Typically for such events, I went from having plenty of time for preparation to having nowhere near enough. Rather than hitting the road at 6.00am, I found myself finally heading out the drive five hours late – hot, bothered and very very tired.
It was quite hot on the Friday, and to make matters worse my car’s air conditioning was not working. I must confess that this did not come as a complete surprise to me, as it stopped working about 15 years ago, however on Friday I really noticed it – it was an utterly awful drive. I did kind of take a break on the way, a healthy dose of paranoia caused me to stop on my way out of Taralgon and trudge back to a bearing supplier that I spied on the way through. Stupidly, I had forgotten to bring spare trailer bearings and associated what-nots. Did I mention that it was very hot?
I arrived at Loch Sport at 3pm to find Kevin already there and midway through his mast raising. Next to arrive were Frank and Dianne, followed shortly after by Ana with No Rush in tow and a visit from the Ladleys, who had launched their newly overhauled Sunbird at the marina not long before. After helping out here and there and chewing an inordinate amount of fat, it was time to head off to Jim’s place for dinner, socialising and pool playing.
Good food and good company meant that the pool competition started a little late. I suspect that this is why both Dianne and Jim ‘threw’ their respective games so blatantly and could then call it a night. I’m not sure who won, it wasn’t me so – “who cares”? The trip back to the boats for the night revealed a multitude of kangaroos. They were everywhere, even standing around in the bitumen carpark. Big ones, small ones and teeny-weeny ones. No need for lawn mowers in these parts.
The morning came and went before we actually made it out onto the water, and even though we started late, I was still not entirely ready. Colin O didn’t make it because of a migraine, so Kevin joined me on Nightstalker and we made our way to the imaginary start line. I think that Helios, with Andrew P and Don on-board, was the first over the line, followed by Frank and Dianne on Passing Wind. Kevin and I were next, but Ana & Maureen on No Rush and Colin T & Jim on Tarquin went for some pre-race sightseeing and started quite a way behind the rest of us. Andrew suspected that it was going to ‘blow up’ later in the race, but I’d checked and re-checked the forecast and was adamant that the wind would remain at ten knots and under. Hence the fleet heading out with their genoas flying. Five minutes after rounding the first mark things ‘blew up’ as a series of rain squalls fell on us. Although we were never truly overpowered, I do feel we would have been better off under our number two, as Andrew P had suggested. The rain was intense enough that we were quickly soaked through. So much so, that I figured it was a waste of time putting on my wet weather gear.
Passing Wind misplaced the first mark to begin with and Helios may have also aimed for the wrong spot, as their course seemed more oblique than ours. We rounded the mark just ten seconds behind them and then made our way towards the entrance to Mclennan Strait, the second of our marks. Once we’d rounded this pile, we could make a beeline back to the start/finish line at the Loch sport jetty. The final results were pretty much like this –
Passing Wind 1:46:00
No Rush 2:07:00
Helios approaching Mclennan Strait
In conclusion, although not well attended, the weekend must be considered a success since all those who turned up had a great time and considered it well and truly worth the effort. So for all you Hartley folk reading this, we look forward to seeing you at the next event.