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BIG BLOW

posted Feb 13, 2011, 3:46 PM by Mark Tobin   [ updated Feb 15, 2011, 9:47 PM by JBCYC Admin ]
Race 3 of the Summer Series saw a reduced fleet with the forecast for a southerly buster.  The morning started off well with warm weather and clear skies after the scorcher the day before, with complaints of the heat continuing until the southerly started to blow.  As the fleet of 14 boats headed out to the start line the wind was freshening from the south and the pre start manoeuvring saw more and more sail changes and reefs put in mainsails as the weather built.  By the start of the Division 2 race the wind was blowing between 20 and 25 knots when Paul & Joan Gooey and crew in their recently purchased Hutton 28 Matana opted for caution and pulled the pin, heading home satisfied to watch from ashore.  With minutes to go to the start of Division 1 race Chutzpah broke a backstay then the forestay, quickly dropping sails to save the rig, leaving 12 boats racing.  The winds continued to build as the race progressed with more boats opting to retire and save damage.  Vision of Couta Tah on its side with the difficulty of having to carry full sails with the lowering of the gaff having little effect and Rhythm ‘n’ Blues looking to save their equipment, left the hardy to fight it out.  Wind speeds of over 38 knots were reported as the fleet tore around the course with not a spinnaker in sight.  Al Leach in Tranquillity racing at alleged speeds of 15 knots plus, raced out to the most western mark of the course, S2, only to find it had been blown away.  The course was then shortened to exclude the mark and save others the trouble when the mark was likely lying on the rocks of Callala Point.  The big boats were relishing the heavy conditions with Neried making a gallant effort to stay in touch with Cougar seen surfing down waves at 13.5 knots.  With conditions becoming a real test, confusion amongst some boats, or was it just they’d had enough, saw Neried, Pleasure IV and Sea Change head for home.  The Navy’s Friendship opted for an early finish at Honeymoon Bay when the called they were heading home, Jim McDonald considering he had shown his younger crew members enough of the tough stuff.  Tranquillity was first home for Div 2 followed closely by Cougar for Div 1.  However, not all were happy upon finishing with Tony Byrnes ‘smarting’ after blowing his mainsail out on the last gybe before the finish.  Congratulations go out to all who toughed it out to finish on the day with great displays of seamanship.  A special mention goes to Macca on Sundowner, the smallest boat in the fleet at 24 feet, who not only finished the race but was the only other boat to head out to the fabled S2 mark off Callala Point to get some extra sailing in and confirm the report of Tranquillity that the mark had indeed blown away.
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