With only two races left in the Sailing the Bay Winter Series, the results of race six on Saturday, July 7 not only rattled the rigging, but also the current standings.
There are at least four yachts vying for first placing in this competitive series, with the last race and presentation set for Saturday, August 4.
Race six was a day of heroics when the forecast for the Bay was a westerly wind of about 25 knots. At the pre-race briefing an opinion was that the expected front had just passed so the scheduled Course B could be sailed, with an optional course agreed should conditions worsen.
Seven yachts left the Marina for the start line at Caseys Beach for the 1pm start time. The two scratch boats in this handicap race, Horizon and Eirene, were reaching at a good speed under a 12-knot breeze.
However, conditions changed once rounding Snapper Island and beating into the increasing westerly towards Square Head mark, which presented a real challenge to the fleet.
Charlie Barr 111, who started 17 minutes later, also experienced the strong gusts at Square Head, and decided to withdraw from the race, as did Horizon.
It was at this location that the 45 footer X-boat Xanthia decided to pull the pin due to difficulties in changing headsails.
Eirene, skippered by John McCloskey with seasoned crew Antoinette and Herman Karsten, was sailing the Square Head to Wimbie Beach leg when the four remaining boats started at their various handicap starting times. She held this position to the finish and a maiden win in this series.
Ghoster, a Farr 9.2 skippered by Dion Perrins with Kathie Blankley, sailed brilliantly, and were quickly catching the lead boat.
Attitude, an Adams Offshore 10.6 skippered by Simon Byrne, reefed her main and overtook North Star near the finishing line at Casey’s Beach.
The average time for the race was one and a half hours, twice as quick as the previous race sailed in light winds.
The day’s conditions provided exhilarating sailing for the crews.
The final placings: 1. Eirene; 2. Ghoster; 3. Attitude; 4. North Star.