The marathon race is the signal that summer is done and dusted.
It was a beautiful day for golf as 13 yachts flopped around in 2-3 knots of breeze and 2 knots of tide. The first start was a general recall as the majority drifted over the start without steerage....including us! The restart saw the old Rogue blast across the start line sideways at 0.5 knots at the head of the fleet......if they had a starters prize then today that bottle of red should have been ours!
As predicted, the lighter yachts drifted faster than our old war horse and after about one hour the leaders had put on a good 500m on RW. We hoisted the lighter assy and it still wouldn't fill so we headed up and opted left with Nelson J, whilst the rest of the fleet opted right. About this time a couple of boats retired through boredom. We had some breeze, however they didn't........until the breeze finally filled in one knot at a time from the SE. This put the 'go rightys' in the favoured position and they shot ahead. Rogue gave chase with Ruth doing a great job on the helm as old Kev shuffled around the foredeck.....where is Daz when you need him!
Soon we were humming along at 5-6 knots and gaining on the leaders. Ruth laid the Wedding Cake mark perfectly and we were hot on the heels of Kindred Spirit. By now the breeze had filled in nicely so we hoisted the big blue and black assy and powered past the fast Halvorsen 25. With only two onboard, an early drop at the Salamander was required allowing Kindred, using their slick crew work, to come alongside as we protected the inside route. We hardened up for the beat to Shoal Bay with tidal assistance and held good speed through most tacks, enabling us to pull away from the rest of the fleet.
Rounding Shoal Bay mark up went the pole and we hoisted the bigger black and blue symmetrical kite. Ruth was multi-tasking on helm and going strong as we picked up speed. We gybed our way along the sandbank back down to Salamander Bay mark, slowly stretching our lead over Nelson J, Kindred Spirit and Tanami. Ahead were Kiska, Chilli and Exalte, .......two Trimarans and an X-332 so we were doing ok.
A slick kite drop had us back under whites for the beat to Wedding Cake. A quick spinnaker repack by Ruth gave me a little rest before we rounded the mark and headed for the finish. The pole went up and we again hoisted the full symmetrical and gybed our way home to the finish in the fading breeze. A great day of training for Ruth who helmed 95% of the day with a great result; 4th over the line and 4th on handicap and only 16 seconds off 3rd place.
As we sailed back to the mooring, beer in hand and the sun dipping into the distant horizon, we watched as Kindred Spirit crept along in very light winds trying to finish before the sunset deadline. They made it with 2 mins to spare! Well done G&K, another podium finish.
2nd: Kindred Spirit
3rd: Nelson J
4th: Rogue Wave