Wow, what a day of really challenging conditions!! Two days later and I am still very tired and sore.
Here is my blow by blow account of the regatta.
Days before we are studying the forecast. Its important to be aggressive with gear selection but you have to be reasonable to not make it too hard on yourself. A key factor was the very large tide ripping out through the shallow relatively narrow river against a moderate to high wind predicted.
On the day there was a hive of activity with sailors getting gear ready. There was wind early on in the day and we knew we would be racing and soon. Before racing I started with my Gun 12m and it was on the limit, I came in and tweaked it and tried it again it felt perfect but the wind was increasing rapidly so ran up the beach the get the 11m Loft ready to go just in case. I took the 11m Loft out for a quick test and it felt great so with the wind ever increasing and a long day ahead I choose to start racing with the Loft.
My time and distance is good at the start and I win the start. The other guys are battling with each other but I get away and win by about 4 minutes. Normally I start regattas nervously and poorly but this was great.
Rick Murray wins the start right at the committee boat next is Brett Morris and I am in third. Conditions are now stronger. 11m weather I would say. I have a great battle with Rick, we are fighting for second. it comes down to the last gybe and I navigate through the kiters with a little more luck!! Brett takes a good win.
Conditions are heavy now and the tide has speed up. On the left side of the course the waves have jacked right up. Brett and I start on Starboard and sail all the way to the shore to let the tide push us up the coarse faster albeit in steep waves. I am not looking forward to sailing downwind in this sea state!! Brett is handling it much better than me and is getting away. At the top mark I decide not to follow Brett but gybe immediately to seek flatter water with less tide but at the expense of two extra gybes. Conditions are good and I put on the afterburners. By the bottom mark we converge and I have caught up but with me gybing around the mark Brett is still in front. Upwind I go all the way into the kurnell shore line and tack onto the lay line. Brett has to make 3 tacks and dips my transom. I AM IN FRONT!! I decide to sail down the flatter side again with three gybes but probably a mistake. I was playing it safe and my gybes let me down. Brett risks it in the big waves and gets rewarded with the win. He now has two wins to my one win. I really needed to man up in that one and take my chance.
After a food break we all organise our storm gear. For some reasons I have a brain fade and don't put my small fast fin in!! Only four guys competing now. Including Wayne Bowness who is a expert in these conditions and this locality. He tells me this is about as difficult as it gets. I am in survival mode now! Brett is loving it and again takes the win and the regatta. Brett sailed great, the best and deserved the win. During the week I meet up with him for a slalom sail in a 20-30 knot southerly. Halfway through he rigged his formula and went training in hell conditions! It was true dedication to formula course racing and very inspirational. That what it takes to be the best, well done Brett :-) Following is a short Video from our Slalom day also featuring Rick and Kenny Duckworth.
Special thanks Adam Craven and his team for putting on a Epic day!! And to all the brave sailors that signed on that day.