By Jennifer Crooks
With another week of winter rains and then sun, Race Nine of the Audi Winter Series 2009 saw early rain showers clear just in time for the start of racing. The largest fleet of the Audi Winter Series to date of 148 yachts took to the start line. Racing commenced on time in 7-8 knots of westerly breeze with Course A being sailed.
PRO John Hurley said that today's wind conditions were light and they continued to lighten throughout the afternoon, making the decision to shorten the course a popular one. “We commenced in 7-8 knots of westerly breeze which allowed the fleet to start on time. The shifty wind conditions made the first leg of the course interesting. Conditions held in to allow for a nice upwind beat up to Robinson's Point and Garden Island. The breeze lightened throughout the afternoon and with little gradient in it, the decision was made to shorten the course. This proved to be the right decision as some yachts were forced to finish in 3 knots (or less) of breeze.”
In Division A, Geoff Lavis' UBS Wild Thing finished first, with Bob Steel's Quest second and Geoff Morgan & Andrew Banks' You're Hired third.
“We had a really good today – a nice clean start and we managed to get clear of all the other boats in the fleet, so you could say that the ‘Gods' favoured us this week,” said Geoff Lavis
“We were lucky to get clean air, at one point we had to make our way through the Sydney38s, but after a little tousle we got clear of them. When we got to Cannae Point, I took a look back down the harbour and all I could see was a sea of kites. I haven't seen the harbour that congested in awhile.
“At North Head, we were down to ½ knot of breeze. There was a conflict between 2 breezes but we eventually found a consistent breeze that took us right to the finishing line, keeping all the others in our division behind us. We were thankful that the course was shortened. A pleasant day of sailing for the ‘Flying Toothpick'!” concluded Geoff.
Today's lighter conditions favoured some of those yachts in Division E. David & Olivia Price's Bitter & Twisted finished first, with Scott Ryrie's Clandestine second and Vaughan Stibbard's The Business third.
“It was a very enjoyable and social day for us all onboard today. With Olivia away in Europe with the Australian Sailing Development Squad, there was only one skipper onboard today to listen to and it was me! Cat Trew, a member of the CYCA YSA joined us onboard today. She managed to keep us all tidy” said David Price.
“It's been awhile since Bitter & Twisted scored a win, and in today's conditions the number of tacks that we had to do to maintain air & position tripled. We stayed really low on the course and had a good beat up to the Junction Bell buoy mark, which put us in a strong position.”
“We were quite surprised when we crossed the finish line and the gun went off. With a small crew of five, a couple of regulars and one new crew member from Port Macquarie, we were a tight, happy winning crew,” concluded David
In Division F, Alan Mather's Akela finished first with Rob McConchie's Wave Dancer second and Robert Skol's Scarlett O'Hara third.
Other division winners included Rob Reynolds' Exile (Division B), Scott Beach's Ruth Star (Division C), Desmond Fagan's Lisdillon (Division D), Brian Carrick's Velocity (Division G), Guy & Lachlan Irwin's Clewless? (Division H), Ted Tooher's Chancellor (Division J), James Bevis' Tio Hia (Division K) and Phil Barnes' Livewire (Sydney 38OD).
For Full divisional results please log on to http://www.cyca.com.au/sysfile/downloads/2009/club/aws09/09RGrp1.htm
For Sydney 38 One Design results please log on to http://www.cyca.com.au/sysfile/downloads/2009/club/awss38/09RGrp2.htm