Last Saturday’s Sussex Inlet and Basin Yacht Club race began in light south east winds. The breeze had the potential to bring ideal sailing conditions for members who hit the waters of St Georges Basin for the event on the inside course.
The race had a handicap start under the orders of Phil and Barry on Sparrow Fest. The boys got the first boat, Two Up with Paul Garrard and Lynne Spicer, away at 1.03. Hot on their heels was the crew on White Dove (Steve Ings and guest crew Steve from the Highlands) at 1.04 and John Aney’s Fun, not far away at 1.05. Next away were the Fitzgeralds, Andy and Louisa, on Hoo Roo, in a delightful 10 knot south- easterly breeze. There was then an eight minute break before Berani D headed out at 1.16 with Ken Maloney and son Keith on board. Pass the Port had Lynne and Paul Torney, Graham and Rhonda Tait and the Lowana boys on board. Glenn McIndoe, Gary Pawsey and guest sailor Wally McDowell were off at 1.18, and one minute later the back markers, Southern Cross, with the Arnolds, Bill McLure and James Leavers.
The wind didn’t read the script and rather than being a consistent breeze it turned into a guessing game of wind shifts, gusts and waning breezes that tested the skippers patience and skill. As the race progressed some made better decisions than others.
Streaking away were the boys on Fun. John Aney had the Timpenny flying and once in the lead he wasn’t headed, though he was occasional threatened.
Pass the Port closed in on the leader as the race progressed, skipper Paul making the most of the early breezes which unfortunately left much of the fleet floundering.
As happens with a handicap start, the fleet compressed, and the tussles between the mid fleet saw the central pack’s lead change on several occasions.
Several good bouts between Hoo Roo and White Dove changed the minor positions. Berani D with its mast head asymmetrical spinnaker up on the downwind legs had mixed results during the race in swinging winds. Two Up sailed well to keep in touch with the bigger boats.
Southern Cross plodded along and the last couple
of legs saw it make its way
into the fleet mix, but the Lowana boys just couldn’t get their mojo into gear and found the going tough in decreasing breeze.
The day went to John Aney’s Fun, almost a leg ahead at one stage. It was a great display of how it should be done.
Second over the line was Pass the Port which had no threat from the rest of the fleet. Southern Cross came home third, Hoo Roo fourth, Berani D fifth, White Dove sixth, Lowana seventh and Two Up eighth.