The forecast on Saturday was for light winds, around 10 knots at midday, then easing into the afternoon. It was nothing like that at Drummoyne. Before the TS16 race began, just after two, conditions were unpromising, very light, with patches where boats were becalmed. Then the winds picked up. They were variable up to 15knots, and swung around. Race official Ken Nagle said the winds shifted from a light ESE, to East, to South East, back to East, then through North East and back to ESE.
It was a day that rewarded skill and a good early lead, and at times it required some plain good luck.
The TS16s had a championship race with 13 starters, the biggest fleet this year. The first nine boats stuck close together throughout the race, finishing within 5 minutes 30 seconds of each other.
Ultimately Sinster, under the helm of Craig Jelfs with the usual skipper, Neil Bilsborough as for’ard hand, was in the lead by the end of the first round, with Uncle Norm second.
At the start of the last leg, down near Tarban Creek, Uncle Norm, Eric Partland and Gary Willis, were just behind Ultimately Sinister. By the time they got to Spectacle Island they were starting to overtake on the windward side. Uncle Norm won by four seconds, less than a boat length ahead of Ultimately Sinister.
Uncle Norm is a new boat for Eric and Gary this season, and it has taken a while for Eric to get the height (the ability to sail into the wind while tacking) that he aimed for. Eric observed that Ultimately Sinister “has really got height”.
Craig Jelfs, a life long DSC sailor, has sailed with members of the Bilsborough family over the years. He described himself as Ultimately Sinister’s reserve grade skipper, an interesting description for a man with seven national titles under his belt. Craig said that, at the end, it turned into a soldiers’ breeze; “you just follow each other, you can’t tack.”
Ella, Bob Russell and Nick Broughton, won the handicap. The newest addition to the fleet, Aeolian, sailed by husband and wife team Darren and Kylie Chignell, came second.