Pick the breeze.

Division one and two got away for a reasonable start without very much trouble with ‘goes dancing’ and ‘naughty kid’ fessing it up on the start line once again. Its amazing what a well defined mix of age and cunning spiced with youth and exuberance can do with a bunch of millennials on a quick boat. However its rather hard to go fast on a nor wester that is lingering around 6 knots, but every one had the same thought. Go faster than the boats around you. Division one had the job of showing the rest of the fleets how to work their way up to Sampson on a wandering breeze that shifted even as the skippers set their helms for best course. Big angles for those who went right and perhaps the best idea was that little tack out to the left, hoping to catch a change in the breeze that would lift you all the way to Sampson. Well that’s what happened in Division three and we nearly had it right, but the sight of San Michelle lifting all the way right to the mark was disconcerting to say the least. And it put them well in front with the rest of the fleet having to scramble after them.

In Div. Two, Denise Bradley’s Sidewalk Café fell to the wiles of Rob Males’ Jindarra with that slippery gentleman’s French yacht that responds very well in light breezes and good angles to use that bright orange asymmetric.  However the play of the day was the new owners of IGAWA who managed to out sail King Canute to take third over the line. I suspect that this may be an aberration or the handicapper will be bumping him up a few points shortly.

Division three were handed a course two and once again that long trek down a breeze that was sadly lacking in oomph, took us in search of Armstrong. This time we were at the back of the pack and hoping for a little luck as all bar two boats were in front of us. Pick the breeze was the call and doing so, we managed to climb up the rungs past those in front with the little blue boat Hellas taking a commanding lead half way down to Armstrong and then forgetting the last frostbites warnings, went looking for Armstrong again. That let us catch up big time. Then of course Wynella, driven by Ernie Little threw up the first kite of the day on the cross to Bond and bid farewell to the back of the pack. Good sailing lads.

Down to Print and then across to Como and then aim for the outer startline. This was going to be the test as the back end of the div three fleet has caught up with us and we knew that all we could get would be a fastest. Too many lower handicap boats close to us. Around the outer start line and off to Sampson where an un named div two boat was caught trying to shoot Sampson and didn’t succeed, with the result that the jib caught the breeze and pushed them into the boats following him. Pandemonium ensued and boats were ducking and diving to keep out of his way. The last we saw of him was the boat appeared to have a hung up sheet on the jib and I suspect an overwind might have happened. Bad luck. So continue on our way and watch the little blue boat close up a little only to have to deal with Wynella who was really punching along. Somewhere they had found their mojo and were just loving it. We got over the line for the fastest  but Col Delane and Eutopia slotted in on handicap for second having picked up his speed quite well in the last lap.

But the big OH DEAR for the day happened to Mark Nicholas and his ‘boat that waltzes’. Safely over the finish line, their rudder decided to part company with the transom with the top pintle hanging on for dear life, while the crew got rid of sails as quickly as possible.

And to the darlings on Ondine… we saw you sailing majestically down the channel with your kite up, well after the closing time for the start box. Its a great look, but please consider the starters if you don’t think you’ll make in time, pick up the radio and make that call. It helps get the results done in time.

Rick Steuart