Lane Cove Race, Saturday 12th September, 2015
1st Race of the 2015-16 season, everyone rusty, Forecast big-rig, no breeze beforehand, the old sage Murray Press confident it would come.
Good turn-out for the season opener with 12 or 14 boats.
Scratch start, run-in tide for the North-east marathon course, it was going to be a challenging afternoon, 10 knots by the time the fleet was in pre-start. Inside the 1 minute countdown the AP went, the restart saw most of the fleet gun-shy, away from the line across the river, John in Slippery When Wet pulled off a port-end, port-tack blinder and gapped the fleet, crossing Lincoln Crowne who was the next boat.
Lots of short tacks down-river into the puffy north-easter looking for pressure, with Lincoln Crowne leading Dimension Polyant/Sydney Sailmakers (with Nick Press, his first sail with “new” crew Andrew Hay lured from the 18s)
The run down to Snapper Island bottom mark and then the long shifty work back to Manns Point saw these 2 neck and neck, swapping for the lead, extending a gap to the third placed Chapman Performance Sailing, with Skol, The Bird and Hey Charger tussling for 4th place.
This was the pattern for the day, looking for pressure all day, trying to get inside lifts, punting the inexorable run-in tide in the slowly dying north east breeze. Lincoln Crowne and Sydney Sailmakers/Dimension Polyant were opening an enormous gap to third-place, by the last spinnaker set at Manns point the next boats were only rounding the bottom mark. At this last set, DP/SS set in a puff ahead of Lincoln Crowne and gained 150m, looking like day over, carrying this lead to the final bottom mark at Snapper Island and then in to Humbug, where the breeze deserted them off Valentia Street, allowing Lincoln Crowne to cross in Humbug. DP/SS hauled inside on the shore and gained the lead again at the exit to humbug, Lincoln Crowne running up to them bringing the breeze to Northwood, a luffing match at the final mark, Lincoln Crowne down the river in a puff to the finish, executing a penalty turn on the line for infringement in the luff. 2 hours and 7 minutes for the first pair of boats.
There was a 35 minute or so gap to third, Chapman High Performance Sailing. A long day back into the season, but good racing from the perspective we saw it from.
Lincoln Crowne wins first race of the Season – congratulations team LCC