The fleet of ninety one Flying Elevens leaped off the start line for race 1 at 1120hrs in almost perfect conditions.....
Saturday 28th November 2009 Upper Sydney Harbour
The fleet of ninety one Flying Elevens leaped off the start line for race 1 at 1120hrs in almost perfect conditions – sun beaming down and a strengthening easterly swing to nor-east at 14kts and slack tide off Cockatoo Island.
F11 stalwarts 1305 Lethal Blonde Chris Fay and Emma Knighton from Belmont 16’SC blitzed the leeward end start and were clearly in front by a boat length in the few first moments of the race, with only an individual recall for three boats at the first and ultimate start of race 1 by RO Col Chidgey.
Thankfully, there were very few other craft on the water making it a clear playing field for the fleet working a relatively short work to the first mark off Manns Point, with 1276 Hurricane Paddy Gilbert and Nicola Elliot HHSC showing the fleet their home water knowledge around first ahead of (ocs) 1261 Just Do It Paul Miller and Thomas Smith HHSC, 1391 Bolt Tim Forbes-Smith and Jim Colley ASC, 1340 XLR8 Murray Jones and Harry Morton B16’SC, 1305 Lethal Blonde and 1277 Adrenalin James Brewer and Xavier Winston-Smith HHSC.
Along the reach to the wing mark, 1391 Bolt took the lead and were a boat length ahead of 1276 Hurricane with 1340 XLR8, 1305 Lethal Blonde and 1366 Protagonist Declan Reilly and Ira Dubery M16’SSC beginning their assault on the leaders.
At the leeward mark, 1391 Bolt had established a 30 second lead from 1276 Hurricane, and 1366 Protagonist, 1305 Lethal Blonde and 1340 XLR8 rounding together immediately astern. 1391 Bolt covered well up the second work a comfortable fifty seconds ahead of 1276 Hurricane, 1340 XLR8, 1366 Protagonist and 1277 Adrenalin back in the play.
By the top of the course on the third rounding, 1391 Bolt had kept a tight rein on the lead, although 1366 Protagonist had halved the distance between them, with 1374 Fired Up Natalie Greentree and Harry Price M16’SSC sneaking around next ahead of 1340 XLR8 and 1305 Lethal Blonde tenaciously doing their stuff to remain in contention for a podium finish.
The breeze had freshened to about 17kts and the fleet shot off to the wing mark in spectacular fashion with the crews experiencing another great ride with coloured spinnakers being wrestled and big smiles on all faces.
By the time the fleet had commenced the last work up to the finish off Balls Head, the tide had started its run back up the river, local knowledge being a big asset leaving some crews very confused with many positions changing at each cross.
So it was with 1391 Bolt slipping the lead to 1366 Protagonist passing Mannes Point, however staying resolute and out of the tide to cross the finish line and taste first blood just ahead of 1366 Protagonist in second place.
Third and fourth places were in a similar battle, with 1374Fired Up arriving at Mannes Point out in the tide but ahead of 1305 Lethal Blonde closer to the shore. It was a photo finish for third place with 1305 Lethal Blonde crossing a second ahead of 1374 Fired Up, fifth place going to 1352 Boris Felix Gretch and Adam Bloomfield HHSC.
After the fleet had watched the yachts competing in the Seven Islands Race, race 2 got underway with a clean start at 1440hrs in a fairly robust but twitchy 17-20kt nor-easter off the northern end of Cockatoo Island.
1358 Decoy Declan and Flynn Rohr HHSC worked up the eastern side out of the tide and led the fleet to the first mark twenty five seconds ahead of 1391 Bolt, 1383 Swift & Shift Joshua Tasker and Ben Piggot CSC, 1366 Protagonist and 1373 Hammer Time Sam Ellis and Kurt Hansen B16’SC just squeezing themselves around the top mark with the tide in full swing aggressively pushing the fleet back on to the buoy. The conditions caught a number of the following fleet out, with a lot of angst seen on many faces as their layline diminished the closer they came to their rounding, several failing to manage the rounding without a great deal of pain and heartache.
A few little rain squalls caused a bit of a “holey” time amongst chaotic gusts of 22kts leaving many crews sitting and watching as their competitors sailed by, only to receive a “get out of jail card” themselves in the next squall.
1366 Protagonist had fared the best to lead at the leeward mark ahead of 1391 Bolt, with 1373 Hammer Time hot their heels and well ahead of the rest of the pack.
Things were certainly interesting as the cloud cover played a bit of havoc for the fleet over the next few legs, notwithstanding the 12footers and their first race of their NSW Championships were now interspersed amongst the ninety odd F11s.
By the time the fleet had arrived for the last work past Mannes Point to the finish line, it was 1373 Hammer Time with a comfortable lead covering their home team mates 1355 Ninja Nina Long and Mitchell Webb B16’SC, continuing on to cross the line first and second place, with all-girl crew 1370 Checkmate Anna Kendall and Hanna Lanz ASC a worthy third place.
The wet and weary crews returned to the shore after a great first day of the 2009-2010 NSW State Championships, all looking forward to the start of race 3 on Sunday at 1125hrs.
Last Modified on 29/11/2009 04:36