A blustery 20 – 25 knot westerly announced the opening of the 2016 – 17 season. Three HRYC boats, Amoeba, Cecilia and Tangaloa, were joined by Chris Bebb’s Swanson 32, Jia, for Race #1 of the Windward-Leeward Series. In a fascinating race, Russell Bellamy’s Hood 23, Cecilia, finished up with the treble: line honours and first place in both PHS and CBH tables.
Cecilia won the start in the middle of the line from Jia and James Donnelly’s East Coast 31, Amoeba. The race started off Flint and Steel Bay. All three sloop rigged boats reefed down at the start with winds sometimes gusting over 25 knots, while David Wright’s Heroshoff designed Bermuda 30, Tangaloa, looked quite comfortable in full rig (including her mizzen).
Cecilia won the start from Jia and Amoeba
This was the first time that the club’s Windward-Leeward Series has featured a Westerly and some boats – who had clearly not read the course maps or paid much attention to the course signals – went searching for vain for the windward mark in Cowan Creek. Chris Bebb, however, who had read his notice of race and accompanying maps, located the mark mid way between Juno Point and Eleanor Bluffs in the vicinity of the Hawkesbury River mouth. So Jia was able to recover from a rig problem soon after the start to round the windward mark first. It took some time for Amoeba, Cecilia and Tangaloa to extract themselves from their detour into Cowan Creek and make their way back to the windward mark.
There was no change in positions during the return procession to the leeward mark – 1st, Jia; 2nd, Amoeba; 3rd, Cecilia and Tangaloa bringing up the rear. The wind lightened off a little during the first half of the second windward leg, especially on the south side of the course where Jia seemed to be making heavy going against an outgoing tide. Seeing this, James Donnelly took Amoeba over to the right side where the wind was a consistent 20 knots and the tide perhaps not as strong. Three quarters of the way to the mark and beating into the river mouth, Amoeba easily crossed in front of Jia. She tacked to apply loose cover, but as she momentarily laid claim to the race, her genoa ripped apart. And that was the end of it for Amoeba. Cecilia chipped away at Jia‘s lead, but couldn’t get past, finishing some two minutes behind her.
Tangaloa seemed to have a relatively relaxed sail – she over stood on her way to the finish and eased sheets for the line – Ken Barclay, David and Sean Wright all wearing broad grins. Congratulations also to Chris and Tom on board Jia. This was the second HRYC race in which Jia has crossed the line first as a visitor. Can she pull off a hat trick?