Back to normal, sort of

Last weekend was the first sailing regatta for me as a race official in many months. Like plenty of sailors, no one’s been near their yachts for probably 6 months. For me it was out on the water with the Farr40s, a fleet of seven for the weekend after several have been sold and two of the new are yet to settle crew lists.  There was a scattered array of well known champion sailors including,  Nathan Wilmot, Tom Burton and Will Ryan, all Olympic medallists bringing their talents and experience to the fleet.

Race start offshore Saturday

We headed offshore on Saturday where the NorEaster had come in early, greeting us with a steady 16-19 knots. The seaway however was something different, there was a good cross swell which made it hard to keep your balance, all the start team having issues just hanging on .  We got in 4 good races, two laps with about 1nm windward works.

Good swell offshore on Saturday

Consistency was the name of the game and the Victorian owned Nutcracker with stand-in helm Ray Roberts assisted by Nathan Wilmot as tactician, won three of the four.  There was a mixed crew of locals including one non sailing Farr40 owner Jason King /Solimar providing some guidance on trim.  Covid19 not allowing the Victorians to leave  Melbourne and come to Sydney to sail.  At the end of the day, the other Victorian owned boat, Double Black with their own mixed crew and ring in skipper Mal Parker lay in second.

Inshore start Sunday

On Sunday we were back inshore and I brought the start time forward with the hopes of getting a couple of races in prior to the forecast wind change. We started Race5 in a 8knot Westerly and  100m from the finish of the two lap course, the wind went  180 degrees to the east catching the leaders out and allowing the boats behind time to get jibs up and spinnakers down, close finish that one.  We ran another 3 one lap races in the Easterly of about 5-8knots and minimal swell, thankfully for us on the Start boat after the rolling of the day before.  So we got in all 8 scheduled races, certainly in two very different conditions.

Smooth water Sunday

This time the tables were turned and Double Blacks made up crew took the days honours, whilst Nutcracker took the overall by 4 points. Well done to both Victorian owners for allowing their boats to be sailed by ring in crews. The last race initially started with a General Recall, so we brought out  ‘U’ /RRS 30.3 for the re start which caught out three competitors who pushed it a little too far.  I’ve been starting the Farr40 Sydney fleet since 2013, so many of the competitors, both crews and boats are quite familiar and with a small fleet easily recognisable on the start line.

Sailing towards North Heads out of control bushfire

For now it’s back to work in these difficult times, hopefully we can all safely get out on the water and travel interstate again. Certainly something that I know I miss.

About Phil Yeomans
Phil grew up sailing on Pittwater (north of Sydney) racing in many classes over the years including Manly Juniors, Lasers, 5.5’s, 505’s, several trailer Yachts, E22’s, 1/2 and 1 Tonners, A10m, Sydney 38’s and more. Phil is well known for his knowledge of boats, having built several classes and has a freaky ability to recognise boats and designs. Phil is a National Race Official and Equipment Auditor (Yachting Australia).

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