Saturday 28th September at Lane Cove, the first strong-wind race of the season (27+ knot Westerly with gusts of 37 knots on the harbor) had everyone pondering the carnage to come, and saw a number of boats decide to throw in the towel for the day!
Westerly course, start off at the club heading upwind to Alexandra Bay, saw 6 boats line up off the club. Lincoln Crowne & Company was away first, closely followed by Vantage Real Estate, then Skol & The Bird.
LCC first around the Alexandra Bay mark, setting the spinnaker to run back past the hecklers on the club. LCC, Vantage & Skol gybed off the club, strong gusts carrying all three into the moorings in Woolwich, forcing them to drop the spinnakers. The Bird held a higher course & kept the spinnaker up, but were carried up into the shelter of Lane Cove, loosing out.
LCC first into the Parramatta River, followed by Vantage, for the wild 2 sail reach to Birchgrove, and the gybe & spinnaker set for the run to Manns Point.
Skol already out of the race, a broken tiller leaving them in the river, & Hey Charger also encountering difficulty.
LCC lead Vantage out of Manns for the long work to Drummoyne – the breeze starting to splinter, with patches of lighter moments.
LCC had a healthy lead at Drummoyne, where the breeze was definitely falling away.
And this was the story for the rest of the race: the strong westerly fizzed out, leaving the surviving 3 boats under-rigged for a slow second half.
LCC first, followed by Vantage Real Estate, 3rd & final finisher The Bird.