Racing on Sydney harbour

Trip Start Dec 29, 2010
Trip End Dec 05, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Thursday, February 10, 2011

I returned to the boat on Thursday morning, in fact they came to pick me up right from the apartment as its literally on the waters edge. I would like to have written that it was in blazing sunshine, but it was unfortunately in very english flat, grey, drizzle. My night at home with Katherine and the kids did turn out to be a far cry from the rest of the boat who partied until 5 in the morning and then rather impressed me by looking relatively ship shape having done a decent amount of sailing by 10am when they picked me up.

The sun quickly burnt off the clouds and we spent a productive day practising man over board drills and some of the finer arts of sailing which no doubt alluded me. The wind began to pick up in the early afternoon to a classic Sydney summer "Nor Easter" so we spent the rest of the afternoon practicing race sailing before our inaugural Sydney twilight race later that evening.

We set off from a very packed Middle Harbour Yacht Club with about 40 or 50 boats for the Thursday evening twilight race at 6.30 on the dot, or perhaps 5 seconds before we were actually due to cross the start line if you were really looking. Strong winds, and a beautiful sunset accompanied us to the first marker which we rounded along with another 15 or so large boats, forcing us to tack away at the critical moment. However, some strong helming from Helli, and good crew work, along with master tactics from Mark the skipper and instructor for the week saw us race straight back into contention.

We crossed the line third in our class and probably the best race position one of the flying fish boats has ever achieved in the twilight series so we all felt pretty happy, non more so than our laid back New Zealand skipper who turned into a truly competitive All Black suggesting we run any boat in our way off their line and not be afraid to bump a couple of $250,000 yachts around the marks. A great race and many beers at the yacht club after.

I sneaked back home at about 11 and returned with croissants for the crew and with the kids to see the boat which they loved. We also learned that in the last week, just going up the middle harbour channel (which is very narrow) they tagged 13 sharks! - a comforting thought.

I had a really great week. Mark was an outstanding instructor and great guy, the crew were great, super people and some very impressive younger girls and guys whom I wish all the best on their course.  I hope to see all again  for another twilight race in a couple of weeks. If anyone wants sailing lessons in Sydney - -they should use Flying Fish.
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