by Bernie Kaaks
Today was one of those days when you definitely would not want to be a race officer. The Etchells Syd Corser Regatta fleet was held ashore for lack of breeze, but at 11:15 a light breeze began filtering through and the instruction went out to head to the course. The breeze fluttered through occasionally, just enough to show promise that with just a little bit of luck, we might get a light south westerly, but the usually reliable Fremantle Doctor must have been making house calls today, for he never appeared on the course.
Thornburrow's promising start all came to nothing as it glassed off.
Finally, just before 2pm, race officer Martin Clark decreed that crews had suffered enough in the sweltering heat, and sent them back to the marina.
Almost as the first yachts arrived, a hot north easterly filled in to just over 12 knots and predictably, the AP flag was lowered again at 2:30 with the aim of a warning signal at 3:00pm. On the way out to the course, the omens were not good. A big wind shift forced the race committee boat to reposition and while they did so, the pressure was clearly dropping.
A course was set at 330 degrees; the windward mark placed at 1.4 nautical miles; the start sequence passed and agonisingly slowly, most of the fleet crossed the start line. Mark Thornburrow read it beautifully, starting on port at the pin end, with the ever watchful Peter Chappell nicely placed behind him.
Ten minutes later the fleet had barely travelled 300 metres and the first of the retirements started to call in by radio, having failed to reach the start line within the time limit. Minutes later, the race was abandoned, and every power boat on the course (even spectators) helped to take the yachts in tow to get them back to the marina. The end of a very hot and frustrating day with no races sailed.
Back at the Clubhouse however, competitors were treated to a delightfully frank assessment of the America's Cup scene by Grant Simmer and Andrew Palfrey – a brilliant end to what might easily have been a lost day!
Regatta volunteers had to wait it out, too!
Mark Thornburrow read the start well at the port end.
Skies often looked threatening, but the wind stayed away.
Skip Lissiman's Bandwagon carries the scars of a confrontation from day 1.