In Hartley TS16

Race 8

Race 8 was a handicap race held under infernal conditions, with the thermometer reaching 40.8 C mid afternoon. The wind was just over 20knots, a northwesterly which is a comparatively rare event. Many sailors had to check the northwesterly course, with its unusual figure 8 sausage, before they set out.

Merlot, Pete McSullea and Peter Deall, lead from the beginning of the second work. Pete McSullea said that, although it was hot, it wasn’t oppressive but the wind was very drying. “We drank a lot of water. There was always a good breeze, and we had a few good rides.” He said the boat handled well, “we were getting height without losing much pace in a breeze.” Peter Deall added Merlot is “definitely a strong wind boat.” Merlot rounded the last buoy with a clear lead, but nothing in sailing is ever guaranteed. The jib sheet tangled, the jib flapped wildly, and Merlot nearly lost its place as Peter Deall struggled to untangle it. He succeeded and Merlot just managed to hold its place, crossing the finish line first, five seconds before Tranquil, Neil Johnson and Bret Pollitt, which also had the fastest time. Aeolian, Darren and Kylie Chignell, was third and had the second fastest time.

Peter McSullea said the rest of the fleet behind them had a close race, “they were all fighting each other”. The first six boats finished within 1 minute 35 seconds, proving the handicap system is working well. Annette, Ron Johnston and Ben Speed, leads the Spring Point Score, followed by Tranquil and Aeolian. Uncle Norm, Eric Partland and Gary Wills, leads the Fastest Point Score, with Tranquil second and Aeolian third.

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