Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sydney Racing (2)

A little more on Friday night. The starting line was off the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. There was no committee boat. Rather the powers that be observed from the comfort of the club. I assume from the bar.....

As a consequence the area around the start was very constrained compared to my other experiences in yacht racing. Not only were we maneuvering around the other contestants but also had to deal with the shoreline. It made for quite a lot of near misses.

This particular series uses a staggered start. Rather than all the boats maneuvering to cross the line at the same time each boat has an individual starting time. The idea (which I think is cool) is that they arrive at the finish more bunched together. As part of the handicapping winning boats are assessed start delays. Since we were undefeated in our division we were assessed 2 additional minutes of delay. We crossed the line smartly and without incident. For the first part of the race we were in a pack of 6 or 7 boats all within 100 meters. Exciting.

Although the course was a traditional upwind downwind it doesn't work that way. The harbor is filled with bays and kinks so the upwind leg actually has a few bends. We made for the first mark which we passed on the port side. We rounded the second mark clockwise. Off on the downwind leg. About half way back we were briefly becalmed. This was followed by a major wind shift and the new wind filled with a vengeance. Finally at the finish I was surprised that there was no gate. We just had to cross an imaginary line between the clubhouse and the opposite shore.

I was on a Dufour 31. Quite the change from Reboot. I was mostly rail meat. It was great fun.

Most interesting was that we were never more than 500 meters from at least one other boat. Truly close quarters racing.

Fair winds and following seas :)

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