Dave Matthews writes, ‘The crew of Ambitious were looking forward to the last race of the season in what was a gorgeous autumn day particularly after last week’s race was abandoned due to inclement weather. We were also keen to get back to simply racing against our own RSYS division boats after the more aggressive and congested starts of the past two combined fleet races.
There was a short delay before the start while the crew of Gitana waited for the breeze to settle and advise the starting line was being set for a SW course, west of Shark island. Starting in a very light breeze, our second Division fleet had eight starters which was reduced to six when Arcturus 3 collided with Senta at the start. Ambitious managed a very good start slightly above Agent 88. Within 200 metres, the fleet were confronted with a large wooden masted cruise boat sailing directly across our path. Fortunately, Ambitious was the only yacht to clear its stern and we continued a starboard tack towards Clark Island keeping to the South of the harbour to avoid the worst of a very large ebbing tide.
We managed to make the Kirribilli mark with a clear lead and set spinnaker for our next mark at Neilson Park. From there our course took us around Shark island and back to the Kirribilli mark. Ambitious still had a good lead from both Zig Zag and Agent 88 who were battling for second place when the wind died, and we anxiously floated off Bradleys Head going nowhere and becoming increasingly frustrated not knowing where opposition yachts were and how they were faring. After what seemed an eternity, we noticed yachts further to our East were setting kites for a Nor-easter, so we quickly raised our No. 1 and pulled down the spinnaker and waited for the wind to finally arrive (a 180-degree shift).
Our next mark was at Rose Bay where we set our big kite for a run to the finishing line at Kirribilli all the time thanking the crew of Gitana for their wisdom in setting a shortened course. We finished 5 minutes ahead of our archrivals Zig Zag (another J35) and were overjoyed at finishing the season with a 1 & 1.
Once again thanks to the skippers and crews of all the other 2nd Division yachts for an enjoyable season. Our thanks also to all the RSYS sailing staff.’
Photo by Ian Woodforth