If you thought the racing at Hawkesbury was close you should have been at Teralba. It was even closer. At times it seemed like the crews could reach out & touch each other !!! The light, variable conditions helped keep the fleet together, but I also believe the improved skills across the fleet contributed to this too. I don’t think I saw a capsize all weekend. In a bay crowded by Northies & other slow moving objects, that is some feat.
With predictions of a good nor-easter for the afternoon, nine boats lined up for the start. The usual regatta suspects were there, joined for the first time this season by Controlled Insanity. This is the old Longwall Advantage, so I can vouch that the boat is quick. And the crew won’t hold her back either. John & Peter sailed a few seasons ago with Dave, but this year have recruited Matt to pull the strings up front. All have sailed well on Skates & other fast dinghies so look out for them winning races soon. But not today. The predicted breeze
didn’t build & the fleet was left with a tricky easterly that kept threatening to go left. The first work saw plenty of changes for the lead until Troy Botting Shipwright got clear air & jumped away. First round the top mark Col, Adam& Troy were never headed & sailed away from the fleet to win comfortably. Behind TBS, there was close racing. Raptor, SFC Computers, Controlled Insanity, Range & Firestorm traded gybes & positions down the first run. Raptor kicked clear & proceeded to hold 2nd place for the remainder of the race until being caught on the northern side of the final run. It was quick getting there but near impossible to get out. Firestorm snuck through on the Marmong side to get 2nd. Bob, Hayden & Chris got Raptor out of the doldrums to get 3rd by a
few seconds from SFC, who also came home strongly down the Marmong shore. Controlled Insanity were within striking distance in 5th, knocking off Steve, Geoff & Mark in Range as they too found the ‘northern parking lot’ on the last run. A little further back Gordon, Doug & Ryan continued to tune their boat & had a good race eventually getting the better of Battleship, who found the light runs not to their liking. Bozo, Oden & Kev on PBB were just a little further back after trying an asymmetrical mainsail that has the top 3 battens on the opposite tack to the bottom battens. It was not a huge success…
With a close spread over the fleet, Stowe Australia won on handicap, from the well sailed Raptor 2nd & Controlled Insanity 3rd.
Sunday was hot. Not just the weather, but the racing in the fleet. With the predicted NE’er starting to blow but then dying throughout the race, the fleet once again remained very close. The fleet of seven, alas without Battleship & Controlled Insanity, all had good starts. So good that I think everyone had a turn at both leading the fleet & dodging boats up the first work. In the end Firestorm was clear by the first mark, followed by Raptor, then a bunch including Range, Stowe, SFC, & TBS. But the finishing positions were far from set. With the wind at Teralba unpredictable at the best of times, today was even tougher. The wind died & swung north at the bottom end of the course, whilst remaining NE at the other. In these lighter conditions, TBS showed that hard work over the off-season pays off, and with great boat speed moved through the pack to within boat lengths of Firestorm for the final lap. Both boats ghosted down the final run but in the end having a better-looking crew (& a knowledge of the depth of the lake) made the difference & Firestorm claimed the win. TBS recovered to for 2nd then, as these two crews looked on from the shore, the excitement began. Within 200m of the finish SFC came into view, but promptly ran out of wind. Next Range crept into view and with momentum, passed the becalmed SFC. Range was now aiming at the line, hoping to drift across with limp sails. SFC found some breeze & started to move again but not before Raptor came into view, creeping along the shore. Just as it seemed these two would pass, Range also caught enough breeze to again fill their sails, getting them over the line in 3rd. From the shore there was nothing in it but the judges gave 4th to SFC by 1 second from Raptor. Stowe was a little further back in 6th but the perseverance award for the day should go to Paul Boslem Building. They were becalmed at the leeward mark for 10 minutes but headed off for another lap as the leading boats were finishing. Apart from an increased risk of heatstroke they were rewarded when the sea-breeze finally blew in as they completed the final run. If only it was 2 hours earlier…
Handicap placings went to Firestorm from TBS & Raptor 3rd. Full results are on the web elsewhere but the overall series for the Travellers are worth mentioning. TBS has a 1 point lead from Raptor, with SFC & Firestorm equal 3rd another 2 points back.
The next association event is the Nationals at Sunshine, starting 6th January. NOR is on the web
site. I hope to see you