Race 8 of the 2016-17 Season and final Heat of the Spring Point Score.  Ideal weather for sailors and spectators with sunny skies and the predicted nor’easter settling in by late morning, along with plenty of action in the boat park where 7 historical 18s and a large group of 12ft skiffs rigged in anticipation of a great day’s sailing on Sydney Harbour.   The expectation was the Nor’easter would freshen and 6 skiffs with the exception of Alruth rigged conservatively with reefed no.2 mainsails and no.3 jibs, while Alruth carried their full size no.2 mainsail.

The race got underway from a handicap start off Clark Island on the no.1 NE Course, into a solid NE breeze and the early stage of a run-in tide.  Britannia off 15 mins was first away with a 2 min gap to Tangalooma, then 1 min to Alruth and Scot (possibly running a bit late?), The Mistake off 10 and Australia IV off 8 and eventually Aberdare off scratch (after a quick detour to a nearby pontoon to tidy-up the lashing on the reef in their sail).   The skiffs made good progress on the beat down to the Beashel Buoy sailing on reasonably flat water, with Tangalooma the first to round ahead of Britannia, then Alruth, The Mistake, Australia IV, Scot and a gap back to Aberdare.

Britannia set a ringtail on the first run and soon made up time on Tangalooma, and then took over the lead for the run to Clark Island.  The remaining skiffs made good time on the downwind legs, closing up on the 2 leaders and setting the scene for an interesting 2nd lap.  Britannia was first to round the Clark Island mark for the beat up to Chowder Bay, with the breeze having now freshened considerably.   Britannia continued to lead the way to Chowder where they rounded ahead of Tangalooma, then Australia IV, Aberdare, Alruth, The Mistake and Scot.

Britannia held a good lead after the shy run to Shark Island and smart crew work had the new spinnaker and then ringtail up and setting in quick time.   Aberdare ran into 2nd place on the run to the island, and after the gybe eventually put up their ringtail to set off after the Britannia, while Tangalooma made the Australia IV team work hard to get over them after the gybe.   There was plenty of breeze to push the skiffs down the final run, with Aberdare able to sail a low course and slide through to leeward and snatch the lead from Britannia in the final stage of the run to take the gun by just 10 secs.   Australia IV finished in 3rd place 45 secs ahead of Tangalooma, then a gap back to Alruth and The Mistake, and finally Scot who put in a great effort to complete the course sailing short-handed and with a change of skipper.

Tangalooma and Alruth finished the day tied on 23 points for the Spring Point Score, with the final outcome decided by count back and going to Tangalooma (ie. more first placings than Alruth) – well done.

With thanks to our on-water support team of Chuck, Stu, Roy, Pierre, Peter, Adrienne, Louise, Alison, Nancy, Bill, Ian 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.