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A great cocktail party follows a pleasant day of racing.

posted Nov 22, 2016, 12:02 AM by Rick Early   [ updated Nov 22, 2016, 11:09 AM ]

Race 5, sponsored by “Parkhaven Motor Lodge”, and the annual Commodore’s Cocktail Party was held last Saturday, 19th.  Wind conditions on the day were light to moderate resulting in some close and exciting racing.  There was a great battle for the lead throughout the race in division 1 and 3.  Saturday’s results have set up a 4-way contest for the Spring championship in division 1. The positions in all divisions will be determined this Sunday 27th, in the final race for the Spring series.

Saturday’s race got away cleanly with all boats timing their start well. In division 1 “Why Knot” had a slight lead while in division 2 “Laser 3” was in front of “Relentless”.  In division 3  “Sas Sea” was just holding out “Tranquility”. As things progressed “Sojourn 3” and “Friendship” slipped past “Why Knot”, while “Laser 3” and “Sas Sea” held their leads. The bottle of wine for rounding the windward mark (S1) first went to “Sojourn 3” (div. 1), “Laser 3” (div. 2) and “Sas Sea” (div. 3).

The next section was a long beat along the northern shore to H2 buoy at Longnose Point. With the relatively light conditions it was a toss up whether to chase wind shifts close to the shore or pressure further out.   Most boats chose to stay away from the shore but some ventured in. Over the course of the beat there wasn’t any real advantage in either tactic with positions remaining the same in all 3 divisions.  Around H2 “Sojourn 3” and “Tranquility” led divisions 1 and 3 respectively.  “Laser 3” was still heading divison 2 as they rounded H1 on the shorter course.

The leg down to A3 bouy (off Long Beach) was close to a square run. The light to medium wind meant this was an ideal section to launch a spinnaker. The boats that did, clearly had a competitive edge.  In division 1 “Friendship” (using a spinnaker}, soon went past Sojourn 3 (not using a spinnaker).  The pocket rocket ”Why Knot” (using spinnaker) came from about 10minutes behind to also haul in “Sojourn 3”. The non-spinnaker using Invincible suffered a similar fate with the two division 3 boats, that had spinnakers, catching her. In division 2 “Laser 3” did well to hold off "Relentless", which had a spinnaker.

From A3 it was a broad reach across to C2 buoy off Huskisson. With a spinnaker being less favourable “Sojourn 3” got back in front of “Why Knot” and was now after “Friendship”.  Further back things were hotting up; "Tranquility" had lauched her scretcher and was closing in on “Invincible”.  This created some neck issues for the one-time catamaran sailor Kevin Lord who was at the helm of “Invincible” (a monohull).  With “Tranquility” approaching so quickly Kevin was beginning to have second thoughts about his recent switch to monohulls. There were some desperate attempts to block and cover his arch-rival Al Leach, skippering Tranquility, but it wasn’t long before she got past.  “Sas Sea” wasn’t far behind but had to leave the race at C2 while the tide was still high enough to get back into Currambene Creek.

The reach from C2 back across the bay to A2 was somewhat tighter and the breeze had now increased to a steady 12 knots. These conditions favoured “Sojourn 3” and she started to close in on “Friendship”.  The gap got within a few boat-lengths by last mark but a well-set spinnaker on the downwind leg to the finish got “Friendship” to the line first, winning outright in division 1. The rest of the fleet were enjoying the fresher breeze too but this didn’t alter positions. Across the line, “Laser 3” finished ahead of “Relentless” in division 2 and “Tranquility” was a clear winner in division 3 – after the withdrawal of “Sas Sea”. The handicap honours went to “Why Knot” (division 1), “Laser 3” (division 2) and “Tranquility” (division 3).

The cocktail party “kicked off” after the presentation and was a fun and lively event. The cocktails were skilfully prepared by Pauline Churchward and enjoyed by all.  Kevin Lord’s music was a feature of the night and got people active on the “workshop” dance-floor.  The presence of some traffic cones led to some creative and entertaining displays of dancing. The Navy was well represented on the night by two young sailors who had crewed on Friendship. The night was big success and wound-up around midnight.

The race that was abandoned earlier in the season will be run this coming Sunday (27th). It’s the final race in the spring calendar and will determine championship positions. Division 1 will be particularly interesting with all four boats in contention.