>The Race

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The once category-5 hurricane “Lawarence” litered the race track with a debree field of convection and variable upwind conditions from the starting gates. ‘Seahold Perie Banou 2’ revelled the early medium upwind session exiting Sydney Heads. However, the halfway point low-wind ‘mosh-pit’ near Green Cape enabled the ‘Accordian Effect’ to recompress the fleet with random low-speed passing lanes to either side of the rhumbline. ‘Perie Banou 2’ sailed the minimum distance & max VMG when possible while not working a major wind shift, but shunned low yield tactical gambles in the light wind minefield. Thus, the random slot-machine winners on either side of us bounced up & down like a Jack & the Box pushing us around the leader-board anywhere between 2nd and 6th in class as our race manager David Dicks told us later.

While the small guys slugged it out in the mud, the media darlings of the race, the mega-million dollar maxi rivlary ‘Wild Oats’ and ‘Alpha Romeo’ led the 100+boat fleet south. Not surprising as they exceeded double the wind speed with boat speed in the sub-tweleve knot wind ranges. Eventually, after more light head-winds into Bass Straight, we finally got a shift to the north-east and up went the big kite. This lasted from only mid-day to about 3pm as the breeze continued building to over 30-knots true.

Nonetheless, for a vintage S&S 39 she was hurtling dowind at ten to eleven knots speed with immense diginity but a wipe-out couldn’t be far-off as the wind and waves continued building along the coast of Tasmania. So Jon called for the take-down and I relinquished the helm to be ready on the sheet to pull her in once they blew the brace and halyard. Unfortunately, the bow dug into the back of a wave and the halyard loaded up and was lost before the spinnaker guy was blown, resulting in the spi going for a dip in the Southern Ocean. Oh well, you’re not pushing hard enough unless you’re breaking shit right?!

By the time we cleaned up the mess twenty-five minutes later, the breeze was consistently over thirty so we polled out the No#1 genoa without a loss of speed and with superior control vs. another chute. Passing Tasman Island was a medium beam reach in fifteen knots before a morning jaunt up the Derwnt River to cross the finish line on New Year’s Eve with 4th in class and 14th overall on corrected time! So we toasted a great team and race with many more hairs off the dog plucked at Constitution Dock with talk of the next attack in a years time…bring on 2010!

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