Yesterday’s GFS Saturday point score race was not one of our best, it started out in not unusual pattern, we were only a crew of three, Robert , Ann and myself. As has become the norm recently some of our regular crew were travelling, attending to work or family matters and were unable to join us. The winds were predicted and were in the mid teens, the sail choice was the number 3 jib and a full main.
As I like to do when we are short crewed in freshish winds I started fairly conservatively hitting the line a few seconds behind the other boat and then immediately tacked onto port, this proved to be a good move as we were right up with the leaders. Until we had to take Blue Chip’s (An indecently fast and well sailed Robinson 950) stern in a starboard/port situation. We started our “ducking” maneuver early with Rob easing the main sheet as we turned down wind. then embarrassment, something happened with the sheet, it jammed! The outcome was that I was unable to steer any lower and we were rapidly approaching the stern port quarter of Blue Chip, Fortunately Malcolm on the helm of Blue Chip was quick thinking enough to quickly turn hard to port, Blue Chip pivoted on her keel giving us a clear passage and the race remained non contact.
The look on Mal as he hailed protest was one of a combination of revenge, surprise and relief, later on after apologizing and talking to the Mal and his crew I was told that the look on our faces was a sight to be seen. We were in the clear at this point and we took our obligatory 720 immediately, from then on we were more interested in having a nice sail as there was no way that we were able to catch the leaders, especially as we were not flying spinnakers.
The day was made a little more interesting with the arrival of the middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Seven Island Race, all flying spinnakers, just to add to the normal congestion in the area east of Cockatoo Island.
On reflection neither Rob or I understand what happened, but coincidentally a spring controlling one of the cams in the main sheet cam cleat had broken, it is hard to make the connection that this had anything to do with our embarrassment but why do these things happen? – that’s sailing I guess.