The 2019 IRC Windward – Leeward  Races 17th of August by Rick Steuart

A morning of two breezes. 

Setting off on the bottom mark boat with Selwyn Castles and Todd Walsh I was going to be as close to the boats as I could get.  Well sort of.. we had a job to do and that was look after the pin and the gates.. more about that later.

Eight boats fronted on a very lumpy sea. The breeze itself wasn’t a problem with 12 to 15 out of the south east and RO Dubbo had the course set in good time. Then away went the heavies .. all three of them.. Enterprise must have known something as they sat back and took their time on the line, but made sure they were above Checkmate and Weapon of Choice. Sure enough, they were looking just fine at the top mark and ran away with the race while WoC went way left and found herself looking at the other two as they rounded in front of her. However, the Div one boats hit the line with panache  — Crush and Problem Child competing for the start and Circa taking a leaf from Anthony Kirks book and going a little higher behind them. The Div two boats, a Farr 9.2 and the Etchell were next away and while it was London to a brick that the Etchell was going to be slick, the Farr set off with the win in mind.

Up and down and then up and down again with predictable results, but by this time the breeze was starting to move and the RO called for a pin shift. No problems… Oops, cant get it up. Caught on a squid line. Damn.. ok, no sharp knife in evidence so put a mark on it and leave it for the start boat to lift with a winch. Put another anchor on and reset the pin.

Time to shift the gates.  Done and done. The swell was getting lumpier by now and boats were disappearing behind the waves. Some skippers called for a change of headsail but the next series of starts was with the breeze out of the south and the skippers were still of the mind to run the A2’s on the down. Wasabi came out for the second race and had some fun, but didn’t alter the scoring.  But a series of calls started to echo out of the handheld, MOB on Enterprise after a wild one and seconds after Checkmate goes through their version of a round up. Didn’t throw anyone overboard, but the person in the red waterproof on the leeside disappeared from the camera’s view for a second or so. So they were recovering for a while. WoC took advantage of this and then managed to pull off their own wipe out in front of the camera a little further down. Thanks team! 🙂

Enterprise withdrew to accompany their recovered crewperson home (picked up by the blue rib) Bill Henson on Circa decided to call it a morning and others decided to run with a jib and main ( the div 2 boats ).

With the mornings entertainment peaking with the gusts that came through. the water started to settle down and the mark boats retired to the club leaving the start boat to pull the marks that were stuck under the squid lines.

Enjoy the photos. Please keep in mind that 3 cameras were used and they are not all in sequence.

Once again, I’d like to thank Fremantle Sailing Club for putting me on the water and the offshore start crew who work tirelessly to get the job done. Fabulous people. Thanks also to Travis B who has been kind enough to keep me in the loop and out on the boats taking photos. Much appreciated.