Sail Port Stephens – Commodore’s Cup

Sail Port Stephens is a regatta in two halves, the first three days are taken up with the Commodore’s Cup, a three race series, one passage race per day. We were in Division 2 with 35 other boats 31 of which were bigger than us.

Elan 340 G-whizz
From left to right Graeme, Chris Lowe, Danni Birchall, David Leslie, Ann and John Anderson

We were fortunate to have some very experienced crew on board; Davis Leslie, John Anderson and Danni Birchall all off Umzimkulu 2 and Chris Lowe, Ann and myself from our own team.

The weather conditions were quite similar for the three races, winds averaging around 16 knots, but with some 20+ gusts and some holes down around 5 knots, rain on all three days, and a massive rain squall in Race 3 that announced itself with 25 knot winds followed by torrential rain for about ten minutes. Sail selection was bit of an issue, leaving the headsail choice until minutes before our start, on all occasions I went for the heavy number 1,  this sail gave us a bit too much power in the heavyish conditions and on some of the long works we were about 25 degrees off our target wind angles. In hind sight we should have changed sail, but after making a decision the conditions changed, only to return later. In the Performance cruising races we will be a bit quicker in pulling the trigger on a change.

The handicap system was bit of a lottery (with respect to the organisers, what else can it be in a 3 race series) with some massive changes from one race to the next. Our handicap results of an 8th and a 13th in the first two races kept us below the radar and gave us the opportunity the get a 4th in the third race, and a third overall. On scratch we finished 21st, 21st and 20th. Proving consistency does pay off.