Race 6 of the 2016-17 Season and Heat 6 of the Spring Point Score. Warm and humid conditions prevailed in the boat park where 7 skiffs prepared to make the critical rig choice for the afternoon’s racing. Whilst there was little breeze during the late morning there was some confidence that a good sea breeze would develop. All skiffs rigged with their no.2 mainsails; some carried a no.2 jib while others opted for a smaller no.3 jib.
The race got underway off Clarke Island from a handicap start on the no.1 NE Course, into a nice NE breeze of around 12 knots, flat water and the tide starting to run-in. Britannia and Tangalooma started together from the limit mark followed soon after by Alruth, The Mistake, Scot, then Australia IV off 9 mins, and finally Yendys off 2 mins. The NE breeze held on for much of the first beat to the Beashel Buoy, but towards the end it lightened off considerably slowing progress dramatically as the skiffs struggled to round the mark against the run-in tide.
Britannia led the way up the first beat but Tangalooma negotiated the last section better and was first to round the Beashel Buoy followed by Britannia, then Alruth, The Mistake, Scot, Australia IV and then Yendys. Australia IV had spinnaker pole issues approaching the Shark Island mark and had to drop their spinnaker. At the end of the downwind legs, the lead group was close together with Britannia the first to round the Clarke Island mark for the beat up to Chowder Bay, then Tangalooma, Alruth, The Mistake, Scot, Australia IV and Yendys.
The breeze at the bottom end of the course was back in play, but as the lead skiffs approached Taylor Bay and then Chowder Bay the wind pressure began to drop-out significantly, with the back markers taking advantage of the situation to close on the lead group. At the approach to the Chowder Bay mark all skiffs were locked together, quite a remarkable sight for those on the Rosman Ferry, with Alruth turning first ahead of The Mistake, Yendys, then Australia IV, Tangalooma, Scot and Britannia. The Mistake and Yendys carried peak-head spinnakers on the tight shy leg across to Shark Island and moved into the lead, with the breeze again fading away on approach to the mark.
The Mistake was first to the Shark Island mark and gybed immediately in barely any wind, while Yendys carried-on in search of better pressure. Alruth followed the course of The Mistake, and both skiffs eventually picked up some wind to keep moving towards the finish while Yendys “parked-up” in Rose Bay. Australia IV carried new breeze to the mark and sailed into 3rd place, followed by Tangalooma, Scot and Britannia. Yendys eventually found breeze to get underway and set a ringtail to draw back into 4th place. The Mistake, under ringtail, went on for a comfortable win from Alruth, then Australia IV, well clear of Yendys, then Tanaglooma just seconds ahead of Scot and Britannia under ringtail in 7th.
With thanks to our on-water support team of Barley, Nancy, Roy, Russell, Peter, Adrienne, Eva, David, Brian, Chuck, Felix, Bill and the rest of our tireless volunteers, along with the dedicated team at Rosman Ferries. We look forward to seeing you down at the Squaddie, next week.