Winter Series 2015 Open Race 7

Winter Series Open Race 7, 2nd August, 2015 – A sail of two halves

By Tom Wheeler

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The sunshine and a very light wind were a pleasant change for the crews of the ten yachts participating in the seventh outing of the Winter Series. Unusually, the prestart manoeuvring featured the rattle of anchors being readied and deployed as all the boats battled to make headway over the start line off the Pilot bay wharf and up the main channel against the outgoing tide. Their spinnakers, once hoisted, made for a colourful sight, but the crews had to work hard to keep them filled. These conditions put paid to the Mark Foy handicaps, as the gaps between the boats quickly disappeared and progress was marked by wise choices or lucky breaks in harnessing the fickle zephyrs coming from a wide range of directions. Inevitably, the lighter and more powerfully rigged vessels stretched away from the more cruising orientated yachts. The leaders had rounded the first mark were well on their way downstream again heading towards the Mount before some of the tail-runners were halfway up the first leg. And so the race seemed set to be a classic drifter – but the weather gods had other ideas, as a 10 to 15 knot westerly abruptly filled in during the third leg, as the boats headed back up the main channel. The complexion of the B division race changed dramatically as Gillian and Force 10 made steady inroads into the race leader and eventual winner, Déjà vu, before Force 10 overtook Gillian on the penultimate leg to claim second place, leaving Gillian a close third. The finish of the A division race was similarly exciting, with Not Negotiable and Rocky engaged in a close quarters battle for first and second, with the former holding out for the win, and the ever-competitive Jetstream taking out third place. Overall, it was a very pleasant and eventful day’s racing, with an equally pleasant catch-up at the clubrooms afterwards. For the first time this featured a draw for all crew present with the lucky winner taking away a Burnsco gift voucher.

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