In the first year of Covid-19 how would you expect the first regatta to go? Without disruption? Yeah. Right…
As I have mentioned before the weather forecasts these days are pretty good. So, with forecasts of 40 degree plus days and gusty westerly winds, it was not surprising that only 7 boats rigged to contest the first state & TT race of the season. Covid & the weather is not the only reason the numbers are down though; Alex and the boys on Purple Haze recently broke a mast, Mick T is focussing on a new 16 footer (and running the races at Teralba), Bozo is helping Mick on the start boat, Matt is racing a car this weekend rather than Raptor, and Roger & Will are short a Sheethand on Devocean after Nick has retired.
But whilst very hot and gusty, the conditions on Saturday were OK for racing and the boats were all close for a very biased boat start. Starting with us, ex VSer Lindsay Allan provided some entertainment when he crossed the line early and tacked to round the start boat. But Bozo had too much anchor rope out for Lindsay’s liking and the VJ(?) tripped over it and crashed into the start boat. Plenty of yelling followed.
Typical of a Teralba NW’er there was plenty of big shifts and lines. But the crew to link them all together beautifully on the first work and lead around the top mark was Stowe, with Tim & Scott joined by Jock, who was making a cameo appearance. Next was Meeks, with Geoff, Luke & Mark, showing similar skills to join the dots. Luke is only a youth and new to VS’s, but is showing great skills, and will only improve as his experience builds. Think of the young sailors who started like Luke but are now the most sought-after sailors; Hugh, Brad, Gabe, Will, Lennon & Ryan to name but a few. Speaking of Ryan, he was back up front on Firestorm. Things seemed normal but the only thing behind him around the top mark was Dale & John. After picking every knock they were dead last.
There were some big bullets down the run but the Stowe boys held their lead around the leeward mark for the first time. Firestorm had a good run & rounded second, helped by TBS being blown nearly to Valentine. Meeks, Incognito & SFC had swims. With the breeze up Firestorm quickly found their old mojo, passed Stowe, and sailed off for a win. Behind them Janine, Adam & Col returned to the course & kept the leader honest, especially after a near pin to pin 3rd run. They were smoking. Similarly, Steve, Jeremy & Hugh had Runaway jumping, hot on the tuck of TBS. This battle continued race long with TBS holding a small lead around the leeward mark for the last time. But a Teralba NW’er is anything but true – Runaway tacked on the mark and picked a nice line of breeze. When they next crossed the Runaway boys had second place and held it to the finish. TBS were a close 3rd.
With an older rig, Stowe were a little under powered at times but sailed well for 4th over the line and a nice win on handicap. So Jock is 1 from 1… Just a little further back Griffin, Gab & Lennon sailed SFC well in the testing conditions that required many changes from high to low mode. The young guys are learning every time they go out and are a joy to watch in go fast mode. They will pick up when to ‘change gears’ and continue up the results sheet, and todays 5th is proof of that. Meeks were next in 6th and made it home without busting boat or crew.
Unfortunately, not the same could be said of Incognito. Chris made the run up from Hawkesbury with Mike filling in for Greg on the sheet. Up front Tom has stepped up from the 13’s and is starting what I hope is a long run on a VS. Welcome to the fleet!!! But today the gusty conditions were not ideal for a new crew combination. Without the benefit of local knowledge, the boys ripped the bottom of the centreboard before the start. They soldiered on but then had a wild moment where Mike’s foot was stuck in a foot strap and the boat gybed. A suspected broken foot resulted in a DNF. For those that don’t remember Mike was sheethand on Incognito when they flew the kite in the strong southerly at Sunshine. Get well soon.
The forecast for Sunday was for gale force winds and 40 degree plus temperatures. And that’s what we got. Racing was abandoned. As we know in this Covid age, nothing is predictable, except the weather.
The next regatta is the Nationals. Sunshine. 2 – 8 January. Get there and enjoy a sailor’s life!!