IT was a pleasant surprise to wake up on Saturday morning to a forecast of warm sunshine and good sailing winds.
It certainly made a change from the last few weeks of cold and wet days with howling winds.
Eight boats lined up for the fifth Basin Chase of the season with a gentle 10 to 12 knot north-easter blowing under clear skies.
It was a handicap start which saw Zimmer (Paul and Lynne, formerly of Two Up) off first, followed closely by Serendipity (Dick and Tim), Hoo Roo (Andy and Lou), Fun (John Aney and crew) and Bay Blues (John Drummond and crew).
There was then quite a gap until the last three boats started, with Lowana (Glen McIndoe and crew), Pass the Port (Paul and Lynne and Cliffy) and Southern Cross (Greg, Phil, James and Bill) off last.
The first five boats experienced some close racing and by the third mark they were all within seconds of each other.
The fourth leg saw the order change with Hoo Roo pulling out a small lead by the end of the leg.
The wind became fickle in the second half of the race, almost dying off completely on the far western side of the course, and becoming gusty on the eastern side. This made the last few legs challenging.
The tussle up the front of the fleet continued with Hoo Roo taking line honours and Zimmer and Bay Blues taking it right down to the line in the race for second place. They were closely followed by Fun and Serendipity.
Unfortunately the winds and the handicap were not so kind to the bigger boats in this race, which finished in the same order they started.
Provisional PBH results: First Hoo Roo, second Bay Blues, third Zimmer, fourth Fun, fifth Serendipity, sixth Lowana, seventh Pass the Port, eighth Southern Cross.
Next Saturday will be the windward-leeward gate race on the outside course. It will be a handicap start from 1pm.