Both before and after our Wednesday Twilight race there was plenty of activity. A large three masted schooner was parked across our start line. From the for sale web site “Southern Cloud is a majestic 130’ triple masted motor sailing yacht specifically designed and constructed for long range cruising. She is now available for sale. She is the ideal vessel with the classic appeal, for intimate getaways, long weekends with close friends, family vacations, corporate entertaining or product launches. She is the perfect yacht to take advantage of the enormous deck space and 360 degree views.”

Fortunately we were able to get her to move away for an hour so that the 70 yachts that had to tack out of the Lane Cove River could do so with a degree of safety. A big thank you to John Wood who chased them up on Tuesday and arranged the move just 30 minutes prior to our start.

The race was conducted in an unusual wind pattern with the direction different on the west end of the harbour.  We took punt of the No 1.5 genoa which is the Dimension Polyant Carbon from off Passion that we have used as a No 1 for the last year. In the early gusty conditions we were over on our ear to 40 degrees and struggling a little against the heavier Jackpot and the two Ker 11.3 twins and the nice rig on the new J 112e, Meridian. As the breeze eased we gained some ground but I could also see Lisdillon making up ground determined to continue her winning streak.

In the early windy conditions the aircraft carrier Flashback had an unfortunate mishap when the fractional rig suddenly reverted to a masthead rig. Very fortunately it was a clean break above the shrouds so the mast remained upright. It is a fairly small section and had given 30 years of service so I think around a $1000 per year of sailing is not a bad figure. Perhaps more of a worry will be getting a suitable replacement section and matching it to the very light hull weight.

Our moment of  hope came as we rounded Cockatoo Island for the tight reach to Humbug where the fleet that went in close appeared to be becalmed. We skirted the fleet only to experience the same light conditions further away from the lee of the island and the gap widened out as the leading boats were first to the new breeze.

Captain Beck won the night in the sibling rivalry competition although to be fair the two Ker 11.3’s are not identical twins and Much Ado V should be giving a couple of minutes to Dump Truck on ORCi. That is something they can argue about over the BBQ.

We were four minutes behind Much Ado V. a couple of minutes behind Dump Truck and Jackpot and we split the J112e fleet being a minute behind the professional crew on Meridian and a couple of minutes in front of Joli. I think this one does not count in the head to head competition Stephen.

Sweet Chariot cleaned up in the handicap stakes and we were surprised to beat Lisdillon into second place by a mere 19 seconds.

Sympathy goes out to Soundtrack who must have hit the doldrums somewhere on the course and was a late but valiant finisher. It was the sort of night when they have done well and no doubt they will be breathing down our necks next week.

The finish was affected by the return of Southern Cloud to our finish line and the fleet could not see the finish mark behind the bow of the 130 ft craft.

An hour later a 40 knot southerly swung up and Southern Cloud dragged her anchor. While holding down plates of food on the deck we watched as she drifted towards the ferry dock and were greatly relieved when the crew started the engines and got her back under control. The same breeze made it difficult for the raft up to disembark from the pontoon and thanks to all those who helped and were patient while the yachts peeled off.

Southern Cloud position up to an hour before the race

Southern Cloud position up to an hour before the race

Southern Cloud in the calm before the 40 knot southerly hit

Southern Cloud in the calm before the 40 knot southerly hit


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