Race 11 of the 2016-17 Season and third Heat of the Summer Point Score.   Warm and dry conditions prevailed in the boat park as 7 skiffs prepared for the final race of 2016, with the wind from the west and a high tide almost lapping over the edge of the sea wall, making for an impressive sight when looking out onto the bay but also an ominous sign for later in the day when the tide would be at full ebb.   It has been quite a while since we last held a race in a westerly, and as the day progressed conditions became hotter and dryer, while out on the harbour the breeze appeared to be anything but stable, with some skiffs delaying their choice of rig, and as it turned out all skiffs deciding on no.2 rigs.

The race got underway from a handicap start in Athol Bay on the no.5 westerly course (and, if the no.5 board is missing, then the no.2 board set upside down will substitute; no worries).  Conditions were quite challenging as the limit boats got away into light and fickle headwind, with the occasional sporadic gust emerging from the west or north-west, and a strong run-out tide impeding their progress to the first mark off Kurraba Point.   Britannia and Scot were first away followed closely by Tangalooma, The Mistake and Australia IV, and then a 10 minute gap before Aberdare started, albeit in a bit more wind pressure than was available for the limit boats.

Alruth emerged as the leader at the first mark for the long square run down to Point Piper, followed by Tangalooma, The Mistake, Scot and Australia IV, and some way back to Aberdare.  Unfortunately for Britannia they were caught-out by a sudden gust and change of wind direction half way up the first beat, and suffered a terminal fill-up.  The run down to Point Piper was long and slow, but on approach to the bottom mark the breeze filled in a bit from the south-west and the pace picked-up.

The Mistake was first to round at Point Piper for the beat back up to Kurraba Point followed by Tangalooma, Alruth, Australia IV, Scot and then Aberdare who had a fast run for the final section into the mark.  The Mistake led the way on a long port tack across to Athol Bay followed closely by Tangalooma, Alruth and Australia IV.  Aberdare and Scot also followed this line from well back.   As the lead skiffs sailed into Athol Bay conditions lightened off and once again became challenging with the lead group committed to work along the Mosman shore.  Aberdare sailed out of wind off Bradleys, tacked-off to make a long starboard leg across the tide towards Garden Island.  Alruth was first to round the Kurraba Point mark for the run to Clark Island followed closely by The Mistake, Tangalooma, Australia IV and Aberdare having made up time on the lead group, with Scot now well back, possibly under-rigged, and doing it tough in the light and fickle conditions.

Alruth led the way to Clark Island with the following skiffs closing up together as they approached and rounded the island.   The final beat back to the finish was a very challenging task with little wind, the odd sporadic gust and against an adverse tide.  Alruth continued on the same approach they had used all race, heading across to the Mosman shore followed by The Mistake, Australia IV and Tangalooma, while Aberdare went to the Garden Island shore.  As the skiffs converged to the finish Alruth emerged as the clear winner by just over 1 min from Aberdare, followed by Australia IV and The Mistake locked together, then Tangalooma.   Scot, having fallen well back, retired earlier rather than attempt the last 2 legs of the course.

With thanks to our on-water support team of Barley, Brian, Roy, Russell, Peter, Adrienne, Nancy, David, Louise, Felix, Chuck, Bill, Ian, David 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.


Results for Sat 17th December 2016.