With odds that can only be matched by the Raffle of Ten Meat Trays and Jackpot Cash Prize starting at 6:30pm every Thursday at the Blues Point Hotel, the first three places in Race 4 were won by yachts with blue hulls: Martela (1st), Blue Sky (2nd) and Celete (3rd). So the first boat starting, and the last boats starting were all on the podium – a great result.
With our starting boat “Wherever” unavailable, a radio start again had to be employed. This gave the starter some anxious moments due to a less than ideal signal from his radio and another club using the same frequency to direct buoy setting during our starting sequence. But using our back-up systems (a secondary hand-held thanks to Cap’n Pete, and yelling from boat to boat), the start was achieved.
The course was as expected: with a northerly forecast and up to 80 gaffers racing mostly in the lower harbour, Manly West and East were the obvious choices for top marks. This worked well, with little crossing of the gaffers’ paths. Mind you, a few other classes gave us some interesting moments but our fleet remained unscathed. In the work to Manly, different yachts chose some quite different paths in a shifting breeze. Celete was well ahead there, followed by Martela, Blue Sky, Sapphire, Megisti Blue and Crooz. Blue Sky, in particular, came storming down, catching and passing Sapphire to windward within 100 metres of Manly West.
There was, of course, the race within the race, with Cap’n Pete helming Sapphire and wife, Cap’n Jen, helming Megisti Blue. Cap’n Pete knew Cap’n Jen had the faster boat, so he had just to rely on evil cunning. Sure he allowed Cap’n Jen to get away at first, but that was just a smokescreen. Tacks and crosses ensued before Cap’n Pete took the big gamble and pointed towards NZ, passing East of Sow and Pigs, while Cap’n Jen held her course West of Sow and Pigs. Sapphire won the race to Manly, but good helming and pushing the advantage of having a spinnaker, meant that Cap’n Jen remained a threat until a nasty wind hole decided to play tricks with Megisti’s progress.
In a neck and neck race to Shark Island between Crooze and Sapphire, Cap’n Peter on Crooze also chose to use its superior weapon, ie a spinnaker, to great advantage. But again employing evil cunning, apparently learned long ago from Cap’n Dunc, Cap’n Pete on Sapphire cut close to Clark Island at the finish and crossed the line seconds ahead of Crooze at the buoy end.