The 2013 VS regatta season started last weekend with Travellers Trophy races at Taree & Manning Point. It was a bit of a disappointing roll up, only four boats made the trip, but with the season starting late at most clubs I guess it could be reasoned that many crews just weren’t organised enough for the trip away. Either that or the class will have to seriously consider dropping more of the away events.
That would be a shame as clubs like Taree always make us feel very welcome & go out of their way to accommodate our needs. George, Richard, David & co set courses & start times to fit our needs, and there is a great rigging area & a nice bar & club for socialising. Sailing on the river is a different experience, but those who sailed will be that little bit better at tacking & gybing. So to the racing…
Saturday - Taree
With a nice little one-to-two on the wire NE’er blowing Raptor & Firestorm made the best of the start. Bob, Adam & Hayden (who is trying to re-adjust to a sailing a boat 85 feet smaller than he has been recently) used a bit of local knowledge and played the shore nicely to soon open up a small lead from Firestorm.
Troy Botting Shipwright (TBS) showed they have lost none of the speed of last season and were quickly in the mix, ducking & weaving through the leaders. Unfortunately a wind shift just when they were ducking caused a clash of masts with Firestorm, allowing Raptor to open us a nice lead and putting SFC Computers (SFC) right in the mix. A trawling exercise with the kite at the first set hurt Raptor, allowing Firestorm through by a small margin from TBS & SFC. After a run of many gybes chasing the gusts Col, Adam & Troy again showed good downhill speed in TBS to close the gap to less than a boat length to Firestorm at the leeward mark. The next lap was very similar. Firestorm opened up a small lead upwind, only to be caught downwind by TBS. This time though TBS picked a nice gust near the bottom marks to be ahead at the bottom mark, albeit still only a boat length in it. With the front two boats pushing hard SFC & Raptor were left to race themselves. Tim, Jason & Hugh also remembered where to find the speed of last season & opened up a small lead from Raptor.
After opening up a gap up the final work TBS rounded the windward mark with a comfortable lead but just as Firestorm found earlier in the race, the boat running behind tends to bring the wind to the frontrunner. This time Firestorm picked a nice gust near the bottom mark and just managed to round the bottom marks in the lead, yet again with only a boat length in it. TBS tried everything to regain the lead, including a swim, but in the end Firestorm go home 1st with TBS 2nd. SFC rounded the top mark the last time comfortably in 3rd but, like the leaders, found the chasing boat brings the wind & had to sail well to stop the hard charging Raptor from passing. In the end SFC held on for 3rd by about 20 seconds.
Sunday - Manning Point
After a good evening socialising & resting weary bodies the fleet arrived at Manning Point to see the building Ne’er most sailors all dream of. But in these dreams the breeze doesn’t continue to build and there is usually a bikini clad model lying on the deck with a beer. By the time George & Richard had set the course it was +20 knots & the tide was starting to tear out. Bob looked at Hayden & Adam, worked out that combined they weight about 100kg, and decided to DNS. Tim looked at his top spreaders, worked out he should have fixed them, and also decided to DNS. With the breeze still building but with boats rigged, TBS & Firestorm decided to give it a go. After a lap in which both boats had great spinnaker runs TBS had a swim and decided to save gear and DNF. With no competition left Firestorm also decided to DNF, throwing a swim in on the way home for good measure. So in the end no finishers but equally no boats or bodies to repair. Which is good because the next association regatta is at Hawkesbury on 2nd & 3rd November. These races are both Travellers Trophy
& State series. Don’t forget we have two races scheduled for Sunday the 3rd.
Finally it looks like the nationals will be at Gosford from 5th to 11 January 2014. More info soon but I’d plan for holidays now. Who knows it might be the last?