Oops number 1:
For some insane reason I thought that yesterday’s race was the last for the season, we were sitting in first place in the series, after a count back with John Veale and Hasta la Vista so I did all the calculations of where would need to be in this race to get a result that would keep us in the number 1 position in the series, we arranged for G-whizz’s bottom to be cleaned and were quite happy with the light wind forecast, we were to be a crew of four and I didn’t feel comfortable flying a spinnaker, the light wind and its direction meant that no spinnaker would not really be a disadvantage. Later on the Deck of Knowledge it was pointed out to me that there was still one race left in the series, Oops!
Oops number 2:
About one minute from the start I was maneuvering into a good position by the committee boat to be able to toss onto a port tack on the line, taking advantage of the huge bias in the line set, I was concerned about a later division boat that was getting caught up with us in the start, after giving that boat some convivial advice as to what they needed to do and do it quickly, I lost a bit of perspective and called starboard on Eau de Vie (the eventual leader, changed course to take their stern, called protest only to be politely advised that we we in fact the windward boat of two starboard tackers, as they were so polite I profusely apologised. Oops!
Oops number 3:
Running down the line we had the opportunity to push Eau de Vie over, but decided against it out of the guilty feeling induced from Oops number 2. Oops! Leading to:
After being the nice guy (should that read guilty guy) we found ourselves in a position where we would have difficulty getting above the pin end mark, which we didn’t in fact we picked the damn thing up on our rudder and took it for a drag. At this point we thought our race to be over and decided to try and get the mark back to it something approximating it original position. After a couple of 360’s and some judicious cursing and podding with a boat hook we did part company with the mark and probably got rid of some of the port bias out of the line. We then did another 360 just to make sure we exonerated ourselves and eventually started some six minute late.
Then it got better:
The bottom clean meant that G-whizz was sliding through the water nicely and the wind hovering in the 5 to 8 knot range put it right in our sweet spot. Being so late starting we had the entire fleet ahead of us and we were able to get a good reading on the wind further up the course.
We did a lot of tacking to stay in the wind, the whole crew were concentrating on sail trim, where the wind was and trying to keep in positions away from other boats to stay in clear air and avoid getting into a position where another boat’s stand on position would take control of our course, we really worked hard to be masters of or own destiny.
The wind stayed very much from just north of west which meant that on the course we were set there was really only one short run, between Spactacle Island to the Schnapper Island mark, so our non use of spinnakers was not really a disadvantage.
On the final leg from the Spectacle mark to the finish between the Balmain Sailing Club and Cockatoo Island we were able to out drag Hasta la Vista and get into second behind Eau de Vie, John (Hasta la Vista) set a symmetrical spinnaker but was really a bit too shy, our boat speed on the broad reach was quite a bit faster, John replaced the spinnaker with a big genoa, but by then we were satisfyingly a fair distant ahead.
For the last race let’s hope for less of the Oops and more of the better, we will need it to stay ahead in the series.