THERE was a very good turnout of 16 boats for the first race of the Skinners Series.

For the start of the IRC One race, 11 boats manoeuvred themselves to the start line looking for the best position and as the gun went Black Dog crossed the line on port.

Per Elisa soon followed leading a large close group of varied 30 footers.

Black Dog soon had to tack but her lead was enough to cross in front of the fleet and get to the windward side of the fairway, but when Per Elisa crossed through the fleet although on starboard they had to do some tactical dodging to get to the up wind side of the closely packed group.

The leaders extended their advantage and quietly pulled away in clean air while the pack had to struggle through the disturbed breeze from those upwind and in front.

The three heavy Sigmas found the force two wind did not have enough power to really get them moving so they drifted to the back of the fleet.

In the second fleet U Class, Wilkie, one of the two GK 24s quickly got away and established a good lead.

But when Trifle, a Sonata, found a way through they pointed high and chased hard and by the time they got to the Governor, although downwind, they were clearly in the lead.

They managed to hold this to the finish where Wilkie fell further back as both the tidal stream and the following wind died away.

When the IRC One leader Black Dog neared the Governor buoy, they were very close to Per Elisa but they managed to get free and build a lead of four minutes but this was not enough to win on handicap.

The rest of the fleet were well astern struggling to get boat speed in the light airs they clearly need to tweak their rigs and find the go fast positions for their tracks and outhauls.

Because of the dying breeze the first fleet was finished at Trefusis Point, which in the conditions was the better option because the struggle up the harbour for U Class only separated the racers and frustrated the back markers.

The cold air did not mar the pleasure of the first race of the season and everyone enjoyed being out on the water again after a long dull winter.



Q Fleet

1st Per Elisa - R Tregear

2nd Black Dog - S Sawyer

3rd Jalabeano - Samantha English


U Class

1st Trifle - C Jellis

2nd Wilkie - B Chapple

3rd Grubby Kid - N Rowe


W Fleet

1st Sweet Friday - L Cheshire