With a beautiful south easterly 13-16 knot breeze awaiting us, Lincoln Crowne chose the second rig for Saturday.
It was going to prove interesting with regular skipper Jonathan Temple away, and Richard managing to coerce Murray Press, skipper of Gemmel Sails for the race.
On the start line, LCC had to bide their time as the rest of the fleet started on their respective handicaps. Finally they were away, having given four minutes to their nearest rival, Skol. As they sailed out of the river to the Goat Island mark chasing the fleet, the lack of coordination between skipper and crew was telling in the gusty conditions.
LCC rounded the Goat Island mark as the breeze freshened and shifted east, gybing into the new breeze and two out on the wire, straight to the bottom mark, where they were able to see the carnage unfold in front of them as Hey Charger capsized under spinnaker attempting to avoid the Balmain Ship Piles, and Vantage Real Estate performed a perfect high speed cartwheel, sending the crew flying through the air.
The next kite run down to the Kerosene Bay mark, LCC had a blister spinnaker run on the edge the whole way, and making time on the fleet, moving into third place, chasing Hood Sails and Maradona.
In the shifty breeze, Murray picked his way to the front by the second last mark, and held on with LCC taking the Handicap win and well as the win for Fastest Time by over 11 minutes.
With the Easterly breeze hanging about 10 knots, all boats put up the big rigs for another light wind race on Sunday, though was more consistence than last weeks breeze, and made for some really close racing.
Up the first work the race was neck and neck, no one seeming to jump out early. Garde (Brett Hobson and Damien Vlotman) lead by a small margin at the top mark rounding, with skiff.org.au (Ben Faulkner and Renn Holland), Gemmell (Murray Press and Scott Lanham), Variety (Adam Forbes and Richie Johns) and Lincoln Crowne (Richard Jones and his young teenage son Jeremy) all closely following behind.
Garde got a nice gust soon after setting the spinnaker to put a good lead on the fleet early, and extended her lead down the run, but over shot the mark, which allowed the pack to close up, especially Gemmell Sails. LCC rounded the bottom work in 4th place, only three boat lengths behind 2nd.
All skiffs went toe-to-toe up the next work, with LCC getting right back into the mix. Half way up the work, skiff.org.au picked the shift of the day to jump to the front of the fleet, while Gemmell fell right back.
At the top mark, skiff.org.au maintained a healthy lead, with Garde second Variety 3rd, LCC 4th, all together.
Down the final run, LCC and Garde reduced the lead to skiff.org as they sought pressure from the north east. Gemmell Sails took a flyer to the south, which didn’t look to be the call early on. The north pressure built further down the run, and as this pressure got to Gemmell, they were perfectly positioned to take full advantage. The move saw them go from 4th to 1st in the one leg.
Garde just crossed Variety and skiff.org.au before the bottom mark rounding to hold second place.
Up the final work, LCC crossed in front of Garde, Gemmel Sails and Variety. In a close finish, Garde, Variety, Gemmel finished together, with LCC just over a minute behind in a two hour race, an exceptional achievement for a first time 15 year old skipper.