Racing / SHAG / Single Handed Racing

(Single Handed, Anything Goes)

“OCD” Flies a coloured sail to keep in touch.

OCD flies a coloured sail to keep in touch

The forecast was for 100 kms/hr gales and there were heavy rainfall warnings for EVERYWHERE! But a few brave (or stupid) souls made their way out to the start line at the QC buoy for the SHAG (Single Handed Anything Goes race) – which nearly didn’t happen.

The committee boat was the good ship Perihelion, and I had been having some trouble with fuel delivery, but I had laboured long and hard to get it fixed. I test ran the engine, in gear, at the dock and everything seemed fine.

We motored under the bridge expecting HUGE winds to hit us in the neck (SE winds meant a sheltered bay at least), but there was barely a breeze. Then the engine stopped! We quickly rolled out some sails and, in 5 knots of wind, managed to sail to our anchorage at the QC and make a sensible start line.

It was raining so hard we could barely make out the city, but, in the absence of our Racing Officer Steve Barbour, our fleet captain, Ben Rummen, got all the flags sorted. Taped some on sticks to the rails and draped the course board over the mizzen boom. Countdown began. We looked like a Nepalese prayer site on Everest!

5 boats managed to make it out to the start at 11 AM, and all were gone in great style except for Wade Harrogate on his Tom Silik (Division 2) who decided not to tempt fate and had his main reefed down 3 times and was flying a storm jib! And we were only showing 6 knots of wind! So he was late, because he made the instant decision to shake out the reefs just after the gun. Otherwise the race to the first mark at the Kits barge buoy was into wind and showed just who was good at this and who was not so good, with Manana, rounding first. She kept her place the whole way around.


Silik after shaking the reefs

Ben had set a course from the start at the QC buoy to the Barge buoy, back to the start, Barge buoy again, then out to the Bell Buoy, back to the barge buoy and finally to the finish. Marks had to be left to starboard, so that would make for an interesting last turn before the finish.

The 4 boats in Division One seemed evenly matched until Manana with Trevor Salmon at the helm came pounding back to the line way ahead of everyone. He sails that boat on his own all the time and kicks the proverbial bottom, so he knows how to do this, but the other 3 in Div 1 were much more evenly matched and there seemed to be some great sailing going on out there from what we could see through he downpour.

Havoc rounding QC

Havoc nearly falls over in his haste to round the mark ahead of the fleet following Manana.

Havoc, Ultraman, OCD

These three had a great race with Ultraman following Havoc around the mark and OCD in close formation

We watched until the fleet went out of sight behind a sheet of rain and a freighter, so we settled down to lunch and I attacked the fuel problem on the main engine. I poked about a bit and tried to figure out my own complicated system of taps that mean I can get or pump fuel to and from anywhere. But it makes for confusion if I am not paying attention. Nobody will ever get far in this boat if they try and steal it, that’s for sure. Anyway, after a while I tried the engine again, and it fired up and ran perfectly. I wish I knew what I had done.

Finally we spotted a boat heading towards the Barge Buoy through what appeared to be another race going on around the Jericho Sailing Centre. The radio lit up and one of our boats was asking for clarification on the course. We told him, then the Jericho Sailing Centre broke in and told us to get off the air. A sharp confrontation ensued, ending with our telling them that they didn’t have a monopoly of the airways and to get a life (or words to that effect!). Then we chose to ignore the self centered power crazed operator at the other end and get on with the race. I am sure we heard a smattering of applause coming from our fleet!


Manana storming home for the win

Manana came storming back to the line almost half an hour before everyone else in 2 hrs 8 minutes and 14 seconds elapsed time. But there was just over 5 minutes separating the next three. See the results below.

After Tom Silik was told that he had finished, we hauled anchor and set off with hearts in mouths as we didn’t want to stop under the bridge. The Perihelion ran like a clock and all was well, but for sure I will have to sort this out. The stress is just too much and it could drive me to drink!

Talking of drink, the racers all turned up at the club for refreshments and snacks afterwards and a lot of fun was had by all.

For sure I am looking forward to the Polar Bear racing season. Fun will be had, great times will be had in the bar afterwards to warm up, and the racing will be tight and hard fought. For division 2, you should look to having fun out there, and not to be frightened that you might make a mistake. For you, this is where you learn, so don’t worry. There are people all around you to advise you, plus there is the “Rookie Racing Seminar” at the club on 6th October. Book it Danno!. Oops, by the time you read this it will be all over, but contact Ben Rummen and ask if he can help. Crewing on other boats is a great way to get the hang of how it all works too.

Written by Evan Seys

Final Results