Port Jackson Championship- Woollahra

A rainy, grey and windless day greeted the fleet as they prepared for the regatta onshore. The race committee called for a postponement onshore as there was no breeze on the course. The rain came in from the South-east and with it the forecast 10 knot southeaster. The committee called for a start, and all of them left the beach out to the start-boat.

The wind had shifted South-east from earlier, presenting a slightly starboard-tack bias out of the start. “Gemmell Sails”, “Lincoln Crowne” and “Garde” all at the boat end away at the front of the fleet, with “Variety” and ‘Vantage Real Estate” up in the front bunch.

Gemmell Sails” lead Lincoln Crowne” then “Garde” around the Rose Bay mark for the run to Chowder Bay. “Garde” gybed toward Shark Island earlier, looking for left hand pressure, with a good gap to 4th place, with these 3 taking the easing pressure toward the west shore.  The rest of the fleet went all the way to Steel Point in new pressure from the east, and looked to have the front-runners on the ropes, until 3/4 of the way to the west the east breeze went soft, and “Garde” got the new south pressure first, going right around “Lincoln Crowne”.

Gemmell Sails” had a tidy gap at Chowder Bay, then “Garde” with “Lincoln Crowne”, “The Bird”, “Vantage Real Estate” and “Variety” coming in with the breeze. The work to Shark Island rounding mark saw all the boats head for Steel Point, then around Shark Island for the run to Taylor Bay. “Gemmell Sails” holding their small lead over ‘Garde’, and ‘Lincoln Crowne” still in third position.  Another South shift on this run kept the front 3 with a gap to the rest of the fleet, to round Taylor Bay in the same order.

On this work to Rose Bay, “Gemmell Sails” split South, Garde & “Lincoln Crowne” going east. The wind came in very fresh on this work, well out of the range of the big-rig.

Gemmell Sails” changed gears the best, with fantastic speed through the fresh, gapping both “Garde” and “Lincoln Crowne”. The breeze softened at the top of the work, and fickle shifts up here saw “Garde” close with “Gemmell Sails”, to round for the run to Chowder Bay neck & neck. At Chowder Bay again, for the last work to Rose Bay, the breeze had gone very light and patchy, requiring tacking across the harbour seeking pressure lines. “Garde” & “Gemmell Sails” were still neck & neck, with “Gemmell Sails” just to the front. “Gemmell Sails” put multiple tacks onto “Garde”, to keep them tucked away and defuse the risk of “Garde” stretching their legs in the lighter breeze.

This saw “Gemmell Sails” round the last mark ahead by 50m, to lead “Garde” on the run to the finish. “Lincoln Crowne” came in 3rd, with a group fighting for 4th to 6th. “The Bird” took 4th with Vantage Real Estate” taking the pressure off them by picking such a low lay-line to the finish where they capsized avoiding a boat. “Variety”, similarly low, were carted below the finish with their spinnaker, allowing www.skiff.org.au” to pick up “Variety’s” & “Vantage’s” places to finish 5th.

Handicap went to www.skiff.org.au


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