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H10s Club Championship Ht 1 – No party for birthday boy
It may have been Hughie’s 70th birthday, but neither L’il Imp III/Venture* or Jessie gave Avro any gifts in the first heat of the Historical 10ft Skiff Club Championship.
Just the three starters fronted for Heat 1, held in a light (8-10kt) N-NE breeze. Due to the reduced fleet and light breeze, the regular NE course was shortened to a single lap “dash” from Bulimba Point, to Colmslie Beach and return.
Jessie started at the pin end while Avro dashed down the line to tack over to port on the gun, with Imp III starting closest inshore out of the back-eddy. They took an early lead and kept closer inshore while Avro and Jessie remained further out. The three remained close through to the old clubhouse, where a few private gusts saw Jessie take a commanding lead, which was not to be headed to the first (and only) mark.
The battle remained between Avro and Imp III, with Imp III at stages holding an excellent lee-bow position. However by the Cairncross docks Avro had forged ahead and held on to round second, despite a fast closing Imp III.
On rounding, Jessie and Avro set standard symmetrical kites, with Imp III opting for a traditionally cut reaching flattie. Avro’s set was marred by the sheet getting caught around the bumpkin, which let Imp into second place. Shortly after sorting this out, Avro then had problems with the gaff’s throat halyard letting go, which again lost them ground.
Meanwhile, Jessie was struggling in the tight reaching conditions, while Imp’s more efficient flattie saw them drive through to first place. Avro closed on the back of some favourable gusts, but both Jessie and Avro then got caught in too close to the ship alongside at Cairncross, and while Jessie managed to struggle past into clear air, Avro finally had to drop her spinnaker to claw her way out.
The run along the army camp was again tight reaching, and on a few occasions Jessie almost succumbed but managed to hold on. Avro closed in this section quite considerably, but was still too far back to make significant inroads.
Imp’s choice of a flattie was now questionable as the true angle came further aft, and both Jessie and Avro were able to close, however Imp hung on to record the win, Jessie second and Avro third.
The day wasn’t over for Jessie, in dropping the spinnaker after the finish she had an unfortunate capsize and was towed home.
* It should be noted that the Imp crew did sing “happy birthday” to Hughie during the pre-start!