Wine-Dark Sea has wasted little time in getting back to winning ways after her eight month cruising 'sea-battical' from Sydney to Darwin last year.
After what could be described as a warm up event for her race crew, she managed a modest 8th in her first race, before gracing the podium with a 2nd the following week. A consistent three weeks of two 5ths and a 4th followed. Things had obviously gelled by then as the next three weeks resulted in consecutive wins.
Having hit the lead of the pointscore at this stage, the brains trust went to work to figure out the combinations and permutation for the last two races, one of which we wouldn't contest due to a crew 50th up at Magnetic Island (the last place we raced in anger). We figured out only four boats were a danger and their task was next to impossible. Two boats, Quetzacoatl and Rum Jungle, had to win both of the final races; Sports Bar had three points to play with and The Goat had four points. On top of this we had to come outside the top five in the final race.
Results of the penultimate race arrived in Magnetic Island during the party, and the competition had been whittled down to one boat: The Goat. We later found out that one of our crew had defected for the week and assisted The Goat in taking them to the win in this race. That made the crew choice for the race a bit easier... He would be allowed back onboard but would be relegated to a sewer position!
The entire crew sweated on the forecast for the final race, hoping for a fresh breeze. It was forecast but an hour before the start hadn't eventuated. On cue though, as racing got underway, a 15-25 knot gusty sou'wester piped in. All we had to do was keep between The Goat and the finish line. We managed this and even put a few more boats between us. Apart from that it appeared to be a lacklustre performance of only 7th (discarded) and included a destroyed spinnaker. Nevertheless we managed the fastest elapsed time for our course, a feat we did for six of the nine starts we contested, and wrapped up the series win. Sports Bar actually managed their requisite 2nd and 1st in the last two races and ended up on the same number of points as us, but their inferior number of race wins relegated them to 2nd. The close racing through the season meant that The Goat’s 10th in the last race dropped them off the podium, with the last podium position taken by Quetzacoatl.
Sarah and I are ecstatic about our boat's performance as we are rebuilding her crew. We look forward to rejoining the Division 1 fleet again for the Short Inshore Series in the coming summer season.
Other division podium positions by RSYS Members included a 3rd for Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire in Division A, 2nd for Howard Elliot’s Viva La Vita in Division D and 2nd for Paul Clitheroe’s Balance in the IRC Division.
Article by Pete Lowndes
Photos by Greg Davies and CYC Media