After the wild winds of the last few days and a BOM forecast of 10 to 20 knot west to norwesterlies by late afternoon, I was liking my lips for a solid breeze and B or C rig for the F3. On arrival at the Brook things were a "tad" lighter with 1 to 2 knot patches of breeze wafting through nearly mill pond conditions, but racing was another hour away and in the BOM we trust.
Principle Race Officer for the day was Stuart Harris and he ran the event with the same high standards as he has done in the past, so once again, thankyou Stuart. Nine skippers entered for the event including the return of veteran John Cole-Cook from quite a break in sailing, and former state and national champion, Lisa Blackwood, whom, along with the rest of the regular Marblehead skippers, provided some quite spectacular yacht racing for those that were there watching and passers by as well.
By Race 1, the breeze had filled in a little to maybe 3 knots, so Stu set the course as start between 1 and 2, right up to 6 into 5, short run down to 3 and out to 4 (get use to it), back up to 6 and 5 then final long run down to 0 and short windward to the finish. After a tight start and close racing all race, John Hall picked the right shifts in the final windward leg to closely take line honours from myself and Ray Joyce in third place. With the wind building a little further to solid mid range A rig, Stu lengthened the course by taking out marks 3 and 4; down to 1 then 2 on the first lap. Ray improved his scorecard with a win in Race 2 with John Cole-Cook finally washing the dust of his Scalpel crossing the line in second place and Peter Sylvester sailing well as usual finishing in third place. Race 3 and another winner with Lisa Blackwood taking the gun from yours truly and John CC finishing second and third respectively. After 3 races the leader board had the F3 on top on countback from Ray Joyce, both with 8 points, third place John CC with 10 points, John Hall in fourth with 12 points and Lisa Blackwood fifth with 13 points.
Race 4 and the breeze was now a steady 4 to 7 knots I would suggest with cycles of westerly shifts and cycles of northerly shifts. John Cole-Cook joined the dots the best to take the win from myself in close pursuit and Lisa Blackwood close on my hip across the line as well. After the first drop, John Cole-Cook led the field on countback from myself with 6 points, Ray Joyce in third place just 2 points in arrears, Lisa Blackwood in forth with 9 points and John Hall swapping places with Lisa and 12 points in fifth place. Race 5 and a double of John CC taking line honours again, myself close behind in second place and a hat trick of seconds and Andrew Wardrop linking the dots to take third place. Race 6 and a hat trick to John CC showing he hasn't lost any of his sailing skills, and John Hall pipping me on the final tack to cross the line by centimetres and claim second spot. Race 7 was the final race before the lunch break and I managed yo get ahead early and maintain a lead to win from John Hall in second place and Lisa Blackwood finishing in third place. At the lunch break, I held a 1 point led over John CC on 13 points, John Hall third with 20 points, Lisa Blackwood fourth with 23 points and Ray Joyce in fifth position and 1 point a drift with 24 points.
The breeze slowly eased during the lunch break and Race 8 was sailed in softer conditions of around 3 to 5 knots I would suggest. Peter Sylvester had the highlight of his day with a win from yours truly second and John CC finishing in third place. After the second and final drop for the day, things were tight at the top of the leader board. John CC led on countback from myself, both with 11 points, third with 18 points was John Hall, 3 points clear of Lisa Blackwood in fourth place and Peter Sylvester climbing into the top five with 23 points.
Race 9 started after a bit of a wait as the breeze had dropped out for a period, but came back to around 2 to 3 knots for the start. We didn't know it at the time but this would be the last race of the day. As the race progressed the breeze softened again and John CC mastered the conditions to take the gun from John Hall and Peter Sylvester filling the minor podium places.
After a good 3/4 hour wait and rescue of the becalmed SS Minnow in the middle of the dam, a "souvenir" static sail boat of all 20 cm in length, crudely retro fitted with the RC gear out of a racing car with only one channel for rudder, racing was abandoned due to lack of wind.
Final results and the 2016 Southern Tasmanian Marblehead Champion is John Cole-Cook, finishing with 12 points, 2 points ahead of myself in second place with14 points, and John Hall taking out third place with 20 points.
Next Sunday is IOM Handicap racing with racing from 11:00 AM.
Til then, wet sails.
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