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H10s – 2012 Aust Champs Heat 3
Heat 3 was set down for a 2pm start but was delayed till 2.10pm. The course was to be the same as this morning's, up to Comslie and set kites to head for home. This may not sound much but it's a very long work to the top mark and back, battling gusts and swell, as by now the tide was roaring out like yesterday afternoon.
The wind had increased to 18 knots and all boats but Kismet were now carrying their Number 3 rigs. Kismet, unfortunately only carries one rig. For this heat there were only 10 starters as Gunners Daughter decided to sit this one out, probably a wise move.
Miss Marlene and Irene-M made good starts in this heat before turning the corner at Bulimba Point and heading into big breeze and big swells, which only got bigger as they got closer to Colmslie. Fifteen minutes into the work and the first withdrawal was Truant II whose mast touched the water, as a matter of fact everything touched the water. A long slow tow to shore followed before being bailed out and heading for home.
Up front Miss Marlene led Wrecker around the top mark followed by Lil Imp, Irene-M and Avro all in close company. Rounding the mark the wind appeared to ease off back to around 10 knots. What's that about the calm before the storm? All boats got their spinnakers set and off they went, before they were hit with 20+ knots which reared up the outgoing tide into big swells, creating chaos.
First to go was Lil Imp, which gave an extremely loud noise as the gaff broke, dropping their kite to the water. The only good news was that they got the kite into the boat before it filled with water. They were able to stabilise everything and would eventually make it to the finish line. Next to go was Kismet, with their kite set she was driven into the back of wave and didn't come back. Merle went next as they got hit with a massive gust, Truant made a couple of game saves but was driven under eventually. While all of this was happening at the front of the fleet Jessie had rounded the top mark in the middle of it and couldn't get away in time. Five boats gone.
The last boat to withdraw was Wrecker who had set his second kite and just got driven down by the bow. This, however, looks to be more than just a DNF though as his bowsprit broke it's fitting on the deck and there is some question as to whether he will be able to start tomorrow's final heat.
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This left 3 boats sailing, Miss Marlene well in front, Irene-M in second with their 2nd kite on but not being able to sheet it in the big gusts and Avro who was in the same situation as Irene-M. Of course, Lil Imp was still being blown downwind to the finish and would indeed take 4th place. When Avro found a quiet patch he was able to drop his kite and replace it with a 140sq. foot flat kite which kept him safe, balanced and moving. Irene-M continued to try and hold their kite and would eventually reach a quieter part of the river where they could sheet on and make good time on Miss Marlene.
Race Results – 2012 Australian Historical Tens – Heat 3