We made it back into the boatshed a week before racing but it did not end there. During the week we still had last minute jobs to finish including some varnishing and building up the mast step. As with all projects, it ran up to the last possible minute. Robert Tierne was still working at 10 am on Saturday to finish off the last bits.
We pushed out into the park to rig and then the fun began. Where was everything? We found fittings in boxes, bags and on shelves. All moved since we stripped the boat in June. It took about half an hour to locate the runners. They ended up in a bag buried in Myra Too. How they got there is, and will remain a mystery. Two spinnaker sheets were missing so we had to jury-rig sheets. They later turned up under some sail bags.
Putting up the mast for the first time (the step had only been completed that morning) turned into an issue. Some slight adjustment to the timber with an angle grinder solved the problem for now. We finally got onto the water a bit later than we would have liked, but in one piece.
I had expected a few teething problems but my concerns were unfounded. Nothing broke or even gave cause for concern. We missed the start after a misunderstanding with the start boat. The race was delayed. As I sailed past the start boat they shouted “Fifteen minutes”. I took it to be the delay but they must have been calling out our handicap. When I arrived back at the boat fourteen and a half minutes later the race was four and a half minutes on.
We played with the additional adjustment on the fin case and once we found the sweet spot the boat sailed well. On the third last leg, a spinnaker run from Shark Island to Kirribilli, we were catching Britannia and looked like we would get a third in spite of the missed start. Unfortunately just as we approached the mark, the spinnaker ripped and we lost about 10 minutes retreiving the kite and getting the poles down. By that stage, Brit was long gone, and Scot had also passed us.
The verdict on the restoration? Extremely happy with all the work that has been done. The boat felt solid, and nothing relating to the restoration failed. Just a sail that was a bit old and tired. We are looking forward to a solid season. We have a crew with a number of people who only started sailing in the last year or two. During the last season we invested time in moving them about the boat to learn different skills , so we hope to clock up a few top three finishes this year. Those new people have also committed many hours to restoring the boat. Together with the old hands – John, Coral, Con and I – and our the tremendous effort from Robert Tierne, we look forward to a great season, and many more to follow.
Can’t wait for next Saturday.