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The Rock-itt : October 2009
Perfect Breezes for the First of the Season Middle Harbour 16 Ft Skiff Races The 2009/10 point score season opened on Saturday12 and19 September with perfect 10-12 knot north- easterly breezes. Saturday12 was the first heat of the Crews' Trophy Race. This involves a handicap start, i.e, the slowest boat (ours) starts first . In this case it was the drop of the 15 minute flag at 2.35 pm. Thus, it was important that we leave the beach early in order to reach the starter's boat 1.5 km away at the Balmoral Naval Depot wharf. We left the beach shortly after 2pm. We were slow off the beach with the gentle on-shore breeze. The boat seemed sluggish and unresponsive. However, soon we were round the yacht club pylons and a small puff of breeze had Arjax up and planing on a shy breeze. It was then that I quietly asked, "Did anyone put the bungs in?" A couple of expletives from Rev, our skipper, confirmed a problem. After allowing the boat to plane happily for a few moments to achieve a venturi effect, we decided that this should be sufficient to drain the several bucketfuls that would be between the floor skin and outer shell. As the boat planed merrily along, Rob, our foreword hand stepped to the stern and replaced the bungs which had been sitting snugly in the spinnaker- net bag's pocket. The question now was whether we should go ashore and empty the skiff. But, for the first time in years Rev was wearing ...a watch! It was 2.11pm with a kilometre to go to the start. Wisdom prevailed ( the wisdom of over 170 years of life and over 100 years of skiff sailing between us). The venturi effect, we thought, would have been sufficient to have drained out most of the water. How wrong we were! Fast moving skiffs following us sped past us so that we finally finished fifth. It seemed the six or seven bucketfuls still within did not help at all! ..... Nor did missing the start by two minutes because the starter's watch was five minutes fast! That's sailing; what can go wrong, will go wrong! Saturday19 September in Middle Harbour was a beautiful day, a 10- 12 knot nor'easter, meaning less likelihood of capsizes in the cold start-of-season water. It was a four race sprint series, commencing off Balmoral Naval Depot wharf with a short work out to near Middle Head. The short work meant there was close sailing around the buoys and finishing line. Lincraft surprised by winning the first race on scratch, followed by V K Thomas and Sheads, position of first place, to take first place on scratch in the series. When the handicap positions were calculated, Club Commodore, Alexandra Deakin, came in first in every race. Arjax (Ian,Rev,Green), was second in every race, and Giro Constructions(soon to be the builders renovating the clubhouse) third overall. An afternoon of fast, close sailing with split-second gybes. Welcome to summer!