Ladies Day Closing Race of the 2013 CYCA Winter Series
14 July 2013 | Sydney Harbor
jT - sunny and light winds
Crew (Doug, Gemma, Annabel, Emma and Jeff)
Well, the night before was our Mexican Crew Party, so you can say as we gathered at the boat the crew was kinda seedy. I do have to say I didn't feel that hung over, the joy of top shelf liquor! Less impurities, less hangover. We lost a few souls that were supposed to race, but five of us come out to play. We get the boat rigged for pretty light feeling wind and take to the harbor. Our guest helm is Gemma, she is a friend of Doug's and aptly takes the helm for the day. We do a nice prestart warm up, setting up our start and testing the time it will take to get there. All is looking good in 6-7 knots of wind. Silver Minx sails by for a chat, and we shout over a few comments in good fun. The fleet has a good vibe, must all the lack of testosterone on the helms :)
Speaking of testosterone, another boat, Viva, comes under us under motor sail just as we are trying to start. The wind is dying out and we are struggling for the line. A older guy is shouting at me to ask what time we start?!? Stealing the little wind we have under motor sail! I end up telling him and think I should have told him the old Eddie Murphy line (time? You want the time? What do you think I look like, Big F'n Ben!) Viva is supposed to start four minutes after us at 38 minutes after. Funny how she didn't take her penalty turn for motoring up to the start line! Well, we got our payback by pinning him below us as we hold our tack and head towards Point Piper after starting over five minutes late. The wind had just died, glassing out the harbor. With barely 2.5 knots of breeze, we struggle to keep one knot of boat speed. As the wind dies more, we leave poor Viva to her own deserved fate, with us having just enough momentum to roll-tack out into the channel and the last of the incoming tide. Viva ends up stuck with no wind and floats back thru the start line, several times over the next hour! :) Poetic justice, I'd call it!
Silver Minx passes us in the light wind, but Gemma is able to barely keep us moving. An hour after our start time we are barely 100 meters from the starting line! We finally start to overtake Minx in barely any wind. It's just a bobbing bunch of boats, pointing in different directions. You can really pick out the light boats, as they are the only ones kinda on course. Funny thing, we are now on Starboard tack but Minx is still on Port Tack only forty meters away! It takes another half an hour to come up and slightly above Minx, the overtaking of thirty meters having took that long! Weave above her, there are a few other boats on port, so we call starboard on them as we match race Minx from a few feet away from her. Being so close, we have time for a pleasant chat with her crew. The Champagne is popping on Minx, all good! Even better, we sneak by her just a bit and are almost in front when she comes back under us again. This is the second time this season we are able to pass Silver Minx in virtually no wind. Finally we get just clear ahead of her by poling out our headie. Doesn't seem like this is the right move, but the wind is averaging behind our starboard beam most of the time. Just enough consistency to keep us moving forward and with more momentum maintained than Minx can keep.
We keep catching just enough breeze to slowly sneak away from her and head to the first mark under Clark Island. Confusion reigns as we pass the island and there is NO mark laid where it normally sits during a course A race. Scratching our heads, we finally drop the pole and reach toward the only mark around where everyone else is heading, that being Garden Island. As we near the mark, the huge red ship from previous weeks, Ocean Explorer, is slowly steaming right into the fleet and directly where we are going! We get lucky when she stops before our lay-line and turns away from us. We are still ahead of Minx so all is good as we turn on the mark.
After getting around the ship and the mark, we have a nice run back to towards Shark Island. Just enough breeze to keep us moving. But we get a little pause as our mate honks three times indicating that she is backing up. Nothing like several hundred feet of ship towering above you and backing up towards where you'd like your course to be! Having dodged well clear of a backing up Ocean Explorer, we are able to continue our leg of the race.
We tack up the harbor towards Sow and Pigs, with everything looking good. The wind has picked up and we are finally hitting mid 6's of speed. Gemma is keeping us moving well. Our mate Minx stays on course as we tack across the harbor to line up the Sow and Pigs mark. The pretty blue boat, Wallop is in our sights ahead and Inkonkoni is tacking up the harbor just behind us (she was supposed to be a minute after us at the start, but this is the first we even saw her this race).
We reach the Sow and Pigs mark and we are way ahead of Minx, as she is still working her way up the harbor, almost past Sow and Pigs! After rounding we are on a nice beam reach but I'm watching Inkonkoni continue past Sow and Pigs... Dread fills me as I also see Minx passing Sow and Pigs reef by. I look way beyond and see a white and red CYCA mark, and realize that the tequila has fogged our brains. I call for a quick tack back towards Manly because we are on the wrong course!?! Hmmm busy week and I didn't check and see if the Course "A" we are racing was the same Course "A" of every other week! What a hung-over rookie mistake. We quickly tack and start heading for the proper course, I see the yellow Sow and Pigs mark slide right by the boat and we just barely bump her. Bugger, we hit a mark!
We get lined up on the proper turning mark with Wallop, Minx and Inkonkoni already coming back for the long leg to the finish line. At the mark we round and take our penalty turn for hitting a mark. Finally we are reaching back for Shark Island and in vain trying to regain the ground lost to the boat in front of us. It's not to be, we make up some ground, but there is just not enough time or course left to allow it. We tack up the last leg to the finish line, I look behind and there are very few boats behind us.
Ah, what a finish to a very challenging season. Great helming by Gemma and excellent crew work by Annabel and Emma (it being Emma's first time on a sailboat!). Doug gets kudos as well, between the two of us we sweated out our Tequila from the night before on all those tacks. I go below and dig out a bottle of Mount Gay rum that I believe Dan had left behind during a previous week. Rum and cokes all around as we cheer a fun race. Well done crew, well done!
Mexican Crew and Baby Taylor inaugural pre-drop Party
13 July 2013 | The Taylor pad, Surry Hills
j "Tequila" T -
Mexican (Chris, Jehane, James, Naioko, Doug, Dan, Tessa, Del, Alex, Annabel, Ed, Manuel, Ollie, Miranda, Kirsty, Jeff, and BABY TAYLOR)
It was a long time coming, but we finally had everyone over for a night of Mexican food and libations! Some great food was brought over from chili, to tamales, stuff bell peppers, veggie filling, and plenty of fixings including guacamole and pico de Gallo salsa. Beer, Tequila and plenty of drink mixes filled the kitchen benches. There was even a rockin' dessert of little round cakes on a stick!
Everyone drank, ate, and conversed the night away! Thanks all for a fun past few years of sailing! Adios!
Race 10 of the 2013 CYCA Winter Series
07 July 2013 | Sydney Harbor
jT - Sunny and medium winds that moderated
Crew (Doug, Luke, Andrew, Annabel, Shane and Jeff)
What a cracking winter day for the last official race of the CYCA Winter Series. We got the boat prepped with all relaxed and enjoying the sunshine. Out on the course we pass the start boat and tack just before the Sydney 38 fleet charges for the starting line. We get our #1 hoisted and set up to run the line and find our best starting position. We line up and get a decent start, but are taken by Inkonkoni who has a cracking start. We keep out in the channel and take a few wind knocks but get a fairly good line to the first mark. Ocean Shield, a large Arctic Supply ship with a cool sunshield/helicopter pad just on top of the bridge is parked in head of Rushcutter Bay to move and replace moorings for the large Naval buoy. She makes a big floating wind shadow so we avoid her.
Getting to the first mark, we are about 30 seconds behind Inkonkoni. After the mark we pole out and chase after our competition. We made good progress, but Panacea who started six minutes behind us was already nipping at our heals. It took the next two legs to finally hunting down Inkonkoni at the Sow and Pigs mark. Right behind him at the mark, we were able to stay wide and cut close to mark right under him to pass! It was a brilliant move and felt good to catch and pass him in three legs. We had a fairly good work all the way up to Shark Island, making it on one tack but just clearing Nielsen Point. In this leg we were able to put a nice 300 meters on Inkonkoni.
At the Shark Island mark, we switched helm, with Doug taking over. It was a tidy mark rounding and then tacking towards the gate. I went on the grind and also forgot how much quick, physical extersion a fast grind in medium air is with the big #1. We had a nice lead on Inkonkoni, but Panacea was consistently reeling us in. After the gate, we started to keep towards channel, with Inkonkoni staying inside near Point Piper. By the time we tacked and headed back together, she had pulled all of our gains back and was just below us. Quickly looking at the course ahead, with the Ocean Shield over to our right, we decided to stay left, inside Clark Island and cover Inkonkoni. By the time we got to the island starboard mark, we were match racing Inkonkoni just five feet inside her. Almost had to call for room on the mark and island, but she was just a bit faster than us and pulled ahead. With us not able to point as high, and sailing in her dirty air, we decided to make our own fortune and tack away. Inkonkoni stayed inside again and crushes us on this leg, passing the mark a good minute ahead of us again. It shows that Nemesis and Inkonkoni have truly been each others competitors in this series!
With the shifting winds, we tack toward Garden Island and are barely making the mark, having to luff the last 10 meters to clear. We get a clean downwind run under a port pole, but the changing winds and angle to our next mark just aren’t working. We gybe the pole and on the new course make some great speed and gains on boats under spinnaker, passing a few that had passed the last mark before us! We have three legs to race and are still trying to chase down Inkonkoni. Panacea had passed by sometime in the last two legs, and Silver Minx is looming not far behind us. We have another fast run to Sow and Pigs, but just can’t reel Inkonkoni back in. We round the mark and work up the course again, this time with much better height. On the wind, with good boat speed we catch and pass under Great White, a Beneteau 41. Silver Minx is still chasing down as we round Shark Island, our only goal will be holding her off as we tack up to finish line.
Last tack is called and a Sydney fast ferry cuts right in front of our path. Bloody ferry Mary MacKillop plows in front of us with no rights over us sailing. We are forced to luff to avoid her, and this costs us a few boat lengths. The ferry passes less than a boat length away, close enough for me to give the master a “What the hell are you doing” hand gesture. We are now struggling to keep up Silver Minx. We crack off to pick up speed and charge towards the finish line. At the line, a cheeky Silver Minx, has a crew member up on the bow with a camera trying to shoot the finish line. There is another yacht under Silver Minx that is blocking the starting boat’s view of us finishing. To Luke and Andrew sitting mid-boat, it looks like we finish just a half boat length ahead of Minx.
We head back to club taking a leisurely set of tacks in the winter sun with Annabel helming for practice. At the club we are gutted to find they ranked us just one second behind Silver Minx! ARRRGGHH so typical of this series for Nemesis as we place fourth. Placing in the top three in an race has just eluded us the entire series. I have to question the handicapping that left us unable to score any winning finishes for an entire ten race season. But like Keith O’Donnell, from Matrix, taught us, know who your competitors are in any race. They are the only ones you can measure yourself against. For us that was Inkonkoni and Astral, good competitors and all the fun and just out of placing, AGAIN!
F’n Sydney Ferry Mary Bloody Barge Ass MacKillop!
Race 9 of the 2013 CYCA Winter Series
30 June 2013 | Sydney Harbor
jT - Rain turning to clear with moderate to light winds
Crew (Doug, Dan, Tessa, Andrew, Meredith and Jeff)
It felt like it had been raining for days, oh wait it HAD been raining for the last ten days. One weather source said we had maybe ten hours of sunshine in the same number of days. I was up early and watching the water pour down the street, the only constellation was there was enough wind to move the flags across the road. I took an umbrella and watched the fat drops drain off of it as I walked to the club. Just halfway and the rain died down to a mist, with a hint of blue sky off to the East. Say it isn't so! As I reached CYCA, my umbrella had already dried and the sun was out. Spectacular!
We had a small crew and it turned out to be perfect for the conditions. As we were coming up to the start line, to check which course we would be sailing, I noticed a sailboat about 300 meter away from us on a collision course with another boat. Never good! I thought about trying to hail the rear boat, but just too far away and if they did hear me I was dead astern of them so my call would take their possible attention away from the boat directly in front of them. I hollered for our crew to watch what was about to happen and a second later it did. "BANG!" They saw each other at the very last minute and "Perfect Match" finally started desperate maneuvers while on starboard but didn't seem to be keeping watch or avoiding a contact. The collision was with "Illusive" and on port the same could be said. We hope everyone was OK, as it looked like the boats absorbed the impact with little visual damage from the distance we saw it at.
Back to our race, we set the countdown timer and got the big #1 hoisted for the race. The rain was still holding off, but the wind was quite fluky and inconsistent from the South-Southwest. We tacked a bit and lined up for the start, but just seemed to far away when it was our turn. A pretty poor start, I must say. I kept us in the middle of the harbor, to gain a bit of the last incoming tide. We seemed to be pacing other boats OK, but the wind would shift up to 40 degrees as we struggled for the Clark Island mark in Rushcutter's Bay.
Once we got to the mark, a quick rounding and starting to think about our downwind run. But my head just wasn't in the tactics game and here came a starboard tack boat heading directly for us and the mark! Bugger! I quickly tacked us and the boat slide by with a polite wave. Our forward momentum was killed as we tacked back. Now another boat was also approaching, but we lacked the forward momentum to maneuver much. Being he wasn't in our division, he graciously ducked us as we started to regain speed and maneuverability.
We set up for a poled out downwind run, watching Inkonkoni just in front of us. They had started a minute before us, but with our poor start we had not caught them. The wind kept shifting to the south, so halfway through the leg we ended up dropping the pole. I didn't have the concentration for helming, so Doug took over. Funny how once you are off the helm it changes things. Now I didn't have to focus on keeping the boat helmed fast, I could relax - well if doing the mast and foredeck is every relaxed!
We had a good run down to Sow and Pigs, with Inkonkoni staying out of reach. By the turn we came on the wind and started our run back to towards Shark Island. We stayed again out in the channel and kept to a stronger breeze. We could see L'Attitude had passed us on the inside and even in lighter breeze was able to keep her lead. Sextant and Silver Minx were pulling on us, but keeping in the breeze we held them off as we passed Shark Island and turned for the gate. A few good tacks and we worked our way back to the start line and passed through the gate.
In passing the gate, the wind was picking up but the start boat was showing Sierra Flag, "S" or shortened course?! We kept at the course, debating if we should sail another lap for fun, then the committee boat came on the radio confirming it was a shortened course for all divisions. With a quick look at the dark clouds threatening from the South and ringing the Eastern Suburbs, we decided to drop sails and head back to the bar.
It was to be a celebration of our FIRST time placing in this year's series. We came third over the line. I stopped to talk to my mate Sean, and he already had the results sheet. He smiled as I discussed our finally placing third over the line, and quickly dashed that hope with a discussion of the merits of handicapping and consolation for our sixth place on corrected time! Thanks for the beer mate, all good. I finally located the crew downstairs and we proceeded to commiserate with a few jugs of rum. All good!
Race 8 of the 2013 CYCA Winter Series
23 June 2013 | Sydney Harbor
Clouds and rain, wind gusting
Crew (Chris, Luke, Andrew, Ilse, and Jeff)
Rain poured overnight and into the morning in heavy drops. Sydney was being dumped on from the East with more water in 24 hours than is normally received in an entire June. With the conditions wet and miserable the crew donned full foulies to battle the first wet winter race. Feeling calm winds in the dock, we kept checking the radar and saw rain, winds and clouds just hovering East of the city. Sun briefly broke as we prepared for the race and the first course "B" of the year. This is a reverse of our normal "A" course and instead we head East from the start around Shark Island, then up to Sow and Pigs back down the harbor and lap Clark Island before hitting the gate and repeating for the second lap.
With a short crew and winds tickling at 12 knots I called for the big #1 to be pulled off the deck and changed to the #2. Easier to tack, and much safer with the winds predicted to blow in. We just had ten minutes until the start when the main was hoisted and quickly got the sails up with barely enough time to buzz the start line and confirm our timer was set correctly. We charged for the starting line and nailed our best start this year. The wind was behind the beam and it felt like forever as we sailed for the first mark. Starting at twenty minutes handicap as well, we watched Inkonkoni above us as she gliding towards the mark just ahead. She rounded the mark and quickly gybed for the downwind leg up the harbor to Sow and Pigs. Andrew was reading the wind and noticed it stronger to the East, so we held our gybe and extended from the mark with a few other big boats. Once we did gybe we were able to run angles and nearly pace some of the smaller boats with spinnakers up, one being Noakes Red with our friend Sean Langman at the helm.
We made time on Inkonkoni, but without putting the pole up we had a slightly longer leg to the mark and reached it just after Inkonkoni past by it. We quickly settled on the wind just under her and easily paced the new 46 foot Beneteau. It makes you wonder how other owners feel, having a new boat, being paced by a smaller one almost thirty years old . Punch above our weight, that's what keeps us racing every week even with the podium alluding us all this season. With the long beat back down the harbor we slowly stretch and extend on Inkonkoni pulling well ahead mark by mark.
The wind is fickle as the rain resumes in earnest. Tack after tack the water sheets down off the main onto Chris as he trims it. Luke and Andrew trade off trimming the jib and Ilse handles the running backs. With only five on board we are tacking with practiced precision. In the final lap we see our competitors steam roll us one by one. First InCahoots passes, then Baltic Lady tussles with us at the mark. Our friends Sextant steam under us going for the gate with at least a knot of speed on our best in those conditions. Finally L'Attitude and Silver Minx take us in the final legs. But the previous week's winner, Astral is behind us the last lap. Pacing us and slowly gaining!
With elation and frustration we attempt to hold Astral off on the final leg. The breeze is dying out. Foulies are soaked. First we aim for the shortest path to the starting boat and finish line, but Astral is gaining and staying high on the course. I come up to cover her and now aim straight for the pin end. Seconds pass as we watch L'Attitude (by 4 minutes) and Silver Minx (by 2 minutes) finish at the pin end, with Baltic Lady just beating Silver Minx at the start boat end. Seconds tick by as we glide towards the finish line and just hold off Astral by twenty seconds!
Simple goals. Achieved. At the start of the race I pointed to Inkonkoni and declared that is our rival and my goal is to beat her today! With over eight minutes in the bag we achieved that goal. Placing in a winter series race still eludes Nemesis, but mark my word when I say we are becoming a Nemesis to someone else in our division (smiles).
Race 7 of the 2013 CYCA Winter Series
16 June 2013 | Sydney Harbor
Sunny and moderate winds
The previous week was a non-pointscore race on the Queen's Birthday weekend, so we opted not to race and I continued on my task list of Nemmy jobs.
Crew (Jeff, Doug, Dan, Max, Luke, Andrew, Manuel, Ilse, Tessa)
With two races abandoned (one from lack of wind and one from too much wind) and a non-pointscore race skipped, it felt like forever since our last race. With a full crew, we started the race in medium wind. With a quick trip up to the mark, we knew it was going to be one of those days when we were passed just after the first mark by a competitor! At least it was another glorious and sunny winter day in Sydney! By the second lap most of our competition had passed.
The wind started to ease and this was spelling trouble for our race. We've found that we can't pace our competition in medium breeze or light airs, and CYCA cancels heavy conditions so we aren't allowed to test their mettle in the heavy stuff. The luck of the winds let most of our division have a fast race, with us a full 30 minutes behind the first place winner - Astral. Good on them! Until now, we have finished ahead of them every time, and sometimes only by the skin of our teeth! Talk about perfect conditions for her!