Sydney Flying Squadron, Season 2017-18 State Titles, Saturday + Sunday, 25/26.11.17

Saturday at the Squadron, 1st heat of the states, long race, forecast borderline 2nd and 3rd rigs: lots of indecision, last minute cal saw the bulk of the fleet go 3rd, with Sydney Sailmakers, Lincoln Crowne and Company Asia Pacific, Geotherm and Chapman High Performance Sailing and JRW the only skiffs with 2nd rig.

At the start for the long North-east, the breeze hadn’t eventuated, 3rd rigs struggling, playing the middle of the course to get the ebb tide, working shifts into the Nielsen park rounding mark. Sydney Sailmakers, Geotherm and LCC Asia Pacific tight

together at the rounding, down Steele Point through the traffic, trying to find pressure down to the Shark Is gybe mark. All 3 skiffs carted into the island, dropping to 2 sail around and re-set for the bottom run. LCC missed the pressure here due to traffic, letting the front 2 get away. Long work to Beashel, breeze softened, so the 3rd rigs completely out of it, 2 races, the front 3 then a big gap. LCC went east into Watsons Bay and gained pressure on Geotherm, rounding just behind, with Sydney Sailmakers 50 m clear. Geotherm stripped a sheet and had too gybe away from the pressure top fix it, allowing LCC through

to second. From the bottom mark for the last work to Nielsen, breeze back in a bit, LCC 80m behind Sydney Sailmakers, Geotherm a further 50m back, then daylight to 4th.

This was the finishing order, with JRW the head of the trailing pack for 4th, then Chapman High Performance Sailing 5th.

Sunday: 2 short heats, again the breeze the uncertain strength between 2nd and 3rd.

Very late choice, LCC opted for 3rd along with Geothermal and Form Civil, forcing Sydney Sailmakers to comply. The bulk of the fleet, stung after Saturday, opted for 2nd sail.

1st heat, building breeze, solid bottom-end 3rd rig, the 2nd rigs struggling. Again, tight bunch approaching Nielsen Park rounding mark, Sydney Sailmakers 1st, Geothermal, LCC then Form Civil.

Down the run, Geothermal gybed away to round Shark Island, the wrong course, leaving LCC 2nd behind Sydney Sailmakers, with Maersk Lines in the lighter breeze looking threatening with 2nd rig. Last work, this order up to the top mark, LCC 2nd, with Maersk 40m back. They powered down the run with the bigger spinnaker, but got caught in traffic with a ferry, and could not catch LCC, who were 2nd behind Sydney Sailmakers, Geotherm 3rd, Form Civil and then Maersk.

2nd Heat, big shift in the breeze in the last minute to the start, LCC misjudged the start badly, out of the blocks 4th last. Breeze much fresher now, survival stuff for the 2nd rigs, with a lot of catching to do for LCC. back slowly through the fleet, as there were breakages, crashes and mistakes. Last lap, back up to 4th, behind Foxy Lady too, hoping to catch them on the final run to the finish, where they had previously not pushed as hard downwind in the now quite challenging 20 knot breeze against run-out tide. The catching wasn’t to happen, LCC settling for 4th, with Sydney Sailmakers 1st, Geotherm second, Foxy Lady too 3rd, and half the fleet back in their cradles broken.

3 heats to conclude the series next week at Lane Cove for flat water sailing.