Abbottsford, Interclub regatta and the breeze forecast is very sickly, so the surprise of a big-rig Easterly when the punters arrived to rig-up was most welcome.
No question on the rig choice, except for Garde who chose to sail with a light-weight substitute crew in order to free-up regular crew to skipper for driver-less Vantage Real Estate.
All the skiffs got away clean from the start off the Cabarita Marina, a line of skiffs heading into the Parramatta River, lead by The Bird (David Lusty & Glen Farquhar), closely followed by Garde (Brett Hobson & Philip Hibler ) Lincoln Crowne & Company (Jonathan Temple & Richard Jones) then Skol (Peter Polec & Jamie McCrudden).
At the first tack The Bird came at Lincoln Crowne, who with right of way tacked them back: this caused The Bird to tangle with Garde, stopping the pair & allowing LCC & Skol to get away.
This was the order up through the “esses” at Searles Monument, on the way to the top mark at the Gladesville Bridge.
Puffs & shifts of pressure all the way up this work kept things challenging for the lead skiffs, with 100 metres separating the first four. LCC around the top mark first for the spinnaker set up-river, followed by Garde, Skol & the Bird. Just behind was www.skiff.org.au (Ben Faulkner & Renn Holland) who were going well.
The lead bunch closed together in the variable breeze in the esses off the club, with LCC out of the doldrums just ahead of Skol.
At the approach to the bottom mark LCC were not able to find the mark, dropping the spinnaker way early to look for it: this allowed Skol through to round the bottom mark first. Garde got a strong gust in the approach to the mark, carrying them deep and forcing a difficult spinnaker drop: this went awry when the spinnaker went around the back of the mainsail, requiring them to eventually capsize to clear it.
LCC passed Skol in the first part of the work, with The Bird also coming back at Skol, passing them on the second half of the work, then loosing 2nd again to Skol at the top mark for the second time.
LCC cleared away on the second run, leaving Skol & the Bird to tussle on the run. The Bird called right of way in a close incident, forcing Skol to attempt a crash gybe, in which they nosedived, catapulting the crew up the rig & punching him through the mainsail some 2.5mts above the boom. This gave The Bird an easier task to concentrate on closing the gap on LCC, which was partially disabled by a broken jib block, preventing LCC sheeting the jib on one tack.
However the margin LCC had was sufficient to hold on for the win, by a minute, from The Bird, with the damaged Skoll in 3rd, then Garde & then Vantage Real Estate, sailed by father/son pairing of Brad & Brett Phillips. Handicap went to The Bird, with At Call second (John Williams & Will Lusty) then Vantage Real Estate 3rd.
A very interesting day!