Last evening’s twilight was race in 2 totally different sets of conditions. The course started as usual outside of the GFS Club House proceeded through Humbug did a lap of Cockatoo Island then around Goat Island back to another loop of Cockatoo then through Humbug to the finish outside of the Club. (See area Map). The wind in the area from the start to the area off Manns Point averaged about 8 knots, with the occasional gust to 12 knots. The area east of there had wind averaging about 15 knots with gusts to over 20 knots. If we had one more crew member I probably would have done a couple of sail changes, but as it was it was prudent to run with one sail, in this instance we chose “Bas” the #3. This decision meant that for about half the race we were properly rigged, for the other half we were seriously under canvassed. Due to the sheeting angles on Bas G-whizz can point quite a bit higher in most winds, but on anything but close hauled the lack of sail area really hurts.
This was a night for the bigger boats that can carry more canvass in these conditions, so it was pleasing to be able to lead for a substantial part of the race, only to be run down by some bigger heavier boats as the race progressed. There is one boat in the fleet “French Connection” a Jeanneau Sunshine 36 from the 1980s, she is incredibly quick, and well sailed she also seems to be able to carry a lot more sail in bigger winds than G-whizz. French connection just out dragged us on the last run from Long Nose point to Cockatoo Island, putting us back into 4th.
A sail change would have substantially improved our position, but as it was not to be, we finished where we finished, still a great result and a credit to the crew of Ann, Graham and Chris(2), and another great evening’s sail.
This race was also the last of the Summer Twilight season on which I would like to comment on the scoring system. While I do hold to the adage that if you don’t want to do the handicapping, don’t criticize the handicapper. But I am not too sure as to how to take the scoring system. In race 4 we retired due to our in involvement in an incident (To the Rescue). we were given 5 points as redress on the night. Supposedly our average which after the results of the previous three, a 1, a DNC 15 (which would be a drop) and a 5. Including the potential drop the average would be 7, not including the potential drop the average would have been 3. To confuse the matter further the score given to us for that race in the scratch results was 5.8 which is an average of all our results for the series, including the drop, while the drop is not included in the total score. This may sound like bit of a moan, it probably is, but it is to my mind not only a little confusing but also it somehow seems a little unfair to G-whizz and her crew.
We do not race for sheep stations, unless Julian Todd of Back Vintage Wines puts that value on his marvelous sparkling wine, one of a number of different prizes awarded, and Twilight racing is more of a social affair. We all do have a competitive component in our make up, most of us give the results some regard. Given the score that we were awarded for redress I still would not have hesitated in assisting our fellow sailors. I do muse however if the stakes were higher and some one else was involved would the outcome have been the same. A final comment; if the penalty should fit the crime, some might say that we got a dud rap. Rant over, don’t abuse me too much – thanks.