Race held Saturday 19 August 2017
Challenging conditions faced the FSC inshore fleet for the final race of the winter series last Saturday.  The twenty-nine strong fleet left the club in calm conditions under blue skies but the weather on the course oscillated between five knots in the sunshine and over twenty-five knots (with stinging rain and rainbows) under the clouds.  The wind direction swung between southerly and westerly.  A strong current of brown water from the river saw Success laying across the breeze creating unpleasant conditions for the race control crew.  The rapid changes made sail choice difficult – reefing risked being under powered and shaking out the reef risked being overpowered, whilst using a spinnaker in the light airs meant keeping a nervous watch for bullet squalls astern!

The Division One start was marred by a collision of rigs between Division Two’s WildCard (unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time) and Division One’s Aquila which left Wildcard with a broken mast.  Aquila also withdrew and returned to the club to assess the integrity of their rig.  Peter Kennington’s The Cro Connection retired during the race with steering damage.  The five remaining boats enjoyed close racing in their own fleet and close quarters sailing with the other fleets.  Mick Gillum’s Panacea took first on Performance Handicap with Laurie Flynne’s Dynamic second, ahead of Nicholas White’s Wasabi (also fastest).  The loss of Aquila and The Cro Connection left IRC a two-boat race with Dynamic taking first ahead of fastest finisher Wasabi.

Once again Division Two fielded the biggest fleet of fifteen boats, reduced to thirteen finishers with the early retirement of Doug Taylor’s Bagheera X and WildCard’s DNS. The racing was close on the water and once the handicaps were applied less than five minutes separated second and ninth.   Mark Lovelady’s Star Craigie was a clear winner nine minutes ahead of sponsor David Atkinson’s Igawa with John and Jaye Palmer’s Nuzulu third.  Craigie was also fastest.  Igawa took first on IRC ahead of Ernie Delfos’s Windswept with Trevor Taylor’s No Etiquette third and fastest.

Seven JAM boats braved the conditions but three retired, including smallest boat in the fleet Simon Middleton’s Whistling Kite.  The race was notable for a duel between Ian Joel’s Sidewalk Café and Ole Otness’s The Longboat with Sidewalk Café gaining in the lulls and The Longboat gaining in the stronger winds.  The Longboat was first to finish but after the handicaps were applied Sidewalk Café took first, a mere four seconds ahead of Adrian Wilson’s Touchngo with Clive Shilling’s Topaz third.  The Longboat was the sole IRC finisher.

Skippers and crews returned to the warmth of the clubhouse for presentations.  Thanks as always to the race control crew.  Pennants and wine were presented by our sponsor David Atkinson of Jane Brook Wines, with results announced by Inshore Captain Brian Cooper, assisted by Rear Commodore Sail Connor Moran and Commodore Bill Burbidge.  Roast lamb rolls were a welcome addition to the after-racing menu.  Full results can be found on the FSC inshore results page.

Series results will be announced at the Winter Season Presentation Lunch next Sunday 27 August with doors opening at 12 noon.   Cost is $38.50 per ticket, call FSC reception on 9435 8800 to book your place.  Thanks to all competitors and organisers for a great winter series.

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