The fourth frostbite was a tough start for the boats in Divisions One and Two with the prevailing Nor easter swirling like a top as the well populated fleets took off on the line. No one could get a steady line up to Sampson with the fleets tacking and tacking again as they worked their way up the breeze to Sampson. From there it was a spinnaker run all the way down with the really brave double handers throwing up kites as well in the soft breeze.  New to the fleet was the latest Mark Nicholas acquisition aptly named “ Lets Dance” but the Asian characters on the side of the boat lead me to believe he imported it from China. Was it quick? You bet, but the handicapper had his measure and despite a fastest, he wasn’t the handicap win. My heart went out to the young man on R2D2, clearly an Oppi sailor, but there he was tucked into the stanchions on the back of dad’s boat and having a ball.  Could I mention Take Cover, sorry Cover Drive and the really shy kite they ran to Bartlett? Absolutely awesome and when questioned as to their courage, the response was “ well there was only two of us and it was easier to leave it up.”

Division Three managed to get away to a better start than the other divisions and drove a relatively straight line up to Sampson after having made adjustments early on in the run. But first around the post was Nick Melidonis and Hellas with the rest of the fleet close on his heels (apart from Ondine who seemed to be enjoying a training session.) The run to Armstrong had Hellas throw up a kite and then go slightly sideways as the breeze changed and our little H28 just chuffed along under a ginormous genoa out on the pole. We were also taking it a little easier I suspect as the rest of the fleet charged down on the breeze at us, but never quite caught us before the mark. Not to be out done, Hellas kept the spinnaker flying and descended further down the river as the very shy kite just brought them down further. They eventually took it down, but not before I got a photo of it.

The whole fleet then chased each other down to the outer startline via Print and Como and it was line ball between Hellas and the little H28. You cant keep a good skipper down and Nick managed to get in front while the boys in Bluegrass were doing their level best to keep Commotion out of their hair, but as Marty commented.. “today was the day to pick every wrong shift, every knock that was there … I found it.”

Toward the end of the race, Slippery and Problem Child were close and Glen is really going to have to look at PC Nicholas and his boat or perhaps hire some of the youngsters off Marks boat. Well done to the old salts on Wicked who put in a good run to take second on the over all and first on ORC. In Div. Two King Canute took handicap honours but fastest was Denise Bradley and she really has got a slick little boat in Sidewalk Café, wouldn’t it be nice if she came out on a Wednesday and gave Div two a thumping. But Division three, oh dear.. despite all the H28’s intentions we just couldn’t get past Hellas who managed to get back in front and stay there. Well sailed that boat! And well sailed to Bluegrass who was perhaps questioning his choice of spinnaker.. perhaps the one with the really big shoulders next time? He only needed 7 seconds to take the win on handicap.

Words and Images by Rick Steuart