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Race 2 Spring Series – Blown away!

posted Oct 22, 2013, 3:54 AM by Mark Tobin

Race 2 of the JBCYC Spring Series and the day dawned bright and sunny with no sign of the forecast gusty westerly’s.   With an almost unanimous vote at the race briefing that we should all join the sponsor, Tony Byrnes of JB Yachting, cruising and racing in the South China Sea it was back to reality as crews took to the boats to ready for the start.  With a lovely 8 to 10 knot nor’easterly blowing 14 boats across the 3 divisions presented on the start line for the ‘all in’ one start of the race.  Almost on cue the breeze dropped out shortly before the start and commenced to oscillate from the north to the east with ‘cats paws’ developing between the line and the first bottle of wine opportunity for the first boat in each Division around the S1 windward mark.  As the gun went the left hand end of the line, usually the pin end, was crowded, with a clowder of ‘Cats’ poised to pounce, much to the relief of the boats on the remainder of the line, unfortunately caught amongst them was Shane Firkin’s Quintessence struggling for air and it took a deal of pushing and shoving before he could extricate himself.  Cleaning up the wine at S1 was the Lawrence’s in Sassea for the multi’s, stand in skipper Chris Capel on Rock Hopper in Div.2, and Mark Tobin’s Cougar for Div.1.  The dash to the C2 mark off Myola with the northeaster continuing was square enough for Pete O’Reilly on Fuzzy Logic to decide on running the angles, with the remainder of the fleet running square, a brave move allowing Fuzzy a clear lead at the second mark.  By this time the wind had started to kick in and there was no chance of holding a kite around to C3 with many a round up and nasty kite drop observed from the fleet.  As the pressure built the cats started to close on the leaders with one of the few to fly a kite to the mark in the corner of Collingwood Beach, Vincentia, Mick Linhart’s Manly Too, holding out a charging Leach family on Tranquility.  The breeze went a little haywire for a while after that with wind dropping out to 6 or 7 knots, swinging from north to south and then gusts of 20 plus from the west heralding the change with the hot air being the final tell tale.  The Division 2 boats struggled in the gusty conditions and Paul Gooey’s Matana eventually suffering gear damage had to pull out of the race.  That wouldn’t be the last of it as the wind built into the 30’s, the early signs being the Cats accelerating across the bay from Vincentia straight across to the Longnose Point mark, proof enough.  Division One, having the long course, had the run to the Creswell marks before turning toward the northeast to finally start the blast back home and the gybe at the bottom mark took its toll on Manly Too, with the gusting wind bending the boom.  Undaunted by the incident the valiant crews efforts to make running repairs ended with further disappointment with damage to the gooseneck forcing their retirement.   The wind continued to build  to well above the forecast strength and it was reef or bust as the fleet rushed towards Longnose Point.  The Cats were first around Longnose after their shortcut with Cougar in hot pursuit making for some fun and games in the passing maneuvors with many a roundup making for anxious times for all.  The wind was hitting the mid 30 knots range by the time boats had turned for the finish line, with gust touching the 40’s and more boats opted for the a safe run home with Shambhala and Sea Change calling their retirement.  Seamanship rather than racing skills were now the prime consideration with the eastern side of the bay coping the brunt of it because of the lengthy fetch.  As Cougar closed on the finish line a call was necessary to establish the location with the poor visibility but there in the shelter of Callala Bay were Ron and Ilene still anchored in JB1 and on station for the finishing fleet.  First over for Div.1 was Cougar, followed by Tranquility for Div.3 and David and Pauline Churchward’s Motion in Div.2.  Full credit to the skippers and crews for toughing out the race to the end and those who gave it their best, 9 out of 14 boats finished, well done to all. 

Handicap Results:

Division 3: 1st Tranquility 2nd Las Brisas

Division 2: 1st Motion  2nd Rock Hopper

Division 1:  1st Fuzzy Logic 2nd Cougar