Sunshine Regatta Race Report
If sailing at Sunshine on the weekend didn’t bring a smile to your face, nothing will. The weather on both days was perfect for sailing: plenty of sun, warm water & a nice nor’easter blowing to a maximum of 15 knots. Not enough to damage boats, but enough to get the crews on the wires & get a bit of spray flying. It was fun!!! So if you are reading this but didn’t sail, start your planning now for next year so you can share the good times...
With a steady NE’er already blowing eight VSs rigged & readied for battle. All of the regulars were there except for Mick Sims, who is enjoying the blizzard like conditions of New York. And he paid to do it? Anyway, this gave another good opportunity for Dev to rejoin the fleet. He’s no handicap on a boat so I’m sure Steve would have been licking his lips when the whitecaps started to appear.
As usual we were sharing the start & the course with the Skates but I heard of no problems between the fleets. What was good for both fleets was the decision of the RO to start the big boats first. That gave us a clear run to the windward mark near Pulbah Island. A good start by all saw a few crosses and lead changes up the first work, with Troy Botting Shipwright taking honours around the mark, closely followed by Firestorm, Meeks & Plan B.
TBS & Firestorm pushed each other down the first run & opened up a lead over the rest of the pack. John, Dale & Lindsay then got Firestorm into the groove upwind to take a lead they would not lose and, importantly for bragging rights, beating the first skate home too.
Not far behind there was a good 3 way battle for most of the race. Col, Adam & Janine on TBS sailed a good race to get 2nd, showing they have lost none of the speed they showed at the Nationals. They also made a good tactical decision to bank some height when they could down the final run.
Once again Mick, Rob & Mark showed Meeks Real Estate is quick, bringing her home in 3rd. They had good pace upwind & had TBS looking over their shoulders at times. A light crew weight means they can get some great downwind rides. I spotted them more than once today, flat out under spinnaker trying to make the mark.
Range eventually finished 4th, but it could have been more. They seemed to miss the early jump, but fought back well upwind throughout the race to be in the hunt for 2nd down the final run. Looking to use the full horsepower Dev & Geoff could provide, Steve was making good speed until a catamaran decided to block his path & wind. The subsequent hole is not where a heavy crew is needed, so they wallowed there for a while the two lightweights in front skipped clear.
Just a little further back was another bunch, led by White Noise, who were arguably the best performers of the day. Brownie, Joel & Scott put a new jib on & it seemed to give them confidence & speed. They made it hard for themselves, having a swim at the bottom mark, which meant they were playing catch up for most of the race. They did that and more, passing a few to finish 5th & take the handicap victory for the day. Tim, Mitch & Lyndon were just 6 seconds behind White Noise across the line in Plan B, with another small margin to Rob, Hayden & Ben on Black Diamond, who in turn had Andrew, Greg & Chris on Battleship breathing down their necks. Well sailed all.
Another clear, warm day with a NE forecast. Was this going to be a repeat of Saturday? (I hoped so). Yes and No. First of all there was a lack of breeze and the AP was hoisted before we left the bank. Most crews sat and waited, some looking for entertainment. You should know by now to look no further than Black Diamond, with Ben demonstrating that wet suits can be put on & worn in a couple of different ways.
It was also different in that Dev was busy so Nipper stepped aboard Range. Once again Steve was looking for those whitecaps. The other notable change for the day was the decision of Firestorm to dust off an old ‘conventional’ mainsail, to try and gauge the performance difference of the new square tops.
Finally there was enough breeze to set the same course as on Saturday & we got away to a start in a moderate breeze. Once again it was close up the first work between Firestorm & TBS, this time Firestorm first around the top mark by a boat length. Once again they pushed each other hard, opening up a small lead over the pack down the first run with TBS leading onto the first long work. The breeze was different today, oscillating between north and east, so it was more than just a drag race to the left of the course. If you got out there and got an easterly slant you were in for a lot of pain.
Firestorm picked the shifts and pressure well and soon opened up a small lead. Fighting with a skate for a lap they sailed a near perfect second lap and opened up a comfortable lead to take the gun, again getting VS bragging rights over the skates.
Meeks, Range & TBS enjoyed another race long battle, trading places often. Today Range had no outside influences and enjoyed their horsepower down the final run, getting 2nd by 8 seconds from TBS, who in turn were 12 seconds in front of Meeks.
Tim & the boys on Plan B continued their learning curve and sailed well, again crossing the line ahead of rivals Black Diamond. White Noise are also learning well and avoided a swim today, but wrapping a kite around the spreaders & top of the mainsail is no way to get down a tight run fast. But they managed to hold on to beat the fast finishing Battleship.
As for the handicap honours, Tim, Mitch & Lyndon won easily today. Good one!
And the verdict on the old verses the new square top main? I reckon the old is better when the pressure is down but the new is as good when it is fresher. But there is plenty of development left in the new sails. Keep tinkering…
These were the final races in the state title series. Full results will be posted soon. Next Saturday is the Vaucluse regatta, which is the final TT race of the season. VYC always put on a great regatta so why not make the effort & come along. Note the start will be around 1pm so don’t be late!