In Hartley TS16

Race 1

The first race of the season was held under almost ideal conditions, with a 10 to 15 knot easterly, on a run-out tide.

Eight boats crossed the start line, including Neil Bilsborough’s latest masterpiece, Totally Sinister, and Vinca, now in the capable hands of Russell Johnston. Neil decided to crew, and Craig Jelfs, who has experienced many sailing successes with the Bilsborough family over the years including seven Australian titles, skippered. Neil’s long-term crew, Denis McDermott, has retired and now operates the winch.

Totally Sinister had the edge on Uncle Norm, Eric Partland and Gary Wills, for much of the race. Eric has won the club championship every season since 2005/6, with only two exceptions. Craig described Totally Sinister as an awesome boat. Neil said his last boat, Ultimately Sinister, was slower downwind, but his newest creation has more speed. Craig noted “the new one is great. Eric was slightly faster downwind, but not by much.”

Totally Sinister was leading when its boom vang broke, three quarters of the way up the last work. Uncle Norm and Hirondelle ran to Totally Sinister down the last run, with Uncle Norm winning by 20 seconds from Totally Sinister, with Hirondelle, Peter Barnes and Geoff Smith, 30 seconds behind the winner. Eric admitted it was hard to beat Totally Sinister, which he said sailed really well. Uncle Norm has the lightest crew in the race, and Eric said this gave them an advantage in the last downwind leg. Vinca was fourth, with Russell Johnston skippering in his first race at the club with his son, Luke, as crew. Annette, Ron Johnston and John Whitelock, was fifth, then came Murphy’s Law, David Johnston and Kate Thompson, followed by Aeolian, Darren and Kylie Chignell, and Tempo, Peter Dallas and Ian Campbell. The observant amongst you will have noticed a number of sailing Johnstons on the water. More about them next week.

Hirondelle won the handicap, with Tempo second and Murphy’s Law third.

Craig summed up the first race after such a long break, due to the Covid lockdown, saying “it was great to get out on the harbour. It was a perfect day with a nice bit of wind.”

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