Lane Cove Race Day, Saturday 15th March, 2014
Lane Cove, Forecast 2nd rig was blowing 2nd rig on Sydney Harbour, airless sub-big-rig at Lane Cove, all trepidatious about breeze-change on water: “Lincoln Crowne” opted for 2nd rig (reasoning was a bad day whatever happened with big-rig, and if the breeze did come would be a good 2nd rig) “Gemmell Sails” went along with this as well and all the club-boats went big-rig.
Handicap start, “Lincoln Crowne” was off scratch chasing everyone. “Gemmell Sails” was late to start and missing their handicap, starting only 1 minute ahead. “Lincoln Crowne” passed them in Humbug and began the long chase of the fleet, running down to the Snapper Island mark.
On the work to Mann’s Point “Gemmell Sails” tacked north to Clarke’s Point .It got a north shift which allowed them to get in front of “Lincoln Crowne”. Around Mann’s Point, spinnaker back to Snapper Island, “Gemmell Sails” got a fantastic south east slant and made a gap of 400m on “Lincoln Crowne”. This allowed “Gemmell Sails” back into the tail of the front-runners and leaving “Lincoln Crowne” alone in the rear.
Very light, the 2nd rig gamble hadn’t worked: ‘Skol” with the big-rig was decimating the earlier starters and moving through the fleet. Then a mishap in the gybe saw the crew on “Skol” seriously injure their hand, removing the flesh off a finger and requiring their removal to hospital. This forced “Skol” to return home with a stand-in crew.
Working to the finish in Lane Cove River the long-threatening sky finally unleashed the lightning, rain and a LOT of wind that had been brooding all afternoon. The first 2 starters, “Hey Charger” and “The Bird” had just made it to the finish before the cataclysm. The remainder of the skiffs, still racing, was flattened by the squall.
“Gemmell Sails” had a number of capsizes, and “Lincoln Crowne”, having only 1 capsize. This was a chance to catch “Gemmell Sails” as they battled to make the last 100m to the finish. “Gemmell Sails” however held it together and crossed the finish line in 3rd position, 100m ahead of “Lincoln Crowne”. “Lincoln Crowne” was the last boat to finish, with the rest of the fleet (all with big-rigs) in disarray, upside down and invisible in the rain squall in the final stretches of the river.
No racing Sunday at Woollahra, breeze and storm-system too erratic to sail.