H10s – To finish first, first you must finish

Avro’s “A” team was back together to dust cobwebs off long forgotten sailing flannels, gloves and trusty Volleys as a “practice” run for the upcoming Australian Championships.  It certainly looked to be a tame race day from Vic Lucas Park, but as the four Tens and two Corsairs found out, being in the lee of trees and buildings is deceptive.

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Compounding the fresh 15kt easterly was a strong running ebb tide.  This made the run to the start complicated, as both Imp 3 and Truant 2 found out.  Fortunately for Imp 3, they had sufficient time to tack and start at the pin end on port to take the start narrowly from Avro, however Truant 2 was forced under and had to pick her moment to tack and return, costing her precious ground.  Jessie took a conservative approach and was well behind the line, as were the two Corsairs.

On the work down to Colmslie, there was very little in it with Imp 3 covering Avro’s moves initally, but Avro was eventually able to break tacks and after several boards managed to squeeze out Imp 3 with slightly better height and comparable speed, despite both being overpowered.  Avro held a reasonable lead, but a better run in to the mark saw Imp 3 almost sneak through, however she opted to duck Avro’s stern to round a close second.

Now it was a game of chess, or chance, still not sure which.  Both Avro and Imp 3 began a run over to the north shore, trying to see which side would be more comfortable to set a spinnaker.  Imp 3 ran hotter angles and gybed in a rare lull, quickly hoisting their spinnaker.  However it wasn’t a clean set and a wineglass ensued, which eventually ended up with the clew and sheet parting ways.  Soon after, her race was over with Imp 3 hitting the briny. This left Avro leading with a reasonable gap to both Truant 2 and Jessie, however Truant 2 was too slow to gybe and she became overpowered and also capsized.

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The Corsairs made good running with their longer waterline and more comfortable sail area, quickly passing both remaining Tens and retaining their lead through to the finish.

Both Avro and Jessie completed the first run back to the old clubhouse, but only Avro managed to make it back to Taylor Street mark, with Jessie coming to grief through a tack.  Avro played it safe from here, electing not to put the spinnaker up in the extremely variable conditions through to Bulimba Point.  From here, it should have been an easy lead up to the final mark on the west bank, but the strong ebb and fickle breeze (go figure) saw this short run take nearly 15 minutes!

This new easterly course will be a real tester come the championships, and whoever masters the transition area at Bulimba Point could see leads extended or vapourised!

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Footnote: in Historical Skiff sailing, class rules dictate that a skiff must retire from a race once the mast head hits the water.