Garde to close, kites up, quick gybe after the set, Garde just a skerrick quicker in the gybe allowed them to roll over the top of LCC & grab the lead for the run to the finish. LCC gybed twice on the run trying to come at Garde, who held it out successfully for the win, LCC second by 30 secs & Gemmell Sails a further 3 minutes back for 3rd.

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