For numerous reasons, it has been years since the VS fleet have sailed at Vaucluse. And last weekend it looked like another year would pass before we returned.
Why? A major truck accident closed the freeway from Newcastle on Saturday morning. Some made it through with little delay but the Firestorm boys, leaving last at 9am (handicap start?) took a leisurely 5 hours to get to the club. As such it was a rapid rig & launch to join the fleet for a delayed start. Unfortunately the problems of the day were just starting …
Seven boats made the trip, and I think everyone agreed it was worth the effort. VYC are an excellent host club, and embody the spirit of the VS class and how we sail. Delayed start? No problem. Change of course? No problem. A welcoming atmosphere after the race? No problem. Free beverages from a recent wedding? No problem. Sailing on the harbour is unique but intense. And VYC is the perfect place to unwind after the ‘experience’. I hope we can return for many years with larger fleets.
So, back to our problems. Running so late, I must admit I didn’t get the chance to do my usual Race Secretary duties and chat to the race officials to confirm the course & other sailing arrangements. There was some mutter in the rigging area of 3 laps of a port course so we were a little surprised the see the start boat with a green flag flying...
With a beautiful southerly blowing we started down in Chowder Bay & headed windward. Firestorm, with Adam capably filling in for Dale on sheet; SFC Computers, with regular crew of Jeremy, Tom & Hugh (now my pick as the heavy weather gun boat) ; and Stowe, with Tim joined by ex legend Jason giving Lennon his first taste of extreme harbour sailing, lead off the start to the first mark.
I am a bit vague on details here, because things happen quickly on the harbour and there is no time for sightseeing, but certainly also seen starting and smoking up the first work were Absinthe, with Geoff, Mark & Robbie borrowing Dad’s boat after breaking Meeks; Aussie III with Ben, Brad & Chris on a yet again the repaired orange boat; Narwahl (good to see life member Brian back in the fleet with guest crew Alex & Kallum) and Measurement Solutions. It was great to see Jock at the regatta, but he told me he is an ex-Sydney sailor and enjoys a return to the mayhem once in a while. Got to admit, so do I.
So Firestorm went around a windward mark off Neilson Park first, closely followed by SFC & Stowe. After a fun ride to the leeward mark Tinker pulled aside in the rescue boat & advised we’d rounded the wrong windward mark – we should have been going to Shark Island! To compensate he advised us to do 4 laps. He advise SFC the same. But unfortunately before he could advise the rest of the fleet of the change he was called to rescue Aussie III, which had busted a rudder.
So from here Firestorm did 4 short laps, SFC pulled out, knowing they’d rounded the wrong mark, Stowe did 3 short laps, Narwahl broke a mast (after breaking a D1), Absinthe broke something. (Sorry boys. Too rushed to find out. Knowing Mark I’d guess a finger nail J ). Jock, Andrew & Peter on Measurement Solutions joined SFC & Firestorm in completing the course. But after some consideration it was decided to declare the race abandoned, with no results to count.
That’s not to say the day was a failure. Far from it. If we had sailed the proper course it would have been perfect – long & true. VYC had great on water organisation & an even better off the water welcoming. It is a great club. You can walk in without shoes, grab a drink & sit on the verandah and enjoy the $M views whilst talking sailing. Girls, don’t you think this is utopia? Maybe after a few bottles of Chandon? But that is another story….
Many thanks to Tinker, Stacky, Doug and all at VYC for the day. I certainly hope this continues forever.
Make sure you get to VYC next year!!! Don’t forget Teralba TT regatta next weekend.