Lane Cove Club Championship
Forecast 3rd to 4th rig, blowing 3rd rig north westerly on the river, huge black-clouds to the west, all trepidatious about breeze-change. What to do: 3rd or 4th rig? Half and half choice, and thus began the saga of one of the worst races in living memory.
Woodford Bay fleet sailed to the club, to find all starts postponed for fear of lightning, so these boats sailed around for 1/2 hour waiting. Very puffy, 20 knot north wester that died to under 10 knots by the time they started the fleet. Patchy work up to the top mark at Alexandra Bay, Chapman High Performance Sailing was in good shape at the top, followed by Gemmell Sails, Skol, Lincoln Crowne and Company and then Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant, who had the worst of a few shifts and light patches on the work.
Run past the club toward Humbug, very patchy, with rogue gusts dragging first Chapman High Performance Sailing and then Gemmell Sails into the moorings. Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant bringing up the rear was able to flog their kite in the puffs, and capitalise on all the dramas and lead the fleet to Humbug. Out at Greenwich, Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant set the kite for the Birchgrove wing-mark, followed by Lincoln Crowne & Company, then Gemmell Sails and Skol, in the dying westerly.
At Manns Point, Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant had a 150m lead over Lincoln Crowne & Company. Chapman High Performance Sailing coming back into it. Almost drifting up the work to Drummoyne, black cloud was building in the west, the 3rd gig boats coming up over the 4th rigs in the very light: Chapman High Performance Sailing passing Lincoln Crowne & Company into second, and Skol coming over Gemmell Sails.
The Breeze almost gone, Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant went around Drummoyne in the last puffs, and sliding down the square run along the Birkenhead shore. 100ms short of the mark, the heavens opened up unleashing 30 knots plus from the west, with pelting rain. All the boats were flattened: vague shapes capsized through the spume.
Then it was gone, with the sub 5 knot westerly that preceded it back in its place, and the scramble for the capsized to get going again. Gemmell Sails, Chapman High Performance Sailing and Skol making the better of it, Lincoln Crowne & Company with a broken jib- sheet shackle was slower to go.
Desperately slow down the Birkenhead shore, Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant having made a huge break by getting ahead of the squall, now half the course in front. The next 4 boats all re-bunched at Spectacle Island in a lull, then the 2 3rd rig boats Chapman High Performance Sailing and Skol got the new north east shift, ahead of Gemmell Sails and Lincoln Crowne & Company. Halfway along the Birchgrove shore this shifted North west, seeing these 4 put kites up for the lunge to the Manns Point mark, where the tide parked them again, leaving Gemmell Sails and Chapman High Performance Sailing parked in the tide, for Lincoln Crowne & Company to sail up to.
With these 3 facing the work to Valentia Street, and then run to Birchgrove before turning toward the finish, Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant by now home finished, with Skol half a leg in front of the hapless trio. Way to the rear was Madonna and Hey Charger, the last to survive the storm, The Bird having collapsed part of the mast when the skipper dived into it in the tempest. In Humbug, Chapman High Performance Sailing surrendered a nice “safe” margin in 3rd as they parked and allowed Gemmell Sails and then Lincoln Crowne & Company to pass them.
Finally the finish: Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant finished dinner before Skol crossed, who in turn had time for half a dozen drinks before Gemmell Sails in 3rd just ahead of Lincoln Crowne & Company.
What a day!