by Nick Press
In the Parramatta River championship, Jonathon Temple and Richard Jones sailing Lincoln Crowne convincingly won during the weekend.
LCC heading to vitory - 2013 12ft Skiff Parramatta river championship
The breeze forecast very sickly, pleasant surprise of big-rig Easterly when the punters arrived to rig-up.
No question on the rig choice, except for Garde who chose to sail with a light-weight substitute crew in order to free-up regular crew to skipper for driver-less Vantage Real Estate.
All the skiffs away clean from the start off the Cabarita Marina, a line of skiffs heading into the Parramatta River Club, lead by The Bird (David Lusty and Glen Farquhar), closely followed by Garde (Brett Hobson and Philip Hibler ) Lincoln Crowne and Company (Jonathan Temple and Richard Jones) then Skol (Peter Polec and Jamie McCrudden)
At the first tack The Bird came at Lincoln Crowne, who with right of way tacked them back: this caused The Bird to tangle with Garde, stopping the pair and allowing LCC and Skol to get away.
This was the order up through the 'esses' at Searles Monument, on the way to the top mark at the Gladesville Bridge.
Puffs and shifts of pressure all the way up this work kept things challenging for the lead skiffs, with 100 metres separating the first four. LCC around the top mark first for the spinnaker set up-river, followed by Garde, Skol and the Bird. Just behind was Skiff (Ben Faulkner and Renn Holland) who were going well.
The lead bunch closed together in the variable breeze in the esses off the club, with LCC out of the doldrums just ahead of Skol.
At Call - 2013 12ft Skiff Parramatta river championship
At the approach to the bottom mark LCC were not able to find the mark, dropping the spinnaker way early to look for it: this allowed Skol through to round the bottom mark first. Garde got a strong gust in the approach to the mark, carrying them deep and forcing a difficult spinnaker drop: this went awry when the spinnaker went around the back of the mainsail, requiring them to eventually capsize to clear it.
LCC passed Skol in the first part of the work, with The Bird also coming back at Skol, passing them on the second half of the work, then loosing second again to Skol at the top mark for the second time.
LCC cleared away on the second run, leaving Skoll and the Bird to tussle on the run. The Bird called right of way in a close incident, forcing Skol to attempt a crash gybe, in which they nosedived, catapulting the crew up the rig and punching him through the mainsail some 2.5mts above the boom. This gave The Bird an easier task to concentrate on closing the gap on LCC, which was partially disabled by a broken jib block, preventing LCC sheeting the jib on one tack.
Fleet - 2013 12ft Skiff Parramatta river championship
However the margin LCC had was sufficient to hold on for the win, by a minute, from The Bird.
Garde had made gains on Vantage (Brett and Brad Phillips) and both skiffs now neck and neck with a righted Skoll, with half a lap to go, all fighting for third place. Vantage had a capsize 50m from the final mark, and Garde pulled into third at the mark rounding. Skoll and vantage opted to sail high on the reach to the finish, Skoll rolling over the top of Garde, and Vantage making big gains.
Skoll capitialised to take a clear third, Garde just holding out the father/son pairing of Brad and Brett Phillips on Vantage to take fourth by a mere few seconds.
Handicap went to The Bird, with At Call second (John Williams and Will Lusty) then Vantage Real Estate third.
A very interesting day!