Friday night was the first race in the BYC Crown Series Regatta, the biggest racing fixture for our club, and the biggest sailing regatta in Tasmania. The competition includes six different classes, from trailable yachts to tiny dinghies to keelboats. We are in the Cruising Spinnaker class, which has three divisions and around 37 entrants. There is also a Cruising Non-Spinnaker class as well as a class for serious racing keelboats – almost 100 larger boats are entered, not to mention the Off the Beach series for the smaller boats.
With an earlier start time than our usual twilight race there was a rush to get away from work and to the yacht club by 4.45. Being my birthday as well as my non-working weekday I had spent the day pleasantly, celebrating with my Mum and sister Nancy at a winery. So I made my way there in leisurely fashion. The club was transformed, with marquees in the carpark, bunting and an excited hum of activity. The wind was blustery again, but thankfully not as strong as on Wednesday.
Our crew arrived and we set off for the start line under leaden skies, with showers veiling the mountain. With so many divisions on the water there were multiple start lines, ours being a way offshore at the start boat ‘Alaska 45’.
We began milling around in readiness, but with the conditions predicted to change the orgainsers decided to delay the start by ten minutes to give the wind a chance to settle in. Looking down-river we could see a line of dark water, hemmed with a line of angry white-caps. We presumed this was the edge of the sea-breeze, coming in later than usual. By the count-down to our start the change still hadn’t arrived, so we set off on course O for Oscar, heading for the Garrow Mark, still under a fickle wind which swung from north-east to north-west and back again. Somehow we badly calculated our start and ended up way at the back of the fleet. We spent the whole race trying to catch up, but sadly we ended up second-last over the line and last on handicap.
The little ray of sunshine on the horizon being that there is only one way to go – we looked forward to improving the result on Saturday.