Musto Skiff


Report by Tim Hill

With a forecast of 28 degrees and clear skies Blairgowrie put on it’s second test event for the 9th ACO MUSTOSkiff Worlds at Blairgowrie.

15 boats made the trip to the peninsula in shorts and t-shirts weather, launched into crystal clear water, a strong tide and a fading westerly, forecast to turn South East.

Paul Newman and Wayne Bates led a group comprising Hayden Harding, Casey Bates, Chris Bick and Tim Hill into the channel looking to benefit from the current.  Paul led to the top mark, followed by Wayne, Casey and Hayden.

Tim gybed back to the middle in the fading breeze looking for slack current, while Will Phillips pursued the promise of a possible sea breeze on the shoreline and hit the shoreline.  Paul held his lead to win from Tim, with Matt Houvangul the next boat across the line.

The wind continued to drop, the committee boat hoisted the follow me flag and dropped anchor on the sandbank, anticipating the arrival of the sea breeze, which eventually filled in around 3pm.

Mark Taylor (our worlds race officer) re-laid the marks and got 2 short races away in flat water in 12-15 knots.
Will led the way to the top mark, rounding ahead of a tight pack comprising Chris Peile.  Paul Newman, Tim Hill. James Sly, Matt Houvangul and Wayne Bates.

Paul and Tim gybed back to the centre of the course.  Paul used his excellent pace and boat handling to slip through to second at the gate.  On the final downwind, Matt Houvangul hit the sea side of the run, slipping through for a narrow victory, Will second, Paul third.

The breeze firmed to a steady 15 knots for the third race.  Tim was quick out of the start, hitting the left hand side with James Sly and Will Phillips.  Will led to the top mark from Tim and James.  Paul and Matt pulled through the fleet, Will keeping his lead to finish first, Paul second and Matt third.

Low light of the day was drifting around in 28 degrees, clear skies and sunshine waiting for the sea breeze to push over the bluff.  High light of the day was the pod of 6 dolphins, racing around Tim Hill and James Sly as they approached the top mark in Race 3, jumping out of the clear water and close enough to touch.  Both highlight and lowlight were pretty good. 

Special mention goes to Michael Berryman and his heroic drive drown from Lake Illawarra to be our first Mustoskiff sailor from NSW.  A welcome addition to the fleet, and will shortly add a second (brand new) boat to Wollongong (or is it now really a southern suburb of Sydney…?).

Great training day for all involved – bring on the worlds…!

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