We have been a bit tardy getting started this season, missing the first race of the Twilight season at GFS. We have had and followed a loose policy of not racing when there is a Strong Wind Warning in place for Sydney closed waters, there have been times when that policy was not followed, when we have had a full crew of experienced sailors on board or the forecast gave a definite indication that the warning was for a period that would end before or start well after the race period.
The forecast for the 10th of October included a strong wind warning for Sydney closed waters, while it indicated that the wind could abate somewhat around race time we would be a small crew of just Dianne, Ann and myself, it was a no brainier to leave G-whizz on her mooring. As it turned out it was obvious that the wind could be quite light by our start, at about 30 minutes before race time Ann and I discussed getting out there and racing with just a reefed main and with minimal starters in our division (Blue or Div 5) we were assured of a good result. Fortunately sanity prevailed and we stayed at the club and had another drink.
Race 2 was again held in conditions not typical of Sydney spring weather, a gusty nor’easter and rain. We had a crew of 4 and joined the other 7 seven starters. “Tom” (our cruising RFG) was on the furler and I thought it best to leave him there, especially as the wind was extremely variable ranging between 5 to 25 knots, the thinking being we could quickly shorten sail by furling the headsail. This decision dictated a fairly poor result with “Tom’s” pointing ability being some 10 to 15 degrees less than our racing headsails. A point driven home by a comment from Danni “If we had a racing Genoa up we would be pointing higher and going faster than those other boats”, we were all thinking the same thing.
The only way to get a result was to do thinsg differently to the fleet, this worked well enough on the very short course around Cockatoo Island and then to the finish, we sailed higher on the run out of humbug while being out of the tide on the Eastern shore and in bit of a wind shadow, we lost quite a bit of ground to the fleet but it gave us an angle where we could broad reach past Clarke’s Point to the North western corner of Cockatoo Is. at which point we were up with the 2 leading boats. The next navigational difference from the fleet was to take a course through the wind shadow of cockatoo Is. while this sort of worked by travelling substantially less distant than the fleet that stayed in the pressure we lost a place or 2. This left us with a work back to the finish, with our diminished pointing ability it was satisfying to finish where we did, some great crew work with Chris on the main and Danni and Ann working the headsail winches we were always well trimmed and lost nothing in the tacks and gybes.
All in all it was great to be back on the water after a long break and to finish a race in trying conditions without drama to or with boat and crew.