Combined Clubs Race to Sandgate

By Mike Hodges (Skipper from Renaissance)

Saturday dawned bright and clear with a light SE breeze at 8-10kts. Six multis sailed out to meet the starter for the Combined Clubs Race 4 to QCYC at Sandgate with an overnight there before Race 5 back to Manly on Sunday. The start was a downhill affair and we got away well at the port end of the line, but were soon claimed by Boss Racing and Frequentflyeras we held off McMoggy, Hasta La Vista and The Cats Whiskers. At the Green Is. West Cardinal it was kites down and harden up for the St Helena red. On this leg everybody held station until kites went up again at the red and we headed off to the Coffee Pots in a freshening breeze going more east. Hasta La Vista was the big mover with their new masthead kite. She powered past McMoggy and Renaissance. This really pleased Lyle (skipper for the weekend as Jim was at a wedding) as he told us later over a rum or twenty !!!

On the next leg, a beam reach to the Brisbane Roads buoy with the wind now up to 15-18kts, Renaissance lit up, and with bursts of 20+kts we hauled in Hasta and put distance on the others following. Boss Racing and Frequentflyer had rounded and were on their way to the finish. We had a problem with our kite set and having got right on to the tail of Hasta La Vista, we gave them a couple of minutes start in the spinnaker run to the finish. Boss Racing finished at 11.56 for an estimated time of 1hr26m. Frequentflyer exploded their prodder on the last kite run and were claimed close to the line by Hasta. Next was Renaissance then McMoggyand The Cats Whiskers. We all agreed later that it was such a perfect day for sailing that it was a pity the race was so short, the last multi finished at 12.30 !!! We entered the creek and were greeted by the friendly QCYC staff who helped us tie up and then we were ready to party. Lyle and crew from Hasta La Vistacame over with a bottle of Bundy and it was “on” with visitations from most boats during the arvo. Lyle doesn’t remember much except it was good to win both OMR and PCF !!!

The club was a buzz on Saturday night and we had a great meal with some fine wine, followed by some crew dancing on tables (see photo) now a tradition apparently !! The scariest thing was seeing Peter Hackett helping out, so he said, behind the bar, I just hope his new boat gets here soon so he won’t have time for bar work.

Sunday morning was a carbon copy of Saturday and with the start at 9.30 the wind was 6-8kts SW. The fleet, now only 4 boats with Boss Racing and The Cats Whiskers not competing, set off with screechers hoisted. What were we thinking? We knew the breeze would go east, which it did, so screecher furling on McMoggy and Renaissance saw us both in trouble and dancing around each other with half a screecher flogging, and in our case, having to drop the thing on the deck before we could resume course. That’s why they call them SCREECHERS!!! While all that was going on Frequentflyerwas still having trouble, and was even further down to leeward, but Hasta La Vista had furled their screecher without trouble and was on line to the Brisbane Roads mark. From there it was the Coffee Pots and Hope Banks then to the Finish. So it was all to windward to Hope Banks and we were steadily pulling away from the other boats until the pressure picked up a few knots and Frequentflyerbegan to catch us, passing us on the spinnaker run to the finish. We turned the tables on Hasta La Vista with a win on OMR and PCF and McMoggy pushed in for a 2ndon PCF relegating Hasta La Vista to 3rd.

All in all a great weekend with keen competition, lots of fun and special people.