SOPS Race 6, 7, 8, 9 - 2014

Rating: 5.00/5 (1 Vote)

Well due to holidays and general slackness from yours truly its been a while since the last SOPS update so here is the Short Ocean Pointscore update!


Race 6 –
Well we were hoping to follow up our awesome Race 5 win with another cracker but it just wasn’t to be. We go out to the line ok, but very quickly the forecast wind built up. Most of the boats were sheltered behind Barrenjoey headland and it did not take up long to work out why.

We got the main up and reefed with one reef but the 30 odd knots of wind was really coming in as soon as you stuck your nose out from the headland. We went for a run along the line with just the main up and I was a little concerned with the heavy wind and the old sails. In particular since we had the repaired #4 and I wasn’t hugely confident on how it would hold up.

After one of our crew lost the halyard and it was flying free of the boat we spent quite a bit of time recovering it, at the time I made the call to DNS and not break anything else.
We had Vini's sister and her partner Diago over from Portugal and it seemed like to much of a risk with our guests on board. As such we retired to the club for a beer.

Race 6

Race 7 –
Holiday Time! Unfortunately we had to miss race 7 due to holidays, but don’t worry we had a great time!

Race 7

Race 8 –
Back from holidays, keel repairs complete, (see the other article about the keel delamination) and new antifoul meant we as well prepared as we could be. We took off hoping for a bit of wind an really excited by the prospect of getting out racing again!!
Unfortunately the enthusiasm was tempered a bit when we realised that the wind was virtually non-existent, and the waves were substantial at around 2 -2.5 metres. This meant the start was interesting. We elected to head down the line to the pin end as we were hoping to get some benefit from the tide down that end and figured it wouldn’t matter if we started a bit low.

Turns out “Pretty Woman” and “Tailwind” two of the faster boats in the fleet had the same idea! We made a good call to turn for the line, right into the swell and they each went either side of us. We were close to first or second over the line. The rest of the fleet had gone for the other end of the line and so we all stayed, going forward down the backs of the wave then going backwards up the front. Pretty much just bobbing there!

After around 30 minutes we were still right with “Tailwind” and “Crow bar” steering was a nightmare and we were all over the place. Pretty woman had managed to find some little promise of wind and had tacked away, putting a pretty good gap on the fleet in the process.
Finally we felt a little wind and the three of us started moving all together, while the rest of the fleet stayed pretty much stationary. Within a few minutes the wind filled in and we were finally off for Terrigal. The beat up there was pretty much as it always is and we had a good fight trying to stay ahead of the bigger boats that had not got such a good start. We also had “Crow bar” shadowing us until they elected to go inshore and we stayed out to sea, mostly to keep away from the big confused sea off the headlands which we thought may slow us down.
At the top mark we were the 6th boat around as the bigger boats like “Harlequin” the Farr 40 had hauled us back and overtaken by the turn. Undeterred, we were pretty positive, we had lost “Crow Bar” and we turned we jumped straight on the spinnaker and headed of back to Pittwater.

It was nice to not be at the back of the fleet and we saw some boats that would usually be well ahead of us like XS moment turn behind us and from then it was a drag race. They elected to sail straight back to Pittwater where we headed square along the coast and decided not to gybe until we had a hot angle for Barrenjoey head in case the wind dropped. This also coincided with the tide turning, so symbolically we gybed on the tide.

This turned out to be a great decision as we had some pretty big swell at our back and the wind built, so we were sailing fast and started catching the swell and surfing along the waves. At this point we were absolutely flying , we dug the new sprit into the wave ahead a couple of times but managed not to get it buried too much and keep on sailing. We had one eye over our shoulder at XS moment as the wind started to drop and we entered Pittwater. About 500 metres separated us and the line and the big X-yacht was around 300 metres behind.
A big cheer went up when we realised we would make it home ahead and that we must have done pretty well on handicap.

All in all we sailed a really good race, no mistakes, nothing broken and ended up 6th over the line and 1st on handicap. An excellent effort by the crew and a great result. It’s not often that you get some breeze after the fast boats have finished but the weather gods were good to us with some luck at the start and more luck bringing wind home with us.

Race 8

Race 9 - Final Race 

We had high hopes going into Race 9, allthough there was quite a bit of discussion about which sails as the wind just couln't decide what it was doing. We also had a bit of crew shuffle, Dave had forgotten the start time and missed the boat (literally) and vini was called to work. In addition Gareth had Oliies birthday so we were 3 boys down. Not to worry we still had our awesome girls and myself and Matt. In addition we had a visitor, Uly from Sydney Harbour boat Esprit that Morag has crewed with the week before so we were feeling confident. 

The race started and we had reasonable start allthough I was a little early for the lne and needed to come around once. Once we crossed the start line was where things started going a little wrong for us. The wind steadily built and we were over canvassed with our #3 100% jib. We threw a reef in the main as the apparent wind hit 20knts and then needed  hedsail peel down to the #4 as it read apparent wind of 27 knots. 

The guys did a great job in the 2m odd swell allthough we were really missing the weight on the rail. Our girls are tough but I think they need to go on a hamburger only diet as we were suffering quite badly from excess heel, we wroked out we were missing around 280-300 kg's on the rail from the boys. 

Anyway with the #4 and the reef we were going along ok and started to settle into the race allthough we had lost quite a bit of ground to the leaders. It was right about an hour in when Susii was tailing a rope for Matt and the boat heeled up and Susii lost traction on the deck. The rope spun her around and she slipped into the cockpit back first. She landed on the Mainsheet block and was clearly in alot of pain. We very quickly assesed that we needed to get her to a doctor to be checked out so we turned around and got back to the club asap. Susii was great nd very patient while we got her back to the club even though she was clearly in pain, 

Thankfully nothing broken but Susii will need a few days rest and recovery.

final series

So thats it for the SOPS series this year.  We had great fun and there is nothing like racing offshore to build a good team. 10th overall is not a great result but its not bad for our first season. We are looking forward to coming back nd improving next year!