by Jennifer Crooks
Competitors in Race 4 of the Land Rover Winter Series were once again blessed with warm sunny skies but it was slow going for the 125 competitors in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia organised race.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Alan Quick, owner of the Beneteau First 40 Outlaw, which won Division B today. “When you win, nothing else matters.”
“It was exciting racing at the front of the fleet and we managed to get a little breeze at the start which put us in front.
“It’s tough in the light weather – you have to concentrate for hours on end and then you can get a little break; sometimes it’s fruitful and sometimes it’s not. Today it was fruitful,” Quick added.
“We managed to beat Howard (Piggott, the CYCA Commodore) – he’s usually in front of us and we had some great rivalry against the Sydney 38s in our division.”
Quick used to own a Sydney 38 also named Outlaw and even though he is no longer part of the Sydney 38 One Design fleet the camaraderie and rivalry is no less intense. “Sometimes I still think we are sailing a Sydney 38. We managed to beat Richard on Next and he’s been on top for a couple of weeks now.”
Next (Richard Holstein) was second to Outlaw with another Sydney 38 The Goat (The Goat Syndicate) finishing in third place. After four races in the series, Next holds a five point lead over The Goat with Outlaw a further point adrift.
Race Officer Denis Thompson got the fleet on time, on their respective course A, in a westerly of 10 knots which had dropped to 7 knots by the time the last boat was crossing the start line.
“It’s a spectacular and colourful sight with spinnakers flying across the crowded Harbour,” Thompson said. “The breeze is starting to drop off (at 1215hrs) but we’ll have to see as the day wears on as to whether we shorten or not.”
At 1400hours, Thompson reported that “the fleet are just bobbing around out here in 1.4 knots of breeze.”
“When the first boats went through the gate, we had 7-8 knots and we couldn’t shorten the course on them in those conditions. We’re just waiting now for the new breeze to fill in but it’s about an hour away,” he said ruefully.
The breeze glassed out for approximately 20 minutes before a fresh easterly tending south easterly breeze of 7-10 knots kicked in and got everyone home before the 1630hours time limit.
It was third time lucky for the Arch Rival crew today: three wins from three races in Division C, courtesy of a lucky break at the Cannae Point mark.
Lauren Connors was at the helm of father Steve’s Jones 40 and described today’s racing: “We made good decisions, thought ahead and managed to stay out of the holes on the course.
“It can be a bit like the old saying ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ on the boat: Each of the crew likes to chuck in their piece of advice and it can get like an all in brawl sometimes.”
“We were the last to start in our division and managed to catch everyone. We had a lucky break at the Cannae Point mark - we caught a wind shift which allowed us to steer straight to the mark whilst others got caught out.
“We managed to catch the last boat right behind Shark Island,” she added. Akela (Alan Mather finished second to Arch Rival with Cyrene 3 (Michael Selby) third. Arch Rival maintains a 10 point lead in the overall series pointscore from Cyrene 3 with Scarlett O’Hara (Robert Skol) third on countback.
Arch Rival was also the lucky recipient of the Range Rover Evoque for a week and Lauren was happy to grab the keys.
“Dad’s gone - so I’ve picked up the keys to the Evoque. I’m definitely going to have to take it for a drive somewhere to test it out. Friends of our have just brought a house in the Blue Mountains so it’s the perfect opportunity to see their house and enjoy the Land Rover experience.”
For the team on Niel Burling’s Hanse 40 Baltic Lady “it was a day of mixed fortunes with some highs and some lows,” but they managed to take the win in Division J2 from Inkonkoni (Arthur Lane) and St Elmo’s Flyer (Gil Burton).
“In the light breeze we had a reasonable run to the first mark but it was at Sow & Pigs where things became difficult: the wind had dropped and the tide was coming in.
“It was a slow run back to the top mark but once the sou’easterly kicked in, it settled our nerves and made the day,” Burling said.
“Just when we thought we were doing really well and might come away with the win we saw Inkonkoni coming at us but the breeze kicked in and everything changed.”
Baltic Lady is holding onto a four point lead in the overall series pointscore from Inkonkoni with Lahara II (Glenn Crane) a further one point adrift. Baltic Lady was the lucky winner of the Noakes Group Lift and Stand Package.
Neil Burling is just one of the coordinators of the Breakfast Club – the merry band of volunteers that provide a hearty breakfast to Land Rover Winter Series competitors prior to racing commencing. The smell of sausages, eggs, and onions wafting through the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia clubhouse add to the atmosphere on race days.
“The Breakfast Club ran out of sausages with five minutes of trading left. So to avoid disappointment next week, get in early,” Burling advised. Each year, the Breakfast Club donates an item to the CYCA for the benefit of its members from the proceeds (after costs have been covered). The Breakfast Club made donations to CYCA SOLAS Trusts and Pambula Hospital to purchase a resus trolley, in addition to upgrading the TV in the Coasters Retreat, from the 2013 proceeds.
Other divisional winners today were: Division A1 – Quest (Bob Steel); Division A2 – Elena Nova (Craig Neil); Division B – Ariel (Ron Forster); Division D – Soundtrack (John Amos); Division E – Hick-Up (Bill Ure); Division F – Perfect Match (Josh McKean); Division G – Noakes White (Peter Langman); Division J1 – Hanni (Mike Champion) and Division K – Star Ferry (John Conroy).
The Land Rover Winter Series pointscore continues next Sunday, 1 June.
Go to http://www.cyca.com.au/sysfile/downloads/2014_winter/index.htm for full results