Which way to go?
I think this summarises the feeling of most crews today. It was a very challenging day, working out where the breeze might blow from next. But before the racing it was nice to remake old acquaintances as the boats rolled into the rigging area. In the end eight boats rigged today, many of these crews were returning VS’ers from previous years, such as Michael, Mick, Mark, Chris & Beano to name a few. And of course the old stalwarts Tim, Brian & Chook were still there. Unfortunately there were three boats expected that didn’t show, but hopefully we’ll see them soon.
So to the racing. With an early morning southerly fading all boats got away to a clean start on a good fair line. Michael, Beano & Chris on Battleship & John, Dale & Lindsay on Firestorm got the first shifts & jumped to a small lead but the shifts were still coming - where to go? Left into the bay or right into the gap? Battleship went left & paid the price whilst Firestorm played the middle & lead around the top mark from Tim, Tom & Hugh on SFC Computers. Whilst most of the fleet headed east down the first run, Firestorm & TBS went west. This paid off, as they were 1 and 2 around the bottom marks by a good margin from SFC and a fast running Runaway a little further back. But Tim always sails hard & chanced his arm (or knew what was coming) & headed hard east up the 2nd work. This paid off big time as they passed TBS and rounded the top mark a close 2nd behind Firestorm. The positions remained unchanged down the run but the next work was again a gamble. Going left was favoured but there were still southerly gusts that changed the game. For example Firestorm picked one up near the top mark that took their lead from a few boat lengths to over a minute at the finish!
SFC sailed very well today to finish 2nd & easily claim the handicap victory. Col, Adam & Troy on TBS finished 3rd, benefitting when Mick, Robbie & Mark on Runaway took a quick swim on the run to the finish. Battleship ended 5th, claiming the Hawkesbury bragging rights from Brian, Tim & Daniel on Under Pressure 2. Alex, Peter & Andrew on Red Fish Café were a little further back but this wasn’t a bad starting point - first time on the boat & with a crew weight more suited to a gale.
Unfortunately there was one casualty, Bob, Hayden & Ben on Black Diamond. These boys have been working tirelessly throughout the off-season revamping the old 2235. With a new, high modulus carbon mast the last thing expected today was a mast failure. Yep. Broken at the hounds. But the boys were last seen brushing themselves off & loading the mast onto the car for repairs so hopefully they’ll be back for day 2 with some better luck.
So that was race 1. What about race 2? Whilst the breeze was light it was sufficient, but it was random in its direction. With the thought of “which way to go?” in the minds of the committee the decision was made to abandon & come back again another day. Whilst a few might have disagreed with this decision, I’m sure this would have occurred in the past 69 years & I hope it happens again within another 69 years of Vee Ess nationals!!! (even better if I can see most of them).
Racing continues until Friday so come on down to Gosford, say g’day & see some great racing.