Tollgate Paid

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 16 Oct 2023 10:06

Position: Moored Rushcutters Bay, Port Jackson
Wind: S, F5
Sea: calm Swell: SE nil
Weather: overcast, mild
Days Run: 130nm

I didn't have time to write up Sylph's blog at the usual time of just after midday as we were just too busy trying to catch up with Currawong in some very boisterous conditions.

At noon yesterday we were only just rounding Tollgate Island, the half way mark for the race, and by this stage we were some thirty miles behind our only rival, the dauntless Currawong. The situation seemed nigh on irrecoverable but we were determined to finish the race and my stoic crew pointed out that in offshore racing the tables can be easily turned if one's competitors find themselves falling into a wind hole. And indeed this was pretty well what happened with the cards turning during the night when Currawong found themselves drfiting in a patch of calm close into Point Perpendicular, while Sylph was able close the gap significantly by remaining a little further out to sea.

And our luck was to persist during daylight hours. Currawong continued to favour a track closer to the shore, primarily to avoid the East Australia Current, whereas the Sylphs chose to go out wide, staying close to the rhumb line route. In this instance it paid off with Sylph overhauling Currawong at around 1300 off Cape Bailey, some twenty miles to the south of Sydney Heads.

With strong W'ly winds favouring the heavier boat, we gradually opened our lead on the smaller lighter Currawong. We rounded South Head, entering Sydney Harbour at around 1515, tacking up the harbour against strong W'ly winds, with two reefs in the main and a half furled jib, crossing the finish line at 1529. Currawong were only a short distance behind, crossing the finish line off Watsons Bay fifteen minutes behind Sylph. It was an exciting finish to a long race.

Thank you Currawong and the CYCA for a wonderful race.

All is well.