Faffing around in little wind near the starting line, it was amazing to remember that earlier in the week the forecast had been for winds approaching 20 knots. Indeed the forecast was enough for Cap’n Charlie to decide that manoeuvring Wherever in and out of her berth was going to be too difficult. As it turned out, there would have been more wind blowing out of the Admiral’s hairdryer than was sweeping across the Harbour. Nevertheless, we were fortunate that Cap’n Billy and his First Mate, Chuck, stepped in to provide their expertise and an alternative starting boat, Killara. Some may have been surprised at the use of a whistle for sound signals, but the horn, like the wind, was found to be short of air.
With the wind breathing lightly from the West, it appeared a spinnaker start was possible so a few yachts prepared accordingly. Some, such as Crooz, decided to fly a headsail and keep their asymmetrical spinnaker hoisted but furled in readiness. On the other hand, Cap’n Duncan on One Mo’ Time, prepared his yacht and crew with a cunning plan to hit the line at speed with a full spinnaker. A headsail would therefore be superfluous.
Cap’n Bob with Helmsman Tony on Megisti Blue had a near-perfect start, begining only one second later than its allotted time. Cap’n Gary on Intro II, the scratch boat for this race, also had a very good start, only 15 seconds late.
Long-time yacht racers know that if you want to be competitive, you can expect to cross the line early from time to time, because it’s not easy to hit it always at optimum speed at exactly the right time. And so it was that Cap’n Peter on Crooz got caught by the trying conditions and crossed the start line 32 seconds before his allotted time.
There’s another old saying: it’s a good idea to check your handicap before the race. Could it have been that Cap’n Alan on Celete forgot, and that explained why he crossed the line early by well over three minutes?
These misdemeanours so puzzled the new starter that he didn’t advise either Crooz or Celete that they were OCS at their starts, so they were able to keep their little bonuses without penalty or disqualification.
As well as puzzlement at the early crossings of Crooz and Celete, the starter was also intrigued by One Mo’ Time’s apparent reluctance to start the race at all, and politely and subtly enquired if it was OMT’s intention to start any time that day. Cap’n Billy was assured that it was,indeed, OMT’s intention to start, once the bow could be pointed towards the line. This proved possible once the spinnaker was abandoned in favour of a headsail so that OMT could be tacked in about 2 knots of wind. Though she didn’t break her own record for slowest start, set back in Spring Race 1, the delay of just over 25 minutes meant One Mo’ Time had all in front of her.
Meanwhile, back in the real race ie, among those who had managed to start, Cap’n Gary on Intro II succeeded in keeping all behind him until the top mark, Lady Bay, where Cap’n Paul on Breva called water and was the first ’round. Intro II put up her asymmetrical spinnaker in response to the wind that by then had shifted considerably, and it was a tight contest to the shortened finish line for these two yachts, with Breva ultimately finishing 1 min 29 secs in front of Intro II. But these were the places for second and third.
Cap’n David on Martela, given the totally reasonable or unreasonable handicap (depending on your point of view) of 43 minutes, had decided to leave most of the crew behind so was travelling light in light winds. In consultation with Helmsman Glen, and considering the diminished crew numbers, it was also decided not to set a spinnaker at any time. Two wise decisions that paid off: Martela won the race by just under two and a half minutes. Crooz and the first three yachts finished within about four and a half minutes of each other – a close finish after two and a half hours of slow racing.
One Mo' Time finished reasonably well, especially considering her late start, but the next three yachts, Megisti Blue, Sapphire and Celete decided to keep the finishing boat on station a while longer. It was finally able to time the last boat over the line after nearly three and a quarter hours of racing.