In the rigging park, with a forecast of a SW big sail breeze, at big rig choice time it was still exceeding big-rig range, however the fleet decided it would fail in-line with the forecast. At the later stage, the Queenslanders with the skinny boats opted to make a rapid rig-change, while the locals still felt they were right with their big-rig choice.
Gemmell Sails pulled a ‘dummy’ causing the others to changing sails, while he decided to stick with the big-sail. Out on the course, his grit was rewarded – a sick breeze seemingly guaranteeing him the day, and with it, second overall.
The fleet got away in a 10 knot SW with a strong run-out tide, working shifts up to the top mark at Clarke Island. Just short of the Island the breeze built rapidly to 15 knots, sending Gemmell Sails and Garde, LCC and PB Towing down the harbour toward the bottom mark near Eastern Pile Light in Watsons Bay, all frenetically gybing to stay in the narrow columns of breeze. This bunched the top 4 at the bottom mark, and spread the rest of the fleet out between Clark Island and Eastern Channel.
The breeze went really fickle on the work back, with Gemmell Sails pulling out and Hey Charger moving up on a westerly slant to take the lead, as Gemmell Sails worked further west to consolidate in the breeze. Garde in the east fell into a personal hole and parked, only metres from boats with pressure.
Gemmell Sails and Hey Charger got stranded in the channel off Bradley’s as the breeze deserted them, allowing LCC and PB Towing to pass them in westerly pressure.
Gemmell Sails re-took the lead at the top mark, and drove deep to the East in the pressure, followed by LCC and Garde, and this group followed the breeze down the east shore. The breeze then shifted back to the west, causing the eastern 3 boats to underlay the mark, and bringing Hey Charger charging down over them in the west; Gemmell Sails and LCC held them off and were overlapped rounding the bottom mark.
The breeze fell out again and allowed Gemmell Sails with the big-rig to extend again. Garde found another hole on this work and got dropped again. It held steady for the rest of the race, allowing Gemmell Sails a comfortable victory from LCC, then Hey Charger ahead of Garde.