After an AP of 3 hours we were able to go out and compete in 3 races with the wind flicking from 155 to 175 to 200, for each start. By now the wind had abated to 15-25 knots in the puffs with rain at times. This was hard sailing in the short chop making upwind conditions difficult. The girls did well to get the weight as far out as possible considering there was no toe rail to keep them onboard.
During the June long weekend MHYC sent a team to compete in the RMYS Women’s Keelboat Regatta. This was in response to a generous invite from the owner of the Adams 10m Rollercoaster, Ken Simpson. We brought our own Spinnakers (3), Mainsail and #1 Genoa to make sailing on an unfamiliar boat slightly easier.
The three days of the regatta provided a range of testing conditions:
Day 1 The weather today, 5 degrees Celsius (coldest June day for 13 years), wind 2-4 knots and thick, blanketing fog. Visibility was no more than 1000m at the best of times. Often no more than 100m with a runabout appearing on the course from Williamstown, which is on the other side of the bay, lost and having no idea where they were. The breeze was swinging between 40 odd degrees, with no chance of setting a course. After nearly 4 hours floating around the race officials decided to pull the pin for day.
Day 2 Again the crew were up bright and early, for our 7am briefing with John Hurley. However the weather was now proving a handful with gusts reaching 40 knots from the south-west forcing a delay in racing. We went for coffee with one of the Melbourne sailing teams that were competing in the event. After finding out racing was still delayed we then decided to do the girlie thing and head for the Markets. Liz, Rosie, Kate and I walked a little further as they decided if they could not go for a sail on Rollercoaster they would go for team bonding at Luna Park on the Rollercoaster. Unfortunately the Rollercoaster was not operating so back to the Yacht Rollercoaster for hopefully an afternoon of racing. After an AP of 3 hours we were able to go out and compete in 3 races with the wind flicking from 155 to 175 to 200, for each start. By now the wind had abated to 15-25 knots in the puffs with rain at times. This was hard sailing in the short chop making upwind conditions difficult. The girls did well to get the weight as far out as possible considering there was no toe rail to keep them onboard. The fleet was mixed with the main competition coming from Salamander III (Adams 10m), Horizon Sprint (Radford 10.9), Alien (Lidgard 11m) and Hush (Cavalier 35). That night we all watched the Wallabies play England in the Motel Lounge Bar and continued our team bonding, with our English members of the crew.
Day 3 Race one saw us use all three spinnakers, starting small and ending up with the big masthead. It was great to see how fast the crew had become in the Spinnaker hoists as well as being able to read the sailing instructions. This saw us getting the gun in the first race of the day. The racing was as close as ever with only seconds separating some of the fleet. With many headsail changes between the #1 and #3, Kate is now very experienced at headsail changes not having done any prior to the event. We were able to get three races in, breeze 10-18 knots with the occasional gust of 25.
Following Monday’s racing, the crew enjoyed a sit down dinner presentation with many prizes and a great attendance of approx 200 competitors and friends. The evening was hosted by the RMYS Commodore who announced during the night that next year’s event would be known as the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta.
Congratulations to the overall winner on VYC Hyperactive (J24) Kirsty Harris. Our overall results were VYC 5th, AMS 2nd, IRC 2nd. We were also awarded best start trophy for one our starts. A great result using a borrowed boat sighted for the first time 1.5 hours before the start of the first race.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Hurley for his Coaching and support during the regatta, the next thankyou goes to the MHYC members for their very generous support at such short notice. Thanks to all the companies who supported our raffle efforts including the Sydney Swans and DeckHardware Australasia who supplied our major prizes. Special thanks to my parents, Robyn and Phil for driving down with my sails. A very special thankyou to Nigel Holman for the loan of his inflatable vests making the sailing more comfortable as we were required to wear lifejackets in this event.
Thanks also to the team pulling together with minimal training on Animus – Jen Rezek – Main, Liz Gazzard – Trim 1, Julie Hodder – Trim 2, Rosi Winn – Pit (plus everything else usually done by mainsheet hands in Sydney), Kate Cooper – Bow and Mast. And to Qantas thankyou for finding Julie Hodder’s sailing gear, her bag had decided it did not like the Melbourne weather and that the regatta should be held in Cairns.
During the Regatta we enjoyed incredibly close racing with Salamander III. It is hoped that they will be able to join us in Sydney for the next MHYC Ladies Day, as we will be able to arrange an Adams 10m for them to sail. We all had great fun and I encourage all Sydney women to think seriously about taking part next year. As well as competing in the Women’s events on Sydney Harbour, they are always great fun.