Challenging light and variable breezes set the stage for very close racing between Star of the Sea and Amoeba in the River Passage Series Race #8 conducted on the first Saturday in April. In the end SotS prevailed by a four minutes on PHS and Amoeba pipped SOTS by just a few seconds on CBH.
The race started in a variable 5 knot south westerly with the start line off marker 408. The first mark was laid in the middle of Cowan Creek south of Cottage Rock, just down river from Hallet’s Beach. The second leg was to a mark off Little Patonga. From there the race fleet was to return to the Cowan Creek mark and then sail for the finish off Marker 408.
Just four boats turned up on a clear autumn day – Star of the Sea, Amoeba, Cecilia and Transaction. When the wind dropped just before the start, Transaction was stranded off Croppy Point. However, about a minute after the start, Transaction caught a private westerly and charged down the river, catching the other three yachts off Gunyah Beach. Close to Eleanor’s Bluff however, Transaction and Cecilia got caught on the wrong side of a tide line closer to shore and found themselves making slow progress against new flooding tide. Just 50 metres to the east, Amoeba and SotS were carried out on the last gasp of the flooding tide running in the centre of the river. The race then split into one race between Amoeba and SotS and a second race between Transaction and Amoeba.
The two groups were further separated when the south westerly turned to a light easterly less than ten minutes after Transaction rounded the windward mark at Cowan Creek. Consequently, both Transaction and Cecilia spent most of the race sailing to windward.
The race was shortened to three legs with a finish off Marker 408 in the river. The highlight of the day was the close tussle between SotS and Amoeba, with a tense struggle to windward in shifting breezes to the Cowan Creek mark. SotS put up her MPS to stave off Amoeba who was flying her powder blue spinnaker. However, an easterly change when both boats were off Eleanor’s Bluff saved SotS from Amoeba‘s charge – both boats were on the wind again. SotS built a big enough lead in the remainder of the beat to Patonga, to protect her margin on the run home. Amoeba, however,just pipped her by eight seconds on CBH.