Sailing can be like swinging on a pendulum, one minute the weather is text book perfect, the next, its survival. After the 35 knot howler felt in last weekend’s Sydney Harbour Regatta, in comparison, the eighth race of the Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore Series - Short Ocean Race (MHYC) offered a welcome change from the previous week's conditions. Saturday saw a mild 8-14 knots breeze oscillating from the North East around through to a South South Easterly.
However, there was an impressive sea swell of 4 metres at the heads standing up against an outgoing spring tide. After a stunning clear start under kite by the 7 boats competing in Division 2, the sea swell had all competitors keeping well clear of south reef. Boats would disappear from view one side of the waves, and come back into view tumbling down the other side. Conditions offshore were lumpy, compounded by significant backwash from the coast. The backing and abating southerly tested trimmer and helm especially working on port straits tack.
The course MHYC set saw the Div 1 boat out for a triangle and 2 sausages, Div 2 triangle and sausage. The course was well set, the main difficulty was trying to locate the rounding marks in the large swell, and one minute they were in sight, the next, gone.
In the end, it was a convincing win for Pete Franki’s Saltshaker, taking line honours, a first in IRC and a second in PHS. Pete Franki said he was really pleased with his crew’s efforts who had held it together well for a near faultless performance for the race.
Second in IRC went to Jack Stenning and Colin Gunn’s Stormaway, third to Dennis Cooper’s Amante. Colin Gunn said, “It was a challenging race for us. The other 36s got off to a good start and handled the big and lumpy swell very well, with much better boat speed and height. We were admiring their performance from a distant last. Some better luck and gritted teeth in the second work and the final run home eventually got us into second place, with Saltshaker a well-deserved and convincing winner for the day.”
First in PHS went to Dennis Cooper’s Amante, and third went to Sean Rahilly and Justin Pelly’s Crosshaven. After the race, Dennis Cooper said, “it was a lovely day to be sailing, even with a shifty wind in a dying breeze. We messed up the second windward leg but mostly got out of gaol on the final run!”