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posted Nov 23, 2012, 2:20 AM by Mark Tobin

Sunday saw the final race of Jervis Bay Cruising Yacht Clubs  Spring Series with several boats in contention for a series win in each of the 3 divisions.  The prediction varied between 10 to 20 knots and the BOM’s 15 to 25  knot nor’ nor’ east wind saw a course set toward Huskiison on the western side of the bay and return.  With the briefing over twelve boats headed for the start line and it wasn’t long before the gusts were exceeding the forecast and most boats opted for an early reef and small headsail.  With only two boats in Division 2 the starters chose a single start sequence to get all boats away together which turned out to be more challenging than expected.   As boats maneuvored for a start it became apparent the gusty conditions had intervened to almost simultaneously set the start boat and windward mark moving which saw the line position changing dramatically.   A first for the club, a moving start line.  The line ended up skewed to the east with the pin end favourable to the extent it ended up only about 100 metres from the S1 windward mark.  Alan Leach on Tranquility, who rarely misses a trick, picked up on the advantage quickly to take a handy lead in the race.  The angle of the start line was such that it couldn’t be crossed on a starboard tack course without tacking across the line.  Finally with all boats away the late to start Eve’s Delight, with Tony Byrnes at the helm, chasing hard behind followed the fleet on the short reach to the second mark before turning down wind.  The wind was still building and now in the high 20’s no one dared to fly a spinnaker in the blustery conditions.  Another quick jibe and boats raced toward the Huskiison turning marks with the wind now hitting 30 knots.  Tranquility, Cougar and Las Brisas pulled away in a close quarters sprint downwind reaching speeds of up to 12 knots only metres apart at times.  The tough conditions saw Craig Tookers boat Ripla damage the boom in a crash jibe and make an early run for home under motor.  Even Ron & Eileen Young on the start boat decided to pull up stumps and take the finish times from ashore as the wind and sea state continued to build.    The cause of the increasing wind became apparent as the storm clouds swirled overhead and the rain and hail started.  The radio was busy between the start boat and retiring yachts who had opted to pull out of the race.  Brian Saunders in Sea Change and John Lawrence in Sassea deciding against the work back to Callala and taking the shorter course straight back in to Currumbeen Creek.  Las Brisas followed after stalling trying to tack and deciding being blown onto Callala Beach wasn’t the best option.  The Navies Friendship and Alexander with Jim McDonald and Blue Timms, helming a boat each, revelled in the heavy conditions and gained on the leaders.  With boats at either end of the fleet out of sight of each other in the rainy conditions the radio call of the day came from Leeuwin’s crew member Carmel Edwards asking “Are we done yet, are we still racing!”  With gusts reaching 38 to 39 knots the lead boats continued to the upwind mark with the Navy yachts closing all the time.  With no reprieve in sight from the weather there was a decision made to shorten the course at the next mark and let the boats head for home rather than another 3 miles.  First across the line was Cougar followed by Tranquility and Alexander.   Five of the twelve boats retired leaving 7 finishers on the day who had weathered the storm.  An exciting day and there were plenty of stories after the race over the well deserved hot BBQ sausage sandwiches.  Handicap winners of the race on the day were Alexander in Division 1, Leeuwin in Division 2 and Tranquility in Division 3. 

Spring Series Overall Winners:  Division 1 Cougar.  Division 2  Leeuwin.  Division 3 Tranquility