Round 4 of the Marblehead Winter Series and rather calm conditions greeted the six skippers that fronted for the days' racing. While the BOM forecast was for west to northwest winds of 5 to 15 knots, turning to the east-northeast by midday then turning northerly by evening, the Brook offered 1 to 4 knots maybe, initially from the prevailing NNW but swinging to the west then southwest and easing to almost calm conditions for the last few races. Apart from that, the day turned out quite pleasant and sunny after a rather cool start to the morning. Dave Murfet and Stu Harris also turned up to exercise their "club spirit" and as Dave was going to be around for the day to do PRO duties, Stu was "dismissed" and assigned to spectator status. Rod Jackman and Anthony Castray also turned up later, Anthony to shoot some video of Ray Joyce's new Katana design Marblehead that is proving to live up to it's two wheeled namesake, the Suzuki GSX1100R. Great bike in it's day, but I digress. New member and Commodore of Montrose Bay YC, Rod Marshall also turned up to sort out some "bits and pieces" for his newly acquired trio of IOM's from the late (and missed) Alan Furmage collection. We also had a visit from a gentleman, a seasoned skipper with a Sydney to Hobart or two under his belt who's name I can't recall, enquiring about membership and options on which class to start with.
With the late morning breeze being fairly steady from the NNW, the course was set to Course 1; start between 1and 2, up to 6 then 5, short run down to 4 and into 3, back up to 6 and 5, then the standard run down to the gate and finish between 1 and 2. Race 1 and first up line honours went to John Hall, yours truly second and Wayne Behrens, sailing Alan's old Marblehead, third. A win for the F3 in Race 2 with Ray Joyce getting in the mix with a second and Andrew Wardrop on the podium as well in third place. With more breeze in the top half of the course, the course was changed with the start between 3 and 4, up to 6 and 5, back to 4 and 3, two laps, finish on the run between 3 and 4. Race 3 and a second win for John Hall, Wayne Behrens with a second and a another podium for the F3 taking out third place. Race 4 and I took the gun from Wayne in second and Ray warming up with his second podium and a third. After the first drop, I held a 1 point lead from John Hall on 5 points, Wayne Behrens 2 points adrift with 7 points, Ray Joyce in fourth with 9 points, Andrew Wardrop fifth with 14 points and Les Hanson rounding out the fleet with 17 points.
With the breeze waning after Race 4, lunch was called. Conditions after lunch were even lighter and the course was shortened to just the one lap up to 6 and 5, then down to 2 and 1 then back to the finish. Race 5 line honours went to Wayne with Ray sailing into second place and Andrew sailing into third. Race 6 saw John's third win for the day with Ray Joyce notching up another 2 points in second and Wayne with another third place. A double for John in Race 7 and a hat trick of seconds for Ray, with Wayne making up the podium as well. The final few races saw another course change with the wind now more from the SW and a course from the start between 3 and 4, up to 2 and into 1, run down to 6 and 5 then finish between 3 and 4. Race 8 and Ray had come to grips with his new racer with the first of a hat trick of wins, John second and myself third. After the second drop, John held a small but comfortable lead considering the size of the fleet with 9 points, Ray had jumped up the leader board from fourth after Race 4 to second place with 12 points, yours truly sliding down the board to third place on 14 points, Wayne 1 point in arrears in fourth place, Andrew fifth with 28 points and Les Hanson sixth with 31 points. Race 9 and Ray tightened the screws with another win from the F3 in second and John sailing consistently well into third place. The final race for the day, Race 11 saw Ray notch up the hat trick with Wayne finishing second and John rounding out the podium.
Final results for the day and an impressive domination of the very light conditions of the afternoon, with a hat trick of seconds followed by a hat trick of wins saw Ray Joyce win the day by 1 point from John Hall in second place on 15 points and yours truly third with 20 points. Ray's steed, with it's impressive "gold" bulb, has an incredible pointing ability and I see it as being the boat to beat in future Marblehead racing at RBRYC.
Next Sunday is Long Distance with racing from 11:00 AM and either a BBQ or Saveloy lunch, which ever takes the fancy of our culinary chef and Rear Commodore, John Banks.
Till then, wet sails.
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