I thought that we might have done a little better in last evening’s finale to the GFS twilight spring series, but I am still very satisfied with the result, both in this race and the spring series overall. The conditions started as predicted in 6 to 10 knots of east to south east dropping of to virtually nil as the evening went on. These are our conditions in which we normally do well. After getting to the boat early to refit the repaired main sheet cam cleat that suffered a broken spring the previous Saturday, I picked Ann up from the pontoon quite early and we went for a motor down to Goat Island to check out the winds, this was done at about 6 to 7 knots, it has been suggested that the soft (ablative) anti-foul that Michael Bartly applies to G-whizz will quickly clean itself after a short time of travelling through the water at around 6 knots. I can believe that suggestion as later on the boat was slipping through the water like she had just been cleaned.
Twilight 29th Nov 2017, we passed in front of that group, with room to spare. Photo John Mackay
Our start was not not as good as recent times, I think I psyched myself out when having decided that we should start towards the clubhouse end of the line, a couple of the crew reminded me that the last two times we had tried this maneuver we were OCS, with that comment playing merry hell with my grey matter I went conservative and we missed the start by about 10 to fifteen seconds, putting us mid field from the start. however G-whizz and the crew did not let us down and we were in third position by the time we exited Humbug , albeit by a fair margin behind the usual suspects of Agrovation and Worlds apart. It was pleasing to be able to match their speed and point about 10 degrees higher than them and by the time we got into Snails Bay we were a little ahead Worlds Apart and had to duck to take the stern of Agrovation in a port/starboard.Unfortunately that was as close as we got, we missed a shift that the other two picked and by the time we got to Goat Island we were again well behind both of them. (The photo shows us on the final work up to Goat Island incredibly we were able to pass in front of that gaggle of starboard tacking green division boats, steering from the low side for safety reasons.)
On the run from Goat Island back to Humbug the fickle winds enabled us to stay lower than the the boats that were ahead of us and I thought that we would be able to stay low around Long Nose Point (Birchgrove) and have an advantageous angle to to sail into Humbug, that’s the way it turned out, we had passed Worlds Apart and were quickly running down Agrovation, talking later at dinner both the crew of G-whizz and Agrovation were sure that we would pass them. That was until one of the crew of Agrovation (seemingly they are all either current, past or aspiring championship winning dinghy sailors) spotted a wind anomaly close to Greenwich Point, normally in any wind that has even a hint of east in it the area to the west of Greenwich Point is a huge wind shadow, but last evening there was wind there, Agrvation took it, Worlds Apart took it we didn’t and we just could not keep up with them.
As we struggled through Humbug the rest of the fleet come up onto our stern in a (briefly) freshening easterly, I thought we would be over run, but somehow we were able to find what pressure was available and by the time we finished minutes behind Agrovation and Worlds Apart the rest of the fleet was still languishing in Humbug.
It was a satisfying result, a third on scratch and a fourth on handicap meant that we finished the Spring series in third place on both handicap and scratch, symmetry to the finsh. Pretty good for a boat that is almost four feet shorter than the next smaller boat and regularly short crewed. Thanks to Dianne, Graham, Chris, Ann and the occasional refugee off Umzimkulu 2, Danni and Joely who have made this a really great series result.