A Brand New Season

The 2020 – 2021 official sailing season opened last night with the first of the Autumn twilight races. It all seemed a bit strange in these brave new COVID times, while we can race with (for most boats) full crews, there is no post race function and no pre or post race socialising, There was an eerie silence about the place, especially later in the evening when the sounds of around 200 partying souls can normally be heard up and down the Lane Cove river, all that could be heard last night was the lapping of the water. We decided to go straight back to the mooring after finishing and have some nibbles and drinks on board before taking the crew back to the Club pontoon for disembarkation and departure. All very nice and convivial but no replacement for aforementioned 200 partying souls.

Elan 340
Struggling at the back of the fleet after a less than perfect start, G-whizz at left.

The race itself was a painful affair with light to non existent winds and when there was any pressure the shifts were huge and very hard to pick, at one stage we needed to tack to avoid a couple  of starboard tackers only to have at the very same time a shift of over 90 degrees that enable us to change course without tacking or trimming. This one piece of good fortune gave us a huge advantage over the fleet and make up the deficit we were carrying because of a very poor start. Speaking of the start we were probably the last boat in the entire fleet to leave Humbug, I thought we were in a great position but fell into a hole and sat there watching the rest of the fleet go by. I’ve been caught by this particular wind shadow before and you would think that I would learn!

elan 340 G-whiz
Heading towards Greenwich point with a lot of the fleet now behind us.

As it transpired we were able to catch and  pass a number in our fleet and beat all but one boat in Green division, the division that sails the same course but starts 10 minutes ahead of us. The work that has just been completed on the keel seems to have paid of, she is really sliding through the water nicely.

We had one embarrassing moment when we trying to pinch along the western shore of Humbug with very little speed, we tacked out and not only fell into irons but also became a speed bump for Martin Kluckow on “Rex”, Martin quite rightly called “Starboard” to which I had to reply “No Steerage”, Martin thoughtfully and in good humour responded with “We’ll tack”. Thank you Martin and congratulations on winning your division.

It’s great to be back sailing twilights but without the social side happening it’s a bit like a healthy body but somehow some of the soul is missing, hopefully it will return soon.

Thanks to Jeff Lewis for posting the photos to face book.