THE first Sussex Inlet Basin Yacht Club's race for 2022 still had COVID protocols still in place sadly and for the first time in a while the forecast looked favorable for some good sailing conditions.
Unfortunately, the wind did not get that memo and was fickle to say the least, but more on that later.
Five boats ventured out to blow away the new year cobwebs, for an inside course handicap start.
With Phil and Greg on committee boat duties, it was HooRoo (Andy and Lou) first away into a lighter than forecast NW breeze.
It would be a slow one tack work to the first mark, with Salty Tiger (Coxy and Darren) off second, closely followed by Time Out (Scotty and Tetley), then a bit further back Fly Navy Too (Greg and Ronda) and last boat to start was Southern cross (Greg and two Lynnes).
With what was supposed to be a long spinnaker run back up towards McLean's Point, the wind decided it was tired and needed a rest, so at first disappeared, then came back playing the role of the drunken uncle at the family Christmas Party and slowly went around in circles annoying everybody.
Eventually it sobered up a little and decided to be a light nor-east wind for the next few minutes. With the fleet already bunching up before the second mark, it was not looking good for the slower boats in the lead.
However, the fickle breeze still had some tricks to play, and just when it looked like Fly Navy and Southern Cross were going to catch Time Out, it changed again, allowing HooRoo to just stay ahead of Salty Tiger and Time Out still defending third place.
Halfway through the race and the wind was still playing tricks, but all of a sudden, some whitecaps appeared on the water and a stiff northerly came in and would freshen for the remainder of the race and clock around to the nor east by the end.
With boats finally achieving some decent speed it would be a race to the finish.
Salty Tiger managed to overtake HooRoo, but then had nobody to follow, so had to make sure they knew which way to go next!
Timeout surrendered third spot to Fly Navy and then Southern Cross and it would those two passing HooRoo to chase Salty Tiger.
Southern Cross had just taken the lead on the way to the last mark, when it seemed they were unsure which side they should leave the mark and eventually decided just to go straight over the top of it to be on the safe side, the resulting 360-degree penalty turn and occasional fruity language allowed Salty Tiger to slip back into the lead with Fly Navy also in close pursuit.
Final work, in what was now 15 knots of wind would see Salty Tiger just hold on for the win, very closely followed by Southern Cross and Fly Navy Too and that just left HooRoo being chased by Time Out, who despite offering some words of advice to the boat just ahead, could not quite get past, leaving them to paddle back with the wooden spoon.
With thunder now rumbling around the Basin, it was time to head back to the river for the ever popular debrief session. Next week will be a Handicap Start Basin Chase (hopefully the first sailed of the season).
Results: 1st Salty Tiger, 2nd Southern Cross, 3rd Fly Navy Too, 4th HooRoo, 5th Salty Tiger.
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