Sydney Harbour Regatta 2104

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We had a great time and here it is! The full rundown of the Sydney Harbour Regatta out of Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
Friday –
Super excited we got off work at 12.30 and headed up to meet Matt and Antony who would be joining Morag and I for the delivery down to Sydney Harbour from Pittwater. 
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What a lovely sail down we had, around 10-15 knots from the NE we sailed out to sea and gybed over to put up a small asymmetrical spinnaker and headed south.  A case of beer and smiles all around we managed to get good luck and miss the Sydney storms. Antony is Susii’s brother and is visiting from England. It was his first time sailing and I have to say he got all the good bits!
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We pretty much tied the spinnaker off, tied the tiller off and kicked back to enjoy the ride.
A big Cruise ship was exiting the Harbour as we arrived and it made quite the sight. Perhaps we should have ignored the ship and concentrated on getting the spinnaker down, as we had a few minor dramas witht he kite going under the boat on the drop! 
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After it was all sorted we pulled up at MHYC at right on 6pm meaning we had done the trip from mooring to dock in 4 hours.
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Saturday –
Pretty excited was the mood as it was most of the crew's first competitive sailing regatta. Not to mention we were looking splendid in our new crew shirts that Dave quite rightly said look 5 knots faster sitting on a bar stool.
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Antony was back and his partner Sophia had come along for a ride and the guys spent the early part of the motor out to the line giving them an overview of the runners and how they worked.
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Out in the harbour there were a lot of boats, around 200 in all and approximately 50 in the PHS Spinnaker category we were racing in.  Fair to say there were a few nerves mixed with excitement as we got the sails up and went for a little ride up to the top mark and had a look at the course. We immediately decided to move down from the #2 down to the brand new #3 that One Sails had dropped off the night before. 
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There is a whole other article about the sails here.
Race 1 
We were a little confused but the start sequence but managed to get it sorted out just in time to cross right behind the leading boats, an early tack got us out of the bad air and we were right in the middle of the action at the top mark.
No major mistakes on the first spinnaker run meant that we were still with the Flying Tigers by the time we gybed at "Sow and Pigs" reef to head into the bottom mark. Upwind for the second time we had a really good run and worked out we seemed even with the other boats upwind and a little slower downwind than the main competition. It was going to be a game of losing as little as possible at the marks and downwind and tying to peg some back upwind. We got the spinnaker up for the second time and somehow put a small rip in the r2. Since we only have a single masthead halyard we elected to keep it up which turned out to be a good decision as we  crossed the line in around 6th and corrected into first on handicap.
The only minor issue was that the R2 Spinnaker completely exploded as we tried to drop it down after the line. A little disapointing as we had just got it back from being repaired!
Race 1
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We were pretty happy with Race 1 and although we didn't know the handicap result yet we figured we had done ok and the decent result had calmed the nerves significantly.
Was had a nice lunch bobbing around in the middle of the harbour, it is quite a sureal expereince just sitting there watching the ferries, other race boats, motor crusiers, tankers and cruise ships all happily (for the most part) co-existing in the iconic waterway.  
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Bouyed by the first race we committed to take the raised voices down a notch but keep the intensity up and try and improve on our first race result over the line. 
Race 2  
We got a much better start and were giving the fleet quite a bit of trouble at the top mark. We picked quite a nice lift off the western shore and up into Manly removing the need to tack twice and so had a very nice position of 3rd or 4th at the turn. 
That is where things started going downhill for us. A number of boats were having trouble flying spinnaker as the wind had shifted more to the East late in the afternoon. We put up the A3 thinking we had the angle and things were going ok until we got closer to the heads and the harbour mouth where the wind took a sudden shift.
This was less than ideal for us as we only had the Code #3 on deck which is quite a small sail to replace a spinnaker with, and added to that we had to run downwind quite a long way taking us quite a way off the ideal line. 
So this cost us some time but we stuck at it and got back into the race, The guys did a good job but we had lost quite a bit of time on the leaders and unfortunately compounded our error by trying to fly the spinnaker again the second time at the top mark. The wind looked like it had eased and gone back to NE but I think a little local knowledge would have helped us out with that call. Dropping the spinnaker the second time cost us a litte more time but not as much as the first time and we snuck into 7th. 
Race 2
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Saturday Night 
Well the mood was quite boyant as we celebrated our race 1 win and comiserated our second race 7th. We were sitting in equal 3rd place overall with "Flying Brandy" and "Very Tasty". We had quite a few beers and ended meeting quite a few crew from the other boats. This culminated in a fun "Dance off" on the beach by the water at MHYC against the crew of Clewless who were racing in our division. 
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Sunday (Day 2)
Pretty much the same conditions greeted us as we arrived at Middle Harbour for Day 2, Morg and I arrived early after stopping for some spinnaker repair tape and got a few small nicks sorted out so we didnt lose another spinnaker! 
The guys all arrived and today we had Gareth back with his partner Caroline who had been at a wedding on Saturday. We had lost Vini on the Sunday due to a lifesaving course. Since Antony and Sophia had other plans this worked out well as it gave Caroline an opportunity to join us for the first time
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So we set off with  set off with a crew of 8 but more like 6 if you take the hangovers into account from both the wedding and the dance off!
Race 3 
We kicked off our racing quite ordinary and were a few boatlengths behind at the start, there ws a slighty modified course as we headed over to North Head instead of Manly. The wind was around 5 knts lighter than the previous day so we went with our 140% Genoa (#2).
It was a shorter course and that worked n our favour as we elected to go up the western shore instead of following the bulk of the fleet over to the headland. We had picked up all the ground we lost at the start and rounded the mark in about 4th. A great set and we followed the Flying Tigers and Very Tasty down the harbour to the next mark. 
Not much to tell as most boats maintained position from here  and we corrected into first place by a few seconds only. We didn't know it at this stage as we were busy having some lunch and getting ready for Race 2. We got a call from Vini but it was looking unlikely we would have got to Manly in time to pick him up and back for the start. 
Race 3
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Race 4
Race 4 followed the same format as Race 3 but with an extra upwing and downwind leg. We had a good start and were battling with Flying Brandy who was close on points all race. We would take some out of them on the upwind and they would get away a little downwind. we ended up crossing the line around 20 seconds behind them. 
I think Race 4 was our best race as far as how the guys sailed, we were not too far off the leaders and although we crossed in 6th place over the line I was hopefull that we had corrected a little better. and would get a good result. 
It was to be third in the end. 
Race 4
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So we headed back to the club knowing we had been in equal second coming into the last day. We were trying to get a provisional results sheet on our mobile to see how it had all gone and for a moment we thought that we may have won the regatta. But the provisional results were not updated so we waited (not very paitently for th results to update)
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After getting back to the club and packing up the final results came through - 2nd overall! We were beaten by one point in the washup and we know it was our spinnaker choices in Race 2 that probably costs us the regatta.
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Looking back 2nd is a great result for us, it was a great experience for the crew and I am happy with how it came together for us. I hope our vistors Antony, Sophia and Caroline had a fun time and we set about getting the boat ready to head back to Pittwter.
Right as we were leaving (actually untying the boat) we got a call to say make sure you stay and colect your trophy, so given it was Morag's first ever sporting trophy, she was elected to go and collect it when our name was called out. She did a great job making the presenter pause and take a photo with her which was unexpected and got a few chuckles from the large crowd.
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This meant we took off a little later for home at around 7pm.  Morgsy was super chuffed with her new trophy and the crew were justifiably proud of their acheivement!
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The trip back was great as the mood was upbeat and a few beers were consumed in celebration. Vini, Gareth and Dave joined Morgs and myself for the deliver home and apart from getting a bit more wind than we expected was a pretty easy ride. We did need to reef and put up the #4 as the wind built to 28knts apparent, but it wasnt a big deal.
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Vini Dave and Gareth all took turn on the tiller and got some instruction about steering in the waves and some good experience which means I got a rest and had a few beers!
All in all a great weekend and I can't wait to do it all again next year! 
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