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12s – Alan Reid Memorial Race 1 – 1st March 2014
After the last couple of weeks being nothing but 4th rig, it was quite a welcome change to have a 15kt forecast on Waterloo bay this week.. Numbers in Brisbane continue to grow with 8 skiffs on the rigging lawn ready to rumble.. The Wingman took champion spinner Buddha for a joy ride in the morning and came back in with a glowing wind report.. It was a sparkling 15-16kts and flat as a tack.. Awesome 2nd rig conditions..!!
All skiffs threw in 2nd and we were off to the start line.. The breeze was from the South and sailing out of the harbour was simple.. We found the start line with a little difficulty as it was only as long as Wolfie’s big rig pole.. The start sequence was on and we all racked up.. There were two rows and I’m pretty sure there may have been one or two boats that should have been called back but hey, I’m a bit bias as I was stuck in the second row with a view of Benny’s aft..
We were all two strings off the line but Squid and Wingman tacked off early to clear our air.. That’s when things got interesting…… The breeze decided to part ways right down the middle of the course.. The fleet got caught in zero knots.. Squid was pointing towards the club, Ghetto were towards King, Tankers were at Green and Allwood were heading for the airport..!! Onboard The Mighty Wingman we managed to avoid said hole.. We knocked about 30 degrees, but we took it.. We were still able to twin wire and that was enough for me..!! We looked back at the fleet and by about halfway up the beat we had a handy 300-400m lead..!! Once the fleet got out of the hole they quickly looked to peg us back.. Around the top it was The Wingman, Ghetto, Tank Girl, Skiff ropes then Squid.. The Wingman lost a fair bit of time due to an enormous knot in the halyard and racing suddenly got close again..!!
Wingman held off Ghetto down the run and lead around the bottom mark.. Both skiffs played shifts up the middle with The Wingman keeping a loose cover on Ghetto. Around the top it was the same story with Wingman leading the charge, Ghetto following closely ready to pounce.. The next lap was almost identical with The Wingman holding them off with plenty of speed and height in the shifty conditions.
It wasn’t until the 3rd and final lap that Ghetto decided to have a real crack at us and on went their after burners.. We covered them but after almost two hours of hard racing there wasn’t much left in the tank.. Ghetto’s turbo was screaming and they were able to make up the ground and lead around the final mark.. The Wingman decided to split down the run and pray for a miracle.. We gybed early and Ghetto gybed to cover.. We gybed back to try and entice a gybing duel, but the level headed Ghetto weren’t going to be suckered in to any silly games.. We took our chances and luckily for Ghetto the left hand side paid and they extended their lead, partly due to us overlaying and having to drop and 2 sail to the finish…
Great battle up front in truly trying conditions.. Tank Girl were 3rd and Squid 4th.. The Cougar unfortunately lost her rig on a speedy flat water kite ride so were DNF, Allwood pulled out too. Skiff Ropes were doing well until the final drop which saw the kite well and truly underwater.. That was the end of their day. Tankers decided a quick jib clew change between races was a good idea, until Dr Dancer dropped the shackle pin and they had to go in and find a new one.
The second race was held in a fresher breeze and the lads got a little excited.. The course was shortened and the top mark moved further South.. The start line was again short and sharp which I guess is good for Nationals practice.. The gun went and I had a squid bow pole through my mainsheet.. Not ideal..!!
We all headed left and Allwood showed everyone what they can do when they lean in to it.. They put a good 30m in to us within a minute.. Unfortunately for them the fleet zoomed past when they tacked and got stuck in irons.. The Wingman was first to tack and head up to the top.. We had good pressure but nothing to write home about.. At the top it was Ghetto narrowly in front of Allwood (who once they tacked lit the after burners again) and Wingman.. Allwood went for a cheeky gybe set to avoid being rolled by The Wingman.. Squid were next around and chasing hard..!!
I can’t go in to much detail about what was happening on other boats this leg as something pretty foul hit the fan on board The Wingman and I didn’t pay much attention to the other clowns on the race course.. Our ratchet had turned itself off so John was working hard on Starboard.. We got to the corner and got through the gybe no dramas.. Then bang the starboard ratchet block came off the boat.. John was now trimming the kite from the boom.. We were now underlaying so had to gybe again.. We did so and got the biggest wine glass the world has ever seen.. We sailed with it until John had finished lashing the ratchet back on and by this stage Squid had passed us and Brendo and Joel were heading for the bar..
Ghetto had cleared out and were hundreds of meters ahead.. Squid tacked off straight away and headed towards Green.. The Wingman headed right with Ghetto.. Green paid massively and for a moment it looked like Squid had passed Ghetto but Ghetto held them out and rounded first. Squid chased after them with the old boys looking to be enjoying the freshening breeze.. The Wingman was further back than full back but a delightful Easterly puff saw our faces light up..!! We were heading straight to the finish line..!! The other boys were up inside green but when they saw our puff they quickly gybed out to make the most of it.. Ghetto crossed the finish and took the gun, Squid rounded the bottom mark as there was confusion about how many laps were to be raced.. The Wingman finished in second and Squid turned around and crossed 3rd.. I believe there will be some form of redress for Terry as the miscommunication was not his fault.
A long and challenging day for all skiffs.. It was nice to throw in a different rig. The flat 2nd rig rides were pretty awesome..!!
Next weekend should see some more pressure and I for one can’t wait to get out there again..!!
Until then, Send it, don’t bend it..!!