Race 6 of the Audi Winter Series
jT - cool rain and very light winds
06/03/2012, Sydney Harbor
Crew: (Doug, Chris, Luke, Yvette, Dan , Damian Jeff )
It was a wet weekend and a wet start to the six race of the winter series. The wind was predicted to be very light, so with more crew wanting to race than we could take the last to respond had to be axed. We have a guest start on board, welcoming back Damian for his first race since the Hobart. Good to catch up and enjoy the cold drizzle.
Lining up at the start, it was a gentle drift under sail. We approached the start boat on port and just passed behind four boats jockeying for position. Ghosting along at 2 knots we were set for a good start, when over my should a huge shadow appeared. Brindabella floats over us, a moving wind shadow! We virtually stop as she glides by. With forward motion almost stopped, and a real threat of drifting into the start boat, we have to tack just before the line. The poor boat besides us, Wallop get's caught out with us on Starboard and has to tack alongside us as we scream by them at ½ a knot. Plenty of time for a chat, finding out they are 30 minutes late for the start with the light winds (Etchells don't have motors!) With a chat done, we tack away and both find some wind to start us down the course to the first mark.
As we near the first mark, beyond Clark Island, a pod of Dolphins breach off the bow! This is the first time I've seen dolphins in the harbor, luck charm as they say. We see a few of our division at the mark and pull right behind HubcapII just after the mark. They turn straight for the next mark, but I've seen the boat's further along parking just beyond Clark Island. We head out into the channel a bit and then turn down to the mark. Four boats have just stopped nearer the island and we barely keep moving in the light air. Circe is just in front of us and we have a bit of a chat about the weather, wind and what's for dinner as we barely pass them.
At the Bradley Head mark, we chase between Inkonkoni (a different division) and Hubcap. Hubcap had caught some breeze and came up to the mark just before us for the second time. We set our pole and slowly pull between and ahead of the two boats. The breeze seems to shift and we start to tack, but fall behind Hubcap and have to return to our original tack. Hubcap stays just in front of us, but tends out into the channel, with the tide just coming in, I keep us closer in and we end of taking them by the mark. It seemed to have taken forever for this downwind leg, but with a quick drop of the pole we harden up around the mark and start back up the harbor.
This leg is a princess run. We catch every wind shift and lift to sail a fairly straight path up the harbor compared to our competition. We take several minutes out of Hubcap, now too far behind to track. We catch Star Ferry as she is coming for the last mark, with us on Starboard we force her to tack and take our line. Holding her off just until we line up for the Shark Island mark, we take directly for it and Star Ferry drops a bit more behind. We are in good company (fast boats in other divisions when we push for the finish line) but still haven't seen two of our competitors, yet! Over the line with no horn I figure we are around third. Not bad for a very light air day!
Back at the club, we are surprised with a 2nd place! Amazing how good the rum and coke tastes! Looking over the times, L'eau Co. took first by three minutes, but just completed the course 9 seconds faster than us. With her losing a minute for taking first we should be well sorted to vie for line honors when we resume racing in two weeks. Kirsty and I will be off for the long weekend, taking the dogs with us to the Hunter for some wine and good food.
Funny PS to this day, as Doug is helping me cast off for the trip back to Lavender Bay, I notice a sharp, black Burberry jacket in the cabin. I assume it's Yvette's and Doug takes it with him to return to it's owner. After mooring the boat, I get a text from Doug... the owner of the sexy little number is found... but not Yvette, it belongs to Chris! Guess I'll have to take a better look at the fashion's left on board and stop assuming ...
Nemmy had a few quotes in this week's CYCA write-up: http://www.cyca.com.au/newsDetail.asp?key=5690
Race 5 of the Audi Winter Series
jT - sunny and moderate winds
05/27/2012, Sydney Harbor
Crew: (Doug, Chris, Luke, Yvette, Manuel , Jeff )
(Guillermo have a great trip to Spain and see you on your return!)
We all staggered on board to a sunny winters day. Brisk temperature with consistent southerly winds from the south, due to be building over the afternoon. The crew prepped the boat while I fussed around with the course in the GPS. Last week the course was trying to start mid-course, so some gentle coaxing and a few choice words later all was fixed.
We motor over past the start line, with course "A" being declared. This is the most common course of the winter series, so we know it quite well. The tide was due to be high around an hour after our start so we shouldn't see too many tidal effects until late in the race.
Hoisting the main and #2 jib in Rose Bay, we heel over in the 18 knot breeze. Full main and #2 is a good balance. The #2 jib is one of the oldest on the boat, and it had to be re-cut quite high in the foot (in a Yankee sail style to get rid of some sun damage from a previous owner rolling it the wrong way with the sun protection furled INSIDE the sail). Our sail maker is rubbing his hands together in glee as we will be replacing this #2 next!
We jockey for position and get the time set within a second of the start boat's display. Off to a good start we chase after L'eau Co. and HubcapII that are off just three minutes in front of us. We get close on the first mark, just past Clark Island, but just can't reel them in on the reach back to Bradley Head. I time the leading boat, L'eau Co., as she rounds the mark and we are still 00:03:20 behind her so on the first two legs she has gained twenty seconds on us. By the first leg of our downwind run, poled out and wing-on-wing on a Starboard tack we quickly eat up the distance to EC2. So much so that we take all that time back from L'eau and beat her to the mark. Sights set on the next few boats in sight we beat back up to Shark Island. We trade tacks with Star Ferry and she is just slightly faster and able to point much higher on this tack (we are missing the weight of Dan, Ollie and Guillermo up on the rail!)
Passing the start boat, with the first lap completed in just under an hour, L'eau and Star Ferry are hot on our heels. We fight the entire leg to hold off L'eau, but just can't with her taking us just before the Garden Island turning mark (L'eau took the mark so close we thought she hit it). Hubcap passes around the mark before us, and the crew hiking on the side are making obscene gestures as the pass us. Pretty rich from a boat and crew we don't even know, but good sportsmanship obviously doesn't click with every crew on the harbor, I personally think a boat's crew tend to mirror the skipper's attitude. Dashed we pursue her for the rest of the race. A few of our tacks were sloppy and too slow, so we change over crew positions and try to squeak the most speed out of Nemmy as we can.
At the Nielsen Point mark we see HubcapII has rounded and is charging down the line on port tack. L'eau is closing and I'm baffled to see Hubcap not give way or tack? She is trying to hold as high to the wind as she can, but L'eau must have called Starboard on her! I watch as L'eau violently swerves and barely missing being ran down by Hubcap, who I don't even see change course! Expecting Hubcap to take her penalty turn, she glides by us with the crew grinning and snickering. Very poor form.
We continue to chase L'eau around the course and end up just seconds behind L'eau and Star Ferry. As we near the finish, I put on our little red protest flag as does L'eau. Pulling up after the finish line we have a quick chat with L'eau and let them know we will support their protest.
After clearing the fleet that was returning to Rushcutter's Bay, we did a few practice tacks to help everyone with the things Doug and I noticed during the race. We also poled out the headie a few times to let everyone get a hand at running the strings for the topping lift and downhaul. We'll do a few more practice items before next week's race as well.
Analyzing the race results, we ended up in sixth place, not even a minute behind L'eau and a minute and a half behind Star Ferry. In looking at elapsed time for the entire race, us and Hubcap completed it in 01:38 with us just six seconds slower than him. The top three boats in our division's cumulative results all finished within three minutes of each other, with the winner nine minutes faster than us. All in all the handicapping is pretty good, with wind patterns and local conditions making for the differences in finishes. Still hard to know our Nemesis, L'eau, was passed by us but we couldn't hold them behind us. ARRGH! Later in the bar I joked with L'eau's owner, Grant Pollock, that he must have emptied his water tanks as we just couldn't match his speed today. Till next week!
Race 4 of the Audi Winter Series
jT - cool and wet, with light winds
05/20/2012, Sydney Harbor
Crew: (Chris, Dan, Sam - Dan's sister, Luke, Yvette, Ollie, Guillermo, Jeff ) - (last minute weather regrets from Doug and Kirsty when they found out it would be light and raining!)
Race 4 was fairly light winds, off at 35 minutes after the rest of the fleet, and on course "B" that would take us in the opposite direction to what we normally do... We had some new people on board, Dan's sister Sam was visiting from New Zealand, and Luke brought Yvette, his girlfriend.
Everyone settled in to a light air start, and with issues seeing the timer on the start boat we were about a minute off the start. The rain came and went and we started with water cascading down the main sail! Ahhh, Winter sailing in Sydney! Chris was on the main, with Guille, Luke and Dan trimming the big #1 jib. Soon we passed the buoy at Shark Island and started our downwind run. The vang hydraulic was acting up and the main looked like hell without being pulled down as we let out the main. Putting the boom brake on helped to some degree, but will be re-bleeding the hydraulics before the next race!
The first lap found us gaining on most of our division with most of them just in front at the last mark near Garden Island. It was more than frustrating to not be able to close the gap with them during the next few legs.
Around Shark Island again, the wind had shifted just enough to need the headie poled out, so Luke took the helm while I went forward with Dan and Ollie to get everything set. The pole went out with only a few dramas, but the quick release on the beak is too hair trigger and forced us to reset the jib sheet once...
Finally all was out and down the harbor we fly on Starboard. Funny how a few port tacking boats that are coming at us down the harbor try to press for rights that don't have! With a few hollers of "Starboard" we move down for the second turn at the Sow N' Pigs reef. Just before the turn Luke takes the wheel as I move forward to drop the pole. It goes down fairly smoothly, but pole work is definitely on the list of training we need to do with the newer crew members...
We round the mark and not liking the feeling of the boat as I look back... the main hasn't tacked! With the pole down and the foredeck free to tack, I return to the wheel and take her head to wind so we can safely release the boom brake. This kills our forward progress and after we get moving we are heading opposite of the next mark. I figure we burned about five minutes on this mistake, but with the vang out of commission we've had to be creative.
We finish the race without seeing any of our competitors, only beating two of them (our friend Circe being one of them). Back at the club we look at the results, and found ourselves in 5th. We were eight minutes behind the first place boat "L'eau Co." from elapsed time around the course, but with the handicap and offset staggered start we lagged by 11 minutes. If we took off the approximately five minutes we lost at the top mark we would might have moved up 1 or 2 places. Wet and light winds, without a vang were not our friend today! We had a few rums in the bar with spirits and core temperatures quickly rising.
Race 3 - Nemmy and L'eau Co head to head...
Great shot of our new 'Nemesis', L'eau Co. After race three we are tied with her for first place. Cheers to www.SailPix.com.au for a great shot, gunna have to buy that one! I have a feeling this will be a prelude of our battle for the rest of the season with L'eau!
Race 3 - 1st Place is for Winners
05/13/2012, Sydney Harbour
Race no. 3 had another solid attendance of eager and willing sailors.
The wind was a repeat of two week's back and gusting up to 30 knots.
There was no becalming to have us aimless bored for hours upon end.....after Kirsty warnings of "keeping on till the bitter end". Phew!
Mental note: need to over stock the boat with food and drink for calm weather forecasts. Aga you can be in charge.
The weather demanded the No 3 Jib as the best defence for the gusty conditions. Battens were place (unlike last time), and gave the sail support that it was missing.
The Sydney 38s started at their usual early call time, and the CYC committee boat was ranting on the VHF that all other boats should keep well away from the start line or else. Noted.
So we did the big leg out towards the ferry channel to avoid traffic and around the backside of Shark Island for out late start of 34 min after the General division gun.
Pre-race, the gusts had Nemesis on its side and a prudent 1st reef put into the main sail. This was a good call as we maintained control of the boat for most of the day on the water.....no latina's dragging bottom side in the harbour.
We had a reproduction of the Guille winch wrap (not Guile this time).
I might guess that Shano is not used to manual winches!? (His boat has push-button hydraulic winches - it must be nice!) He did a good job both tailing and winching relentlessly. Where was the Grinder??
The ugly wrap on the winch required another knife slashathon.
Jeff had wondered why we cut the rope in squarely in half last time rather than at the clew end (corner of the sail). He was instantaneously on the foredeck knife in hand to ensure only a foot was cut off the Jib sheet.
The upwind leg(s) of the race required additional attention to the Main sail to keep the boat stable. Both Guille and Chris were doing a double-act on the sheet and traveller. Good effort guys.
Nemesis got the hooter for the line honours for the division, and first place on handicap. Well done team!!!
Quick Note on the competition or lack thereof:
· Mothers day may have been a reason the lack of boats on the field, and I would prefer to think it was the strong wind and stiff competition that kept them away.
· S/V Star Ferry starts closest to our time and is the dark-horse than we should keep an eye on. Why we still have the worst handicap in the division I do not know. Star Ferry came in a close second 2min 57sec on adjusted course time behind us. Watch out.
· S/V Circe - No show. All recommendations from visiting boats will be ignored and considered clueless.
· S/V Anna - has the most favourable handicap and a 0 min offset time should have done well but had a DNF.
Special efforts noted:
Kirsty - keeping her cool with all of Jeff's yelling, and drinking salt water on the bow.
James - getting involved - long time no see.
Hai-yen - Running backstays were floorless
Dan - keep watch for collisions and relaying warnings.
Doug - making lunch wraps to 1 am but forgetting to get them on deck until the boat was dockside.
Race 2 - Floatilla or Race?
05/06/2012, Sydney Harbour
10 of 11 the confirmed attended for a light day in the Sun.
Pre-Race: Saturday Captain John Smith (his mother really wasn't creative with picking names) of Sailing Vessel "Circe" decided to come by at the dock and have words about us rounding the wrong marker the previous week. He was convinced that he was robbed of his fair placing in Race 1....3rd to Nemesis by 10 min.
Guillermo studied the Race Course A for Division K (same course this week) and there is no way we went around the wrong buoy. Either way the LC and LC2 marker could not be greater than 2 min apart. So we might need to set him (and his wife?) straight.
The attendance was duly noted and positions set with the all-star line up of:
Aga - Cyc rep
Bruce - Special appearance
Chris - keeping the streets safe (DPP)
Dan - fashioning a new pair of sunglasses and a Cyc race bag
Guille - Keeping the dream alive for Lance Armstrong having completed a 10km cycle to get to the yacht club
Hai-Yen - The bruises on the legs are not domestic violence Chris. I promise.
Luke - supplying the best deals on Diesel jeans this week
Ollie - MROCP training required
Tris - Putting up with a sail change for a race that we didn't even finish
The weather was according to Luke "Ace" Watson, blowing white caps in the morning in Rose Bay. He came over prepared with jacket and fleece for a re-make of last week's challenges. King Neptune decided to change the wind from South to Westerly before the race start. The blow gradually dropped and became a little warmer than cool and not stronger than a puff.
The number 2 head-sail (jib) was hoisted and it became very obvious that it needed to be replaced by the number 1 (big berther). Thanks Tris.
Once everything was set, all positions were assumed and crew cohesion was at a high. The race was another time staggered start and we got our timing perfect. The committee boat end of the line was the favoured side and we got close and crossed within seconds. We picked the right side of Clark Island as the wind started to peeter out. Guillermo got caught on an override again but has promised to have the 2 wraps sorted and rope knife now stowed below deck.
The Clarke Island buoy became elusive as the wind direction began to swing 40-50 degrees, altering the lay-line on every tack. The down-wind leg was looking extremely slow and all surrounding boats (not under motor) were nearly motionless. Aga jumped at the suggestion by stand-in Cap that maybe we should crack out the drinks. Wine and beer hit the deck in record time.
After a review of the course, the 1 knot boat speed and the lack of any wind we decided to pull the pin. Motoring back to the Cyca we passed the far trailing S/V Circe, Mr Smith appeared to be happy to see our withdrawal and was determined to finish today race to ensure his victory over Nemesis.
They clocked out a record time of 03 hours 27min, finishing at 3pm (last in the fleet). It must have been tough on his crew for the gruelling hours of wondering if the Committee boat might still be waiting for their finish on the shortened course.
Thought of the week: Work Less, Sail More