Ngalawa the Mud Walloper Does it Wrong Again!
The Annual Mud Island to Port race is traditionally held in light northerly breezes, and the latest, Sunday 19th September was no exception.
Leigh Wynne, our indefatigable Treasurer and Bay Rating Officer was official starter and Officer of the Day. His new boat Wahine, looked trim taut terrific as he took up his position south of the Coffee Pot and laid a good wide starting line.
Punctually at 10am the flags dropped and an attenuated fleet drifted gently across the line.Odin was first to cross, near the starting boat and Tricia followed a few seconds later. Ngalawa was further back because the skipper read the sailing procedures (now amended) whim had substituted ‘yellow flag’ for 'blue flag' and vice versa, thus confusing the skipper who turned his motor off five minutes earlier than necessary. A mysterious, 360 degree ‘granny' helped to land Ngalawa in a hole, and she was a conservative 600 yards astern when she crossed the line to windward of the fleet and close to the Coffee Pot.
Away in the distance Turrarna (Commodore Peter Fraser) was still coming and was quite late at the line to the delight of Leigh who relishes a boat for boat tussle with whoever is closest. As it turned out Wahine, Turrama were neck and neck most of the way to the first mark.
Meanwhile Ngalawa and Tricia were using large light spinnakersand in the flukey breeze the kites collapsed more than once Ngalawa made better speed than Odin on this leg and dropped off · to lee faster, The breeze was heading both yachts and Odin’s skipper minus his usual long alloy pole (destroyed in the previous race) ordered the short replacement clipped to the weather shroud to give the normal J measurement, thus allowing the spinnaker to be sheeted further to leeward of the main and the boat to point higher., Paul whipped out his little blue A.Y.F Rule Book and did not even let his brace run through the parrot beak. (Rule 54/3) which probably Ngalawa was slightly astern and to leeward at the first mark. (Editor’s note: Some confusion exists among boat owners as to which l.Y.R.U. rules are to be observed and which are to be disregarded.)
Ngalawa dropped the big red kite in plenty of time - much too early in fact – because the skipper did not want his crew of eight to feel hurried about the manoeuvre. Odin with a more experienced crew held the spinnaker right up to the mark and so left Ngalawa half a mile back to start the bunch to the Inner Entrances lead.
Meanwhile Tricia, a Cross 24, had problems. The course was becoming too shy for a spinnaker, but the breeze demanded more than Wally's small genoa. This meant that Wahine which started just after Turrama cro ssed the line, was overtaking by virtue of her 300 sq. ft. plus genoa, and the fleet was getting together again.
The long beat was the important leg Odin tacked towards Mud Island and the Gremlin was that lives in the coral dredge sucked up all the breeze as usual. Ngalawa was pointing higher and had eight crew members sitting and sunbaking on the lee float. Ngalawa’s story on this leg is easily told. The further from Mud Island the freer the wind so that the mark could have been laid easily except that the tide did not seem to be running so fast near the Inner Entrance lead and a short tack was necessary within 50 yards of the mark. Odin tacked away from Mud Is. as did Wahine and Turram. Tricia seemed to fall away near the island but recovered well to be within striking distance of the fleet at the mark.
Outstanding performance was that of 'Wahine which went remarkably well to windward when one considers the reputation of some Nicol Wanderers in this regard. For sure Leigh was pulling more than his 30% for skipper. In the absence of Naiad, Turraina is the boat by which all others gauge themselves on a beat and Wahine acquitted herself very well in comparison with this veteran Piyer Njmble.
Ngalawa chose the short trip into fairly shallow water on the Old Pile Light side of this channel, having had some success here under similar conditions in a previous race. Theoretically this is all wrong as the tide tends to run faster here. Turrama and Tricia had a battle royal on this leg, which Tricia the Flying Flea won decisively carrying her minute blue spinnaker with pole end way up high. It was interesting to see Naiad’s old ½ ounce blue and white spinnaker flying again on Turrama – yet another shot in the arm (amentarium) of keen racing man Peter Fraser, and easier to keep filled under very light conditions.
At the finish it was Ngalawa about 2 minutes ahead of Odin followed by Wahine, Tricia and Turrama.
As you can see by the results our Bay Rating Officer, Leigh Wynne has all the yacht s within a nineteen minute spread (in a four hour race - Ed.). Actual elapsed times are within 20 minutes. This means that the speeds of these yachts are remarkably similar. If Turrama ·was 20 minutes late to the start, then four, yachts finished with elapsed times within 3 minutes over a triangular course (Reach, beat, square run) taking four hours. Under these conditions, the four yachts should have almost identical handicaps. This is remarkable for four very different designs varying from 25 to 30 feet.
It is good exciting racing, and as more yachts come out it will be even better. The protest will be heard at the next Sailing and Safety Committee meeting.