Australian 12ft Skiff Titles forecast for 20-30 knots with the suggestion that it would ease through the afternoon to 20 knots, saw the fleet nervously deciding rig-combinations on the beach and watching the wind-strength readings up to 30 knots at Sydney airport.
This saw the choice being predominantly fourth rigs, with smaller mains and jibs setup and a smaller spinnaker rigged.
Out to the start of race two, lots of upturned skiffs between the club and the start-line as people became used to the conditions.
The two races were both taken out convincingly by Garde, sailed by Brett Hobson and Alex Johnson, stamping their imprint on the series with three wins from three starts.
Race two, three laps windward-leeward Rose Bay to Taylor Bay got away cleanly, with Garde leading around the top mark, followed closely by Skol, (Peter Polec and Jamie McCrudden) then Giddy up (Paul O’Malley Jones and John Cole), then Lincoln Crowne and Company (Jonathan Temple and Richard Jones). Very fast and wild ride across the bumpy harbour reach to Taylor Bay, places unchanged for the start of the second work.
The conditions were beginning to take their toll on the fleet, spread out across the harbour, with a number of upturned hulls indicating stories to be told, and both Geotherm (Scott Hobson and Damian Vlotman) and D-Unit (Adam Forbes and Richard Johns) destroying their rudder outriggers taking them out of the race.
The final run to Taylor saw Garde with a commanding lead over LCC with Gemmell Sails (Murray Press and Ben Gemmell), and Skol hot on the heels.
Gemmell Sails and twinkle-toes Press outsmarted LCC on the finish, to take second by three seconds from LCC, with Skol fourth.
Race three followed directly after race two, a shorter two lap windward Leeward with a shortened work.
Away clean in pressure, with the usual crowd leading up the work, with only Brett on Garde having the nous to have noted the severely shortened leg and the relocated top mark, giving them a clean rounding and the bulk of the fleet having to reach down to the mark, and commence the long chase to catch the now-distant Garde.
Some bedlam down the run saw a number of the frontrunners down the mine, leaving Skol and LCC to round together, having telescoped the massive lead that Garde had begun the run with.
The second work followed the form of the first, Skol dropping off the pace a little, allowing LCC through to second, and this was the order of the finish.
The starters boat had a spread of wind readings from 16 to 35 knots over the afternoon, and noted that Garde completed the one mile plus run in under four minutes.
Race four and five tomorrow and the forecast is different, big rigs looking like they will be the call for the day.
by Jonathon Temple
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2:04 PM Sat 7 Apr 2012GMT
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