by David Price
Flying 11 Upper Harbour Championship at Lane Cove 12ftSSC, NSW.
UH Champs Fleet Working Up To Manns Pt - McGrath Flying 11 Upper Harbour Championship and Dash For Cash
Saturday 5th February.
Sydney was experiencing a week of intense nor-westers as a consequence of cyclone Yasi and the rescheduled 2010 McGrath F11 Upper Harbour Championship and Dash For Cash was held in blow-torch 40C+ conditions with bullets in excess of 30kts barrelling down both the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers providing a very exciting day on water.
The Dash For Cash started on time at 1330hrs with a number of crews having a ‘le Manns' entry to the river and needing to be very careful not to enter the course triangle as it was a black flag event. 1375 Outlaw Harry West and Jackson Twomey MH12’SSC unwittingly wandered into the dark side and scored a dreaded alphabet result BFD right form the start. However, the other Harry in the mix 1362 Guccii Harry Price and Simon Boardman M16’SSC shot out of the gate and led up the short but fiery first beat to round the top mark and then scream past the clubhouse on the way out of Lane Cove River through 'humbug' to the finish/start line just under Balls Head out in Parramatta River.
Hot off the start, the two Harry’s grasped every bullet within reach to fly out of the first river with 1276 Predator Paddy and Finn Gilbert HHSC just astern weaving through the bulk of the fleet after a late attempt at a start earning a DNS. They had to dodge a number of up-turned hulls as a result of some crews being 'surprised' by the intensity of the gusts. Once at the mouth of the Lane Cove River, 1362 Guccii had established a comfortable lead over BFD’d 1375 Outlaw with 1329 River Rat Amelia and Henry Stabback NSC, 1337 Shake Your Booties II Caitlyn and Sophie McIntosh and 1344 Panther Toma McQuillan and Tara Kate Blanc-Ramos DJSC huddled together on the run down the Parramatta River to the finish of the Dash and the start of the UH Championship.
The official placing’s for the dash were 1362 Guccii 2mins ahead of 1329 River Rat and 1337 Shake Your Booties II a further 36sec astern for third place.
The start of the championship got underway at 1413hrs with a fast outgoing current to battle upwind in a nor-west breeze at the time of around 14kts with gusts up to 20kts, most of the fleet choosing to stay on the high side of the right and head towards Manns Point.
The fleet worked up the river in classic river sailing conditions, 1362 Guccii and 1375 leading the majority of the fleet coming to a halt just under Manns Point, those further to leeward such as 1276 Predator appearing to remain out in pressure only to find the westerly playing it’s tune and dropping out at the wrong time to leave them caught in more of the strong outgoing tide.
It was a real chess game for the whole fleet inching ahead with little breeze under the headland, fast tide competing against the advance upriver. With a few 'touchy-feely' gusts wafting through the fleet, 1362 Guccii were able to maintain their jump ahead of 1375 Outlaw next door with 1276 Predator agonising in wait for the same encouragement to leeward before the big chase from Manns Point up past Clarkes Point and the gutter off Hunters Hill SC to the top mark at Spectacle Island.
Bullet after bullet opportunities confronted the fleet on this work, one moment some crews surging ahead leaving others in their wake to then be confronted by the reverse swing of fortune, leaving the chase wide open the entire journey.
It was the Harry v Harry show at the top mark off Spectacle Island with 1362 Guccii establishing a healthy but uneasy minutes lead over 1375 Outlaw and 1276 Predator trailing 2mins behind them yet still looking dangerous with the extraordinary conditions in the hot searing westerlies on the river.
Mixed fortunes met the following fleet with many having a cool dip up the gutter at various time of staccato gusts whilst the front runners screamed past Drummoyne Sailing Club to the left turn at Snapper Island to head back down past Cockatoo Island to the leeward mark off Balls Head.
There was plenty on during the run down past the DSC with many gusts punching through the fleet literally scalping the upper layer off the river surface in excess of 30kts, the skipper of 1362 Guccii later expressing it was the fastest run in a F11 they had ever experienced.
Guccii Dousing The Flames in 40C+ - McGrath Flying 11 Upper Harbour Championship and Dash For Cash
Thrills and spills were the order of the day for the next triangle around the islands, the battle at the front end never over as 1375 Outlaw continued to apply pressure on 1362 Guccii’s lead with 1276 Predator pouncing on some winning gusts astern to close the gap considerably by the rounding of the top mark for the second time.
1276 Predator’s day however came unstuck along the run in front of the DSC with a dip to windward in a heavy gust so ending their advance on the front line and a bust up of the 'Dirty Harry show' up ahead. By this stage of the race, these front three competitors had stretched out a considerable lead from the following pack and their hold on the podium places were maintained to the finish.
At 1534hrs 1362 Guccii crossed the finish line after a 1hr21min dog fight with the fierce westerlies and a fast running outgoing tide 2mins ahead of their rivals 1375 Outlaw who continued throughout the race to challenge the lead making the end result quite uncertain right to the very last short leg from Balls Head to Manns Point. 1276 Predator comfortably held on to third place.
Dash For Cash Fleet Through Humbug to Parramatta River - McGrath Flying 11 Upper Harbour Championship and Dash For Cash
Full details and results can be viewed on the F11 class website here
F11 Upper Harbour Championship - Scratch
1. 1362 Guccii - Harry Price & Simon Boardman M16'SSC
2. 1375 Outlaw - Harry West & Jackson Twomey MH16'SSC
3. 1376 Predator - Paddy & Finn Gilbert HHSC
11 Upper Harbour Championship - Handicap
1. 1276 Predator - Paddy & Finn Gilbert HHSC
2. 1320 Nothing To Loose - Finn Alexander & Charlie Gundy LC12'SSC
3. 1279 The Ritual - Macca Paton & Giorgia Populin LC12'SSC
Dash For Cash
1. 1362 Guccii - Harry Price & Simon Boardman M16'SSC
2. 1329 River Rat - Amelia and Henry Stabback NSC
3. 1337 Shake Your Booties II Caitlyn & Sophie McIntosh B16'SC
New F11 Upper Harbour Champs Harry Price & Simon Boardman - McGrath Flying 11 Upper Harbour Championship and Dash For Cash
Guccii First Across The Line In The UH Champs - McGrath Flying 11 Upper Harbour Championship and Dash For Cash
Plenty On During The Run Passed DSC - McGrath Flying 11 Upper Harbour Championship and Dash For Cash
Harry V Harry Approaching Top Mark - McGrath Flying 11 Upper Harbour Championship and Dash For Cash
Outlaw Heading Down To Finish In Dash - McGrath Flying 11 Upper Harbour Championship and Dash For Cash
Guccii In Dash For Cash - McGrath Flying 11 Upper Harbour Championship and Dash For Cash