The day didn’t look all that promising. Overcast skies, a shower or two overnight and in the morning, and the early start due to the end of daylight saving, were all incentives to stay in bed. On the upside, there was a reasonable 15 knots of wind forecast from the SSE, and with slightly inclement weather, there were likely to be less boats on the Harbour to avoid.
Cap’ns Carl and Richard, on Blue Sky and Sapphire respectively, had somehow found other things to do, both related to activities originating many years ago. This robbed the latter of an opportunity to lead the rest of the fleet round the course, or at least over the starting line. That left seven other yachts in the contest of which three, Intro II, Celete and Breva, starting on 5, 6 and 7 minutes respectively, engaged in some close racing as they reached down past the Bradleys Head SWM and off to Manly.
There was a flooding tide and a large swell coming through the Heads that caused yachts to take various courses, including Crooz that always seems to want to head to NZ when she gets a chance (see earlier report). She was not alone. In these conditions, Manly ferries, fast and otherwise, on both outward and inward journeys, tend to take a longer route towards the Heads to avoid the worst of the incoming swell. And so it was this day. It appeared at one stage that Cap’n Peter was engaged in a water ballet with said ferries as they and Crooz tried to find a suitable passage and avoid each other.
One Mo’ Time was blessed with a large crew for the day, which ensured sufficient hands and heads were available for almost all tasks. The exception was the task of navigation which resulted in OMT rounding an extra mark at the Manly end of the course. The only cost was lost time, but the fleet was so spread out that it didn’t really matter – or did it?
There was some concern that our newest addition to the fleet, Intro II, in the hands of Cap’n Gary, had also been confused about marks at the Manly end. However, he later assured all that this wasn’t the case, though did admit at the post-mortem that he was at least in the region of the Eastern channel mark, albeit he may not have actually rounded it. With generosity typical of the Commodore and Vice-Commodore, but principally because it didn’t affect results, he was allowed this error (once).
The last starter on the day was Martela which, robbed of her usual starting partner, Blue Sky, had the task of solely hunting down all other yachts. Martela failed to catch Cap’ns Paul and Peter on Breva and Crooz which had coolly taken first and second place. But Martela was determined to pass One Mo’ Time in order to finish on the podium. Cap’n Duncan realised a fight was imminent when Martela tacked to make Shark Island while OMT was dealing with a wind shift that was taking her further from the Shark Island AS mark. One Mo’ Time rounded that mark well ahead of Martela, but the final leg had both boats testing each other in the race to the finish, with at times barely a metre between them. Ultimately, Helmsman Glen on Martela prevailed, but not before these two, duelling yachts provided those on the finishing boat with a great spectacle.