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SailingApollo Bay Sailing Club

Tell Tales

Sat. 6th April 2019

It may have been the last race of the season, but the racing was no less exciting or edgy than usual. It was a good turnout and there was plenty of excitement as everyone milled about pre-race, yarning and getting prepared.

It was Ffantome’s turn to set the course and with the briefing over Kelly and Anton headed out on the bay to set a port course. It was looking like a very nice 10-15 knot day with the top mark laying almost due west.

Now, all had gone quite smoothly till now, with the duty crew even hoiking out the wing mark to move it a bit further out so as to make the reaches just a bit longer for those big “sooky baby” keel boat sailors (who always carry on about not having long enough legs for the spinnakers). Can I just mention here that in the 1983 Americas cup campaign John Bertrand practiced the crew of Australia 2 until he could hear the crack of the spinnaker in 4 seconds from yelling “hoist, so some of you guys might just need to lift your game a bit, don’t you think?

But back to the start. With the duty boat hanging square off the mark about 100mts, it was into the ten minute keel boat countdown. Now this is where things got a bit weird. Down to 5 minutes, and the pennant 2 flag up, it became obvious that the start boat was drifting. No problem, “how far could a small craft drag its anchor in ten minutes or so?” Funny you should ask, because I can now answer that most interesting and poignant question by telling you “well quite a long way actually, and a lot further than you might think!”

This is the part where I should be able to tell you who was first across the line but with the boats getting further away by the minute it was a bit difficult to tell. What I can say is that it was one with a bit of blue on the hull and it could have had some numbers or something on the sail. But it did look like an orderly enough affair, if a little blurry.

So with the duty boat getting ridiculously far away from the start mark, it would seem that the duty crew was starting to enjoy the absurdity of it all too much to even try and adjust the start boat for the dinghies. They watched with interest as the dinghy sailors just had to trust their start watches as it would have been difficult at best to see the flags or hear the hooter. But off they went after a very cautious approach.

On to the race though and the wind looked pretty good. Interlude and Quickmatch were going along nicely, which is usually a sign that the wind is about 15 knts or better.

With the season handicap on the line Boheme had to put about 6 boats between them and Wild Rose to take the lead and WR needed to stop that happening to stay on top. The windward return saw all the big boats still quite close but Boheme had a small lead. With the wind settling back a bit all boats goose winged their way dead downwind in the faltering breeze.

Meanwhile in the small boat race Affrodite was proving to be hard to beat right from the start, with a small lead on Ziff at the first mark. A fascinating race was developing just behind them with April Dancer using their spinnaker well. SS Margaret Smith (State of Ark), Shiralee and Miss Molly traded blows for a couple of triangles until SS Marg got clear with Shiralee managing to out spinnaker Miss M.

Among the big boats the hard working crew on Its Magic took every opportunity to get the silk up as they have all year. With the wind a little unpredictable in its strength this was a good indication of their growing confidence and willingness to go for broke whenever possible. 10+1 sailed well but couldn’t overtake Wild Rose. Quickmatch had a full contingent on deck and with her beautiful gennaker out for a couple of exciting reaches even managed a second on h/c, proving it was well worth the hard work. Nice to see young Opti sailor Octavia onboard the big boat.

By race end it was Boheme over the line first but with the Wild Rosers not far enough back to take their season win off them. Affrodite had done enough to keep Ziff at bay and Andrew and Russell had sailed the SS Margaret Smith to a handicap win for the day.

So apart from the “experimental” start line it was a beautiful race to end the season on. We will be back next week with one more Tell Tales to wrap up the season and thank a few people. Until then, may all your anchors hold fast and if not, then may all your start lines be generous.

  Handicap Dingy YS Keel YS
1st State of Ark Affrodite Boheme
2nd Quickmatch Ziff Its Magic
3rd Boheme April Dancer Ten+One

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