Yesterday evening was the second Twilight race of the new season at Greenwich Flying Squadron, fortunately the high teen forecast winds did not eventuate, while there were a couple of bullets in the 15ish knot range the wind setled to around 10 to 12 knots falling to almost nothing later in the race, stranding a few of the late runners in the slower divisions.
We were a bit short handed with only three on board, my concerns about tacking the big light weight number 1 genoa with Ann doing much of the work were alleviated on the first tack, a standard that was kept up all race. About the only negative with the short crew was an inability to quicky, easily and safely pole out the headsail on some of the square runs. We were fortunate that the wind stayed pretty constant and we had a bit of room to manoeuvre so it was possible to successfully gull wing by keeping the boat at or near correct wind angle to keep both sails full.
We had a great start which was due in part to me finally heeding the advice of Michael Groves the skipper of Agrovation, who has for a long time attempted to drum into me “Stay close to the line during the pre start”. Ironically the only other boat to hit the line at the gun was Agrovation. We got through most of Humbug (the stretch of water where the Lane Cove River joins the Parramatta River so named for its fickle winds) in the lead, however the boats behind were not only blanketing our wind but were bearing down onto us. I decided to gybe to not only get into some clear air but also to get a better angle on the wind on the reach across to Cockatoo Island. With the benfit of hindsight this may not have been the smartest move, going from the lead to mid field in the space of a few minutes. For the rest of the race we watched Agrovation move further ahead, while slowly pulling in the boats between us and Agrovation. The long work from the north westen corner of Cockatoo Island to south east of Goat Island gave us the oppurtunity to use the pointing ability of G-whizz to catch all but Izzi (Did I mention that Agrovation was getting further ahead in the lead?). We somehow were able to get past Izzi on the run back toward the Lane Cove river in the rapidly softening breeze.
For the second week Agrovation was first on scratch and handicap, with us second on both scratch and handicap, if we can keep this up all season we’ll be stoked, but I think the handicapper will very quickly catch up with both Agrovation and ourselves. As the season unfolds we’ll look more closely at our scratch results.
When Rob Humphries penned the Elan 340 he got something right. I often say that G-whizz is a better sail boat than we are sailors, she certainly flatters us with her performance. This is highlighted by the boats we race against in our twilight division, last evening the second smallest boat was a Jeanneau 36i about 3 foot longer than G-whizz, the biggest boat was a Hanse 400e.
As usual the comeraderie back at the Club was fantastic, with many staying late into the evening enjoying the balmy spring evening on the Deck of Knowledge.