The cabin fever finally broke with the forecast 10-15 knot ENE breeze. A mixed fleet of 19 yachts started and a couple fell away with breakages. We have not raced for a couple of weeks so early Sat morning I went for a little swim to wipe down the hull. Barnacles tend to grow quickly around the prop and shaft preventing the folding prop from opening.
Ruth was my sole crew and she had been away from the boat for about 5-6 weeks, so expectations were not over ambitious. The course set was two laps of Wedding Cake, Salamander and Middle Island. My preferred summer course as windward leeward courses do no suit displacement yachts.
We positioned nicely for the start and were wary of the strong ebb tide that would carry us over early. Arriving 15 secs early we reached down the line at speed and blasted away for a clean start.........problem was so did everyone else resulting in a general recall. The next start we duplicated our starboard track but had a couple of tacking hangups that saw us arrive late after 90% of the fleet had crossed the line. This is not necessarily not a bad thing, because we immediately tacked onto port and ducked under the fleet knowing we do well to windward. Back on starboard we took off with the strongest part of the current and quickly rounded up the fleet. By the time we hit the first mark Chilli (Corsair 24 Tri), Watch Me (Melges 24) and Knot Working (Etchells) were only just ahead.
The breeze was now a consistent 20 knots apparent so I opted for a white sail reach on the next two legs. The majority of the fleet did the same ......except for Anneliese (Northshore 33) who like clockwork hoisted the orange spinnaker and started recovering ground. They were hot on our heels by the end of leg three but we still managed to keep ahead such was the windward lead we had made. Rounding Middle Island mark and back on the beat, we had another tacking hookup that cost us time and allowed Goodlife 2 (Beneteau 39) to slip past......but only briefly. Anneliese were still sorting themselves out from the spinnaker drop. We also managed to pass Knot Working!
By the time we had rounded Wedding Cake we had opened up a big lead however the nimble Knot Working slipped ahead with a quick spinnaker hoist. This second lap strategy was to hoist the 1.5oz Assy and scream home on a beam to broad reach. Ruth on the helm did a great job steering a fast and steady course. As we neared Salamander we setup for the make or break gybe. Gybing smoothly through 120 degrees at the mark we pulled it off to perfection, maintaining hull speed throughout the gybe. Great effort for a crew of two.
On the final run to the line we hauled in Knot Working but ran out of course to pass her. Anneliese was not a threat, however Goodlife 2 with their big masthead kite was sailing very fast and slowly closing the gap. We managed to hold her off and crossed the line 4th outright and 3rd on handicap.
Knot Working leading Rogue Wave to the finish
Fantastic day on the water with a steady breeze and course that suits RW to a tee. Just one or two more crew and we could fly the spinnaker on all downwind legs. To finish off a great summers day on the Bay, we settled back with a couple of Stone and Wood Pacific Ales on the sail back to the mooring. The pics were taken by Relle from shore with her Galaxy pad ....thanks Relle, nice surprise and great to see RW under spinnaker......from the otherside.
Rogue Wave is now equal second with Chilli in the Summer Series whilst Anneliese is still holding onto the lead with 3 three races to go. In the Club Championship (Spring/Summer series only), we are sitting on 6th position from 29 competitors......well done crew.
Results - Race 5 Summer Series
1st - Chilli
2nd - Goodlife 2
3rd - Rogue Wave