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Close finishes and daring costumes a highlight of forward hand and lady's day races

posted Dec 20, 2016, 7:39 PM by David Churchward   [ updated Dec 21, 2016, 1:24 AM ]

The Tahmoor Rural forward hand and lady’s day races were held last Sunday 17th.  Handicap starts were used for both races which lead to some exciting finishes. The day was concluded with a fun- filled Christmas party. 

The day started with sailors gathering at the club in a variety of Christmas outfits. The characters ranged from a (R) Christmas elf to a naughty tinsel-clad, country and western Mrs Claus. The Christmas elf suit left nothing to the imagination and showed that age is no barrier to virility. Mrs Claus showed “flashes” to another side of her personality. There were many other eye-catching outfits that were a source of amusement and entertainment.

On the water the day got underway with the ladies race. The gusty NW wind (10 – 25 knots) made it quite challenging for the ladies that don’t helm regularly. Most boats dealt with the gusty wind by reefing sails, while some took license with the word helmslady and interpreted it as helmsladdy. This resulted in some extremely unattractive women at the wheel, some even with beards. On one particular boat the wheel was handed back to the regular helmsmen right at the start; this was done after the sails had been heavily reefed to suit the intended helmslady (“Sojourn 3”).  Needless to say this boat had a sluggish first leg. The handicap starts helped eliminate congestion at the start line.

All boats were sailing well in gusty conditions.  “SasSea” was probably the standout, quickly moving to the front of the field and establishing a substantial lead.  Unfortunately “Tranquility” suffered a torn mainsail which didn’t stop her, but “put the brakes on” her performance.  “Motion” was having a very comfortable ride with her mainsail and headsail “well” reefed.  In post race proceedings the owner joked about this and referred to his boat as “Slow Motion”.  “Friendship” and “Sojourn 3”, that started last, were gradually working the way up the position rankings. The smaller boats – “Laser 3”, “Relentless”, “YKnot” and “Matana” were doing particularly well considering there were wind gust up to 25knots.

The highlight of the first race was the finish. On the second last leg “Friendship” and “Sojourn 3” had started to close in on “SasSea”. Round the last mark SasSea was still in front but “Sojourn 3” and “Friendship” were within striking distance.  About 50m out from the line “Sojourn 3” was a boat length from “SasSea” and “Friendship” was right on “Sojourn 3’s” stern.  “SasSea” held out to finish half a boat length in front.  “Friendship” just pipped “Sojourn 3” on the line. Finishes in the remainder of the fleet were close too.

The second race (forward hand’s) was a little more comfortable as the wind had eased a few knots. Once again “SasSea” got out to a commanding lead and appeared uncatchable. Further back the remainder of the fleet were gradually coming together. This was highlighted in the rounding of the 3rd last mark; with 5 boats reaching the mark at roughly the same time. The rounding was exciting but without incident. The last two legs were almost Deja vu of the first race with “Sojourn 3” rapidly closing in on “SasSea”.  After rounding the last mark SasSea still had about 200m on “Sojourn 3”. This set up a good battle to the finish line. Adding to the fun, “Yknot”, “Friendship” and “Relentless” and “Tranquilty” were picking up some better breeze and closing in.  “SasSea” managed to cross the line about a second in front of “Sojourn 3”, while “Y Knot”, “Friendship”  “Relentless” and “Tranquility” were not far behind.  “Matana” crossed shortly after, followed by “Motion”.  The close finishes really made the race and were a testament to the handicapper’s skill.

Prizes on the day went “SasSea” and “Friendship” in the first race and “SasSea” and “Sojourn 3” in the second. Best dressed boat went to “Matana” while best dressed person went to Joan Gooey (Mrs Claus} closely followed by the Bill Dicker (Christmas elf}.

The annual Christmas party got underway at about 6 o’clock with a great spread of food and live music provided by Kevin Lord.  It was an enjoyable way to conclude the 2016 part of the season.  Special thanks go to Pat and Kylie Grogan for providing an amazing selection of cakes for sweets.

Next race is the Seawind Cup which will be held on the January 14th 2017.

Written by Rick Early