Saturday 28 October saw the Drummoyne Sailing Club 16-foot Skiffies compete in the 108th running of the Botany Bay Championship sponsored by Wild Oats. It was great to see our entire fleet take the road trip to St George 16-foot Skiff Club for the around the Bay course – in all – 34 starters.
The wind direction was nor ’east predicted to get to 17-18 knots with a predominately run-in tide. This would mean relatively flat conditions at the mouth of the river for our rookies and have the elder sailors trying to remember the best way to navigate the chop & sand bars.
The forecast resulted in many crews opting for the second mast, including; Ron Garner, Dave and Peter on Compo, Waterways with Kirk Mitchell (and roping in James Glassock and Brendan Jenkins) and the regular Edenda crew of Tilly Lang, Jess and Andrew Stephenson. Deloitte (Greta Quealy, Tim Valtwies and Andrew Sheldrick), concerned about the cloud build up and the old Skiffies tale of; “big sails win big races”, chose their number 1 mast.
The smaller rig seemed a wise choice as the first work suited the smaller sails in the bumpy conditions – this saw many in the fleet swim before the rounding mark at Ramsgate. The windward work to Brighton with flatter water saw the big rigs of the fleet pull away with the usual suspects from Fluid, Sutech, Brydens and Southern Beaches putting a gap on the fleet. Brydens was a little too keen at the start, however and a course infringement on Fluid saw them outed.
Meanwhile, on the reach to the tank terminal, the Drummoyne fleet was having a tussle – Jess making the call to hoist the ‘shute in the flat water and handing it to Andrew as they exited stage right to Ramsgate – posssibly following an old Drummoyne pirate, Ross Bell, who once made a similar choice. The conservative sailors two-sailed, with a brief spinnaker set in a large hole under the airport runway, where Greta took the Drummoyne lead from Waterways.
The run to Kurnell was fast with ‘shutes – Waterways’ smaller rig allowed them to regather the lead at the turn while the Deloitte crew made a slow turn for the two-sail reach back into the river and the commons. On this run the breeze started to fade giving the big rigs a significant advantage. The final work back to Towra Point suited the big rigs as did the run to the finish.
Drummoyne results were:
Deloittes 16th and 6th on H’cap, Waterways, 19th & 18th, Edenda 27th & 24th, Compo getting “the double” bringing the fleet home in 32nd.
Thanks to St George & Wild Oats for putting on the regatta. We will encourage all the 16-foot Skiffs to come to the Upper Harbour Championship on December 9th at Drummoyne.