A tremendous start to the season in fickle conditions felt like high-stakes poker, with displays of calculated ambition, misjudged caution and all-in kahunas at each shuffle of the deck.
The results (scrawled, fittingly, on a bar napkin) eloquently describe how the chips changed hands often over the three races (although familiar high-rollers ultimately remained in the money).
Race one started in a modest, but building breeze which spread the fleet of ten starters across a broad front. After a close start, the first mark was surprisingly processional (with your correspondent thrillingly, but fleetingly sneaking around in third), but the deck was radically reshuffled on the first downwind leg as a dying, shifting breeze compressed the fleet.
After a ding-dong at the leeward mark, the second work was effectively a do-over which saw the fleet re-consolidate through the middle of the course in the flooding tide. However, the Stolen Rum kite on Feng Shui popped while most were some distance from the lay-line, followed by 914 and 1379.
Race two was a different kettle of worms, with boats crowding the boat on a rather short line. Two boats were inevitably pushed over early, while the fleet persisted on starboard with the left looking good (at least from the right from where your correspondent had a depressingly clear view). The spring tide and clocking wind spread and compressed the fleet around two laps, in which Upfront ultimately triumphed.
Race three was a punchy (but inspired) call in the dying breeze and fading light and your correspondent was regretting his night-vision goggles on the final low speed circuit. At the top mark 1240's skipper was relying on 'the Force' to pick his way through the tail of the fleet in the gloaming and encountered 1114 in a version of 'rounding by braille'. Evidently, the near total darkness prevented a definitive ruling on whether 1240 had completed its tack prior to a load-speed collision....
Upfront was on a roll, however and, eyes on the ‘first to the bar’ prize, held out a surging Echelon to win the final hand.
Many thanks to Warwick Gair and his volunteers aboard the committee boat.
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You will note that the results are missing names - please supply missing data if you have it.
Thanks also to THREE new recruits who joined your correspondent tonight aboard 1240 and did an excellent job: Matthew Hix, Gareth Rowan and Richard Smith.
There are plenty of willing crew on the mailing list – many with heaps of experience – so please contact me if you need crew.
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.