Parramatta River Championship, 2014, Saturday 8th March
Abbotsford, 2nd rig, short-course North-easterly breeze. Rigging for back-to-back races, expecting big-rig, breeze in a little more than expected saw the fleet opt for the 2nd sails, with a tight 3 lap course anticipated.
Congested start in France Bay, with “Gard’’,“Gemmell Sails”, “Lincoln Crowne” and “Skol” all in a bunch at the boat end. “Gemmell Sails” was over early by a good boat length and as a result they were feeding dirty air onto the other 3 boats which saw “Lincoln Crowne” drop into the lead and come up the work 4th in this bunch.
A tight Bedlam Bay mark on the north shore of the river saw the first 3 boats, led by “Garde”, gybe-set around the mark to clear the shore. This took them into the lead of the south shore. “Lincoln Crowne” was 4th around and did a bear-away set to clear the lee, nearly putting them on the rocks of the north shore, but clearing the wind-shadow and giving them a tidy move into 1st with a good margin on the first run to France Bay.
“Garde” had to do a penalty turn at the bottom mark for an infringement on “www.skiff.org.au” and at the top mark leaving “Lincoln Crowne” with their break on the tight with 3 boats following. This was the sequence for the next 2 laps, with “Lincoln Crowne” going down the last run in lesser breeze, allowing “Garde” to close in on them. “Garde” and “Lincoln Crowne” were neck and neck on the work to the finish with “Garde” just managing the softening breeze a bit better to take the win by 3 seconds from “Lincoln Crowne”. “Skol” came in 3rd 3 minutes behind and then “Gemmell Sails” a further 20 seconds back.
The race 2 start was a copy of the first race, with the same fleet starting on the line. “Garde”got a lifting gust at the gun that vaulted them into a 50m lead and enabled them to feed dirty air onto the following boats. This was the theme for much of the race. “Garde” slowly extended the lead to 100m by the end of the race.
The dicing for 2nd place however went on: with “Gemmell Sails”, “Lincoln Crowne”, “Skol” and “Vantage Real Estate” all dicing for the place. “Lincoln Crowne” and “Gemmell Sails” tied together for 2 laps. Then on the 3rd work “Gemmell Sails” was hit by a 420 (420 in the wrong) spinning them into, and locking them up with a moored boat. This took them out of contention for the places. It was “Vantage Real Estate” that was trying to threaten “Lincoln Crowne”.
The final result was “Garde” in a walkaway of 100m, “Lincoln Crowne” second and “Vantage Real Estate” a further 50m back.