The Balmoral Manly Junior Team lead by Mirror Sailors Rowan, Oliver and Jackson performed well with a 4th place over all in the Teams Race the following day.
Heat 2 of the Club Championship came with a forecast of a moderate NE. Steve Malone in the Spiegel joined the fleet for the first time but the fleet was down on number with 3 crews racing in the Manly Junior Teams race the following day. The NE filled in strongly with gusts over 20kn. Discretion over valour saw Spiegel and Molly M retire early leaving Cam / Stirling (Yenda Lee) to battle for the lead with Douglas / Spencer (Waterborne at Last). The Yenda Lee was too quick upwind and recorded a strong win.
The Balmoral Manly Junior Team lead by Mirror Sailors Rowan, Oliver and Jackson performed well with a 4th place over all in the Teams Race the following day.
As we get down to the business end of the season, just a few hardy Mirror crews arrived to the club for their weekly sail. There was a fresh and gusty NW blowing straight down Middle Harbour on to the rigging lawn. Always a bit confronting to the Balmoral crews who are used to rigging in the lee for most wind directions.
The wind was mostly 10-15kn with the occasional 20kn+ blast across the beach. The forecast was for the wind to ease in the afternoon but it was all too much for the crew of Firefly who mutinied and wanted out before the boat was even rigged. The crews of the other boats Molly M and Fast Glass were made of sterner stuff and keen to test their mettle and blow out the cobwebs of a dusty week of work.
The wind however, had other ideas. The boats got away to an even start, despite a pre-race capsize from Molly M and the boats made their way to the top mark as the wind steadily increased. The first downwind run had boats boats enjoying an exhilarating ride towards a bottom mark - that they never reached. An enormous gust passed across the club fleets, breaking masts in the Tasars and one Moth reaching 31.8kn in boat speed. Both Mirrors failed to come away unscathed with Molly M sustaining damage to the mainsail and Fast Glass bending a mast. The boats returned to the beach for a well earned drink on the club deck, with plenty of stories to tell and plans to do it all again next week.
Following a break in the sailing schedule due to Easter, this week’s report comes from guest reporter Breda Thatcher with edits from Tony Mandl.
In the absence on holiday leave of our narrator in chief Gavin I submit my race report.
On a day set for a lovely fair-weather sail and with the fleet diminished due to the school holidays it was left to the senior members to hold up the Mirror end. Three sets of red sails battled it out on the water.
Gavin has demanded a dramatic account from a day that seemed at first blush unlikely to provide very much drama.
Lewie and I can usually manufacture some on board tension due to someone sitting on a sheet at the critical moment, being in the wrong position and failing to move briskly or forgetting which mark we should be aiming for. Details of the ensuing frank exchanges are best kept in-boat for fear of scandalising the youngsters!
However we did have one exciting passage as we headed from mark 2 to mark 1 downwind. The spinnaker was up(just) when suddenly the boat stared rocking violently and taking water as a huge shiny black motor cruiser roared past very close and very fast. As we struggled to stay upright and avoid jibing we were delighted to see another motor boat following hard on the heels of the menace with fellows in blue uniforms and full cop gear.
The big bully was pulled over and was being asked a few questions (hopefully also being breathalysed) as we sailed serenely on.
Apart from some close shaves with Steve in the Speigel who “starboard!”ed us a couple of times the sailing was otherwise a lovely relaxed day on the water with conditions good for spinnaker practice (we chased Steve sailing solo down a leg with our spinnaker up and it seemed to make no difference at all to closing the gap!)
Hardly any moments of domestic friction at all!
Tony thoughtfully added Matt to the team for the day in the building NE but made a strategic error at an early stage (port hand start from the pin) from which they never recovered - so we didn’t exchange any on water sledges with them after the start. Tony did however test out the new spinnaker with encouraging results despite some self inflicted tangles at the first gybe.
We look forward to the last races of the season in continuing lovely conditions from the weather gods.
The Mirrors were treated to one of the nicest sailing days you could ask for on Saturday for Heat 7 of the Club Championship. A building NE breeze with the sun shining and yet the harbour relatively quiet.
After a slight delay, the fleet got away to an even start. Newly crowned State Champions Cullen and James in Wave Catcher set the pace up the first work to lead around the first mark. Firefly helmed this week by 10 year old Oliver with dad Gavin squeezed up front reached the top mark next but didn’t count on the National E class using the same mark as a leeward mark. After avoiding a collision with the big boats they ducked the transom of Derek and Claudia in the Tigers Tail to round in 3rd. Next around was Tony and Matt in the much improved Upper Cut with Lewis and Breda and the Molly M close behind.
The boats enjoyed a brisk kite ride to the wing mark with Wave Catcher establishing a nice lead. Behind them, two separate battles formed with Tigers Tail and Firefly going boat for boat. Just behind them Upper Cut was being chased by the Molly M.
Around the next two laps the fleet enjoyed perfect sailing in the now fresh NE with the 2 pairs closely matched.
Wave Catcher powered ahead to a deserved win. Tigers Tail held on to a well earned 2nd ahead of Firefly. Molly M snuck through the boys on Upper Cut downwind to come in 4th.
The Mirror fleet was split into 2 distinct camps this week with two boats using the opportunity for the crews to steer with Rowan taking the helm of Wave Catcher and Oliver skippering the Firefly. The other boats all featured some of more experienced skippers sailing one-up. After spending much of the season working on his boat and crewing on other boats, Tony Mandl re-launched the Upper Cut featuring an upgraded rig with aluminium mast and sloop rig. Joining in the single handed stakes were Steve in the Spiegel and Lewie in the Molly M.
With the start slightly delayed waiting for the Scout Regatta to clear, the fleet got away to an even start in a light to moderate NE breeze.
Once again David and Michelle in their Heron She Said Yes powered away upwind and were never headed by the Mirrors. The Mirrors on the other hand enjoyed a race to remember. First around the top mark was Oliver in the Firefly who taken the left side up the work with the rest of the fleet close behind. The fleet closed up on the first reach as the wind died in the lee of Grotto and first to emerge around the wing mark was the Upper Cut closely ahead of Wave Catcher and Molly M. Spiegel rounded next with a frustrated Oliver rounding last in the Firefly. Tony sailing with good speed extended his lead on the next 2 legs. Some spinnaker troubles slowed the progress of the Upper Cut on the square run allowing Wave Catcher and Molly M to pass. Firefly sailed a great final work to move auto to 3rd just behind the leaders at the top mark the last time. Despite the Grotto lee once again slowing the boats, Wave Catcher held on for a fine first race win as skipper for Rowan. Second was Molly M with a beaming Lewie aboard for his best race of the season. Firefly rounded the final mark just ahead of Upper Cut and Oliver put a tight cover on Tony to finish third with Spiegel just behind. A very enjoyable race prompting much discussion on the club deck after unrigging.
Balmoral Sailing Club held their annual marathon on Saturday. The various classes were sent away in 2 fleets with the fast boats getting away first. The Mirrors started in the second fleet with the scow moths and an Aero or two.
The conditions were just about perfect for the marathon with an Easterly blowing giving an upwind leg to Quarantine inside North Head followed by a reach to Shark Island. The first fleet then rounded Fort Denison before heading backsaws to Balmoral. The Mirrors turned back st Shark Island.
Cullen was missing a crew and sailed Wave Catcher one-up and was untouchable - even leading David and Michelle in their Heron She Said Yes around the 1st mark. Next around was Gavin and Oliver in Firefly, followed by Steve and Tony in Spiegel and Andrew and Jackson in Fast Glass. The boys
managed to co-ordinate the crab trap setting with the start this week dropping the trap from the Mirror on the way to the start and picking it up on the way back in. Unfortunately their organisation skills weren’t rewarded with a catch this week. Almost about perfect sailing conditions meant the crews enjoyed a magic day in the harbour. The reach made overtaking difficult and the boats finishing in the same order and doing well on Yardstick.
Lewie and Breda had a day off from racing but still managed to enjoy the harbour catching a glimpse of the boats from Nielson Park and the fleet sailed by.
Attached are a few shots courtesy of Lewie.
A 7 race series of sailing the previous week at the State Titles took it’s toll on the fleet this week with a number of crews taking a break. However it was good to welcome back Tigers Tail, Fast Glass and Molly M back to the rigging lawn after a brief absence.
The fleet were presented with a perfect day for sailing with a 10-15kn NE on a sunny Sydney summers day. The presence of extra yachts from the Sydney Regatta on course made the pre-start a little crowded but they soon cleared out to leave us alone.
David and Michelle Johnson in their Heron She Said Yes joined the Mirrors at the start and showed a clean pair of heels, quicker upwind and just far enough in front of the Mirrors spinnakers downwind.
Derek and Daniel in Tigers Tail led the Mirrors around the first mark just ahead of Firefly, this week being sailed by Oliver in just his 2nd race as skipper (with his dad Gavin squeezed up front). Close behind were Molly M and Spiegel.
Tigers Tail led around the bottom mark with Firefly hot in their heels but Firefly tacked away at the bottom mark, a tactical error in the strong run out tide and Tigers Tail stretched their lead by the next top mark. Firefly closed the gap by the finish but Tigers Tail finished deserved winners.
Behind Molly M and Spiegel battled neck and neck around the course with Lewie and Breda in Molly M finishing a fine 3rd ahead of Steve and Tony in the Spiegel.
Andrew and Jackson in the Fast Glass cut short their racing day so Jackson could check his crab trap with the boys picking up dinner in the form of a large Blue Swimmer crab.
A great day all round!
This weekend is the Marathon with a 1:30 start.
Should be an Easterly which means a reach both ways down the harbour.
The 53rd NSW State Championships for 2017/2018 concluded over the weekend with 2 days of sailing hosted by the Woollahra Sailing Club.
The first 4 heats had been sailed earlier in the season hosted by Balmoral Sailing Club with points leader Wave Catcher sailed by current World Champ Cullen Hughes and his son James. Close behind and in catching distance were Mad Cat (Mark and Caitlin Nash), Waterborne at Last (Douglas Raftesath / Spencer McKay) and McMissile (Campbell and Stirling Mckay).
Saturday greeted the crews with a sunny morning and the forecast for a very fresh Nor’ Easter, an inbound tide and a very crowded harbour. The proceedings started with the welcome announcement of Destination NSW coming on board as a Strategic Investment Sponsor for the upcoming World Championships followed by a briefing with reports of gusts on the harbour up to 20kn.
Racing was conducted over a 2 lap course of a Windward/Return followed by a triangle with a downwind finish. By the time the boats reached the starting line, a large cloud arrived over Sydney bringing a brief shower and interfering with the sea breeze. The breeze abated slightly and shifted around, but the challenging conditions were no match for the top crews who dominated proceedings. Wave Catcher won the day with (1, 1, 3) closely followed by Waterborne at Last who with (2, 3, 1) moved into equal 2nd with Mad Cat (4, 2, 2).
Sunday brought a big change in conditions with an overcast day, plenty of rain and fresh Southerly greeting the crews as they arrived in the boat park in the morning. The unpleasant weather meant finding a parking spot was much easier and the harbour was much less crowded but the conditions took their toll on the fleet with plenty of capsizes, some gear failure and early retirements sprinkled amongst the fleet. Four races were conducted in Rose Bay over the same course as the previous day. With gusts up to 30kn recorded on Sydney Harbour, the boats enjoyed some exhilarating sailing.
Top performers on the day were the Balmoral trio of Wave Catcher (2, 1, 1, 1), McMissile (1, 3, 3, 2) and Firefly (5, 4, 2, 3).
Special mention to the crew of the classic boat Choppa (Yves and son Bill Stening) who stormed around the top mark in the first race of the day in 3rd only to break their gooseneck in the first gybe finishing their sailing for the day.
Wave Catcher retained their State Championship title despite a crew change from last season with Rowan making way for younger brother James. With a display of consistent fast sailing, they won 8 of the 11 races and finished no worse than 3rd. They made few errors, were always in the top group at the first mark and sailed fast downwind to overtake.
Mad Cat and Waterborne at Last battled hard over the series to fill the podium. Both boats winning a race and spending plenty of of time in the lead over the series. McMissile sailed well on the final day to finish only 1 point off the podium.
1. Little Ripper (J.Hancock, I.Hancock)
2. Blistering Barnacles (S.MacMaster, T.McMaster)
3. Tool Box (R. Barratt, O.Barratt)
Mad Cat (M.Nash, C.Nash)
Tobermory (J.Wright, G.Wright)
Yenda Lee (P.Stannage, B.McKay)
McMissile (C.McKay, S.McKay)
Blistering Barnacles (S.MacMaster)
Blistering Barnacles (S.MacMaster, T.MacMaster)
Overall results here: https://www.sailwave.com/results/nswmirror2018.htm
The Season Closing Regatta will be held on Sunday March 18 at Hunters Hill.
This week saw the Balmoral fleet get away to a handicap start. With the aim of getting all the boats finishing together, there was some careful calculations and considerations on the beach (along with the wave of the odd wet finger in the air) before allocating starting slots.
To add to the complexity, Cullen in the scratch boat Wave Catcher was missing a forward hand and the fleet also enjoyed the presence of new members David and Lachlan Johnson in the Heron She Said Yes. There was some debate as to weather missing a forward hand would slow Cullen down or speed him up but in the end he started with the other low markers.
We also welcomed back to the start line for the first time this season, the Upper Cut. Which Tony Mandl has lovingly updated over an extended off-season, this week joined by Matt Collis on the helm.
Away first was evergreen Steve Malone in the Spiegel. The back markers started together with Cam and Stirling sailing the Dash leading the group around the first mark after the others overshot the top mark by some distance. However, Cullen showing the benefit of ditching the weight of his crew, used great speed on the spinnaker legs, to catch Cam downwind. Drama continued with Douglas and Spencer in Waterborne at Last breaking their spinnaker pole cleat - preventing them setting a spinnaker. Meanwhile Gavin and Oliver in Firefly had their mainsail halyard give way, requiring a voluntary capsize, to also put them out of contention.
The scratch boats finally caught Steve on the final lap with Wave Catcher finishing first closely followed by Dash and the. Waterborne at Last completing the podium.
Mirror Dinghies and Herons are said to be very similar in speed with the Herons using their longer waterline for better upwind speed and the Mirrors foster downwind with the spinnaker. And so it bore out with Wave Catcher and She Said Yes finishing only 5 seconds apart in elapsed time.
This week’s reports comes from guest report Cullen Hughes:
Saturday’s race saw the Crews’ Union take control of the Yenda Lee with Spencer McKay, Oliver Cooke and Rowan Hughes, crews all without skippers, debuting on the race course sailing 3 up. The conditions were perfect for these crews to take over the steering with a light SE/E breeze blowing. Other boats to head out were Spiegel with Tony Mandl (honorary Crews’ Union member on account of sailing one-up), Jazze with Cam and Stirling McKay and Wave Catcher with Cullen and James Hughes.
Gavin Cooke took the afternoon off to sail 16 foot skiffs and the Raftesath family sent their apologies.
The start saw Jazze taking the boat end with Wave Catcher just to leeward. Yenda Lee and Spiegel were spread out further along the line. Wave Catcher tried to squeeze out Jazze off the line but was unable to close the gap to windward with Jazze showing exceptional height up the first beat.
The Yenda Lee team, in their first Mirror race, were hanging in well and having a good tussle with Spiegel.
Jazze was first to the top mark while Wave Catcher was first to the other top mark. Wave Catcher then realised they were at the wrong top mark and arrived at the correct top mark at the same time as Yenda Lee and Spiegel. The fleet remained in close contact on the following spinnaker legs with Wave Catcher having trouble at the gybe mark when a knot formed and then pulled tight in the spinnaker pole launcher.
Up the next leg the fleet spread out a bit but Wave Catcher and Jazze circled up with Yenda Lee and Spiegel half way up the leg to keep the racing close. Wave Catcher picked a couple of windshifts near the top mark and led into the final spinnaker leg with a small gap back to Jazze, Yenda Lee and Spiegel which is how the fleet rounded the bottom mark for the last time. The beat to the finish saw Wave Catcher maintain the lead however Jazze’s skipper came under pressure from the Crews’ Union representative on board which let Yenda Lee through into second. Jazze then crossed the line followed by Spiegel.
It was an enjoyable and successful first outing for the Crews’ Union boat and we hope to have them steering again in future races.