David FitzSimons, skipper of Koolaroo writes, ‘The afternoon was very overcast with rain threatening, but the main concern was almost no wind; Short Course was duly signalled.
We had three crew cancellations, so we were down to five including one inexperienced but enthusiastic 13 year old. We were starting a minute from the back of the fleet having inexplicably lost a minute of handicap from the previous week even though we came 6th out of 10 and were five minutes slower, through the water, than Zig Zag which came second! (not that I am counting! ??)
The wind piped in at maybe 12 knots, just in the nick of time. We got a good start for a change, powered up on a close reach. Nearing the first mark, Starstruck tried for an inside overlap but failed and we came hard on the wind tacking towards Shark. Several close tacks ensued, including one where Zig Zag on starboard, kindly waved us through. Thanks Malcolm!
As we approached Shark Island there was some congestion ahead, with a lower division yacht causing Zig Zag and Flying Turtle to duck, losing a couple of lengths. We followed hard on their heels to the far mark and went wide to avoid the throng.
We turned for home in maybe 4th or 5th place, with four or five yachts including Zig Zag, Flying Turtle and Senta between us and Shark Island.
We went low on a broad reach, hoping to avoid the wind shadow behind Shark only to see Zig Zag and Flying Turtle catch good breeze and forge further ahead.
The wind was constantly varying from maybe 5 to 8 knots and fading, so we concentrated on keeping clear air, bearing away in the (tiny) gusts to maintain a position below the rhum line and heating it up in the lulls to keep boat speed.
The yachts closer to Bradleys were suddenly out of wind and we forged ahead, with half a mile to go, in 4 to 5 knots of breeze. There was just one yacht dead ahead, which we did not recognise, and hoped was not in our division, which was confirmed when she finished without the siren.
We got the siren, nearly two minutes ahead of Zig Zag, with Senta a few seconds behind in 3rd, and were well pleased with our performance.
Thirteen year old Lachlan was thrilled to accept the first prize!!!
As I often say, it is a wonderful privilege to sail on Sydney Harbour.’