Two Different Races

The first two twilight events at Greenwich Flying Squadron were two different races, race 1 was held in winds that varied between 8 to 20 knots with some gusts to over 25 knots,for  race 2 the maximum wind speed was  closing in on 4 knots but most of the time it was around 2 knots.

There were 48 yachts started race 1 in all divisions, a little down on a normal twilight but probably due to the predicted conditions and some not having their new season’s paper work in order. We were a little late at the start, a circumstance that was all my own doing, I could not make up my mind as to where I wanted to be on the start line compounded by a desire to keep a distance between ourselves and a coupe of other boats, I digress a little but there are a few boats in blue division that I will race very close to, they are quality yachts with quality crew and quality skippering, there are some I will not! My lack of a viable starting plan combined with taking avoiding action on some boats meant that we were last across the line, but with the number 3 and a reef the boat was handling the gusty conditions easily and we were about the fourth or fifth boat out of Humbug and in a strong third around Cockatoo Island, KoKo (Elan 37) and Aetos (Northshore 38) were way off into the distance.

We consolidated our third place on the reach down the Balmain/Birchgrove shore a little in the lee of the shore, I again made a poor decision, conned by the lower wind along the protected shore and shook out the reef the folly of this action was demonstrated as we rounded Birchgrove Point and were back into 15 to 18 knots with gusts over 20 knots, we sailed pretty much on the jib with the main trimmed for minimum power, just to keep her under control, needless to say some of the bigger heavier boats were able to run us down. on the broad reach from Goat Island to Greenwich Point were were able get one or two positions back, but were again overrun in Humbug as the boats behind came up on a strengthening Sou’wester. Race 1 was bit of an interesting baptism for the season but enjoyable all the same.

G-whizz looking for wind
Looking for the wind

We again missed the start in race 2 not for lack of effort and planning but due to an extremely unlucky wind shift, we were about 25 meters from the pin with about 90 seconds to go, the rest of he fleet were about 100 meters away, we started a 360 to kill some time but halfway through the wind shift quite a bit to the east leaving us in a hole and filling the sails of the rest of the fleet, we pretty much sat there and watched them start wondering what to do next. somehow we managed to get back to the fleet at Greenwich Point, but some of the front runners were already way out in the the Parramatta River. the picture  was taken by Jeff Lewis on Aurora and gives a pretty good indication of the conditions, you can see most of the crew with Michael hidden behind the headsail holding on to the forestay divining some wind.

Humbug carpark
A group of yachts going nowhere in Humbug Race 2

By the time we got to Goat Island we were up into second place, behind KoKo who was some distance ahead, but were listening on the VHF to all the boats retiring believing that they wold not make it to the finish before the 2015 cutoff, we too knew that we wouldn’t make it, but kept going in the hope that the predicted strong Nor’easter would kick in and get us home, this was not to be, the only consolation was that no one in our division made it. Out of the 62 yachts that that started only 10 all from the earlier starting divisions made it home in time.