In MG14 News

In a season that seemed to finish before it even started and somewhat paradoxically was also so long it’s hard to recall the first race, we suddenly/eventually came to the final event on the calendar-the ANZAC Day handicap race.

A race format everyone looks forward to, partly because of its change of format, but mainly because everyone knows that they will be safe from one of Atomic/Suicide Blondes ‘death or glory’ start line attacks. In Rod’s defense he flatly refuses to wear his glasses when we sail so it’s an achievement just to be heading towards the line in the right direction.

The ‘advertised’ boat/crew start list looked like a French Foreign Legion Rollcall from the mid 1800’s with several substitutes or aliases in evidence. Alex subbed in for me but I’m not letting that spoil my story….

In Suicide Blondes case a handicap start is both good and bad. Good inasmuch that the minute board is so large Rod can read it without glasses, but bad because there was no one to follow (one of our key strategies). It seemed the ideal time to unleash our secret weapon, 3 dolphins I’d trained to scout ahead and report back on things like current, jellyfish density and seaweed patches. Most important of all, and their number one priority, knock the riders off any jet ski in the area. This didn’t all go as planned (see attached pre-race dolphin briefing sound file).

After piping Rod onboard, (my thanks to Kai for holding the boat while I waded back to shore to carry Rod from the beach to the boat), we headed out to join the 6 other boats ready to take the start with light winds of 8 knots or so.

Rod’s choice of headwear this week was a replica of Admiral Horacio Nelson’s Bicorn hat which did tend to block my view of surrounding boats, but the ostrich feathers did make superb wind telltales.
Jordan channeled her inner Anne Bonny prior to the start and conducted a crew member led mutiny on Ballistic which saw her quickly assume control of the helm, a role she clearly enjoyed and shows a great aptitude for, bringing Geoff and her home in 5th place.

Luke and Kai onboard Hold Fast started a minute behind Suicide Blonde and that started a race long tussle with the finish margin of only 45 seconds or so.

I think everyone is aware that Rod is a stickler for the correct Captain/Crew protocol but this also extends to using the correct terminology when referring to parts of the boat, for example the Forecastle, (the upper deck forward of the mast), Midship (the middle part of the boat), and the Poop Deck (luckily for me it’s for Officers only, so situated at the stern of the boat).

The light breeze tended to keep the fleet together with Venturi, with John and Ruby onboard pipping Neil and Josh in Barra to the line, once again in a gap measured in seconds not minutes. Barra had the fastest race time.

Things started to go awry when Rod took a heavier than usual blow to the head by the boom during a gybe and from that point on he only spoke in French. Now my French isn’t what it used to be and when it was I couldn’t understand a word, so it started to get a bit tricky.
Things were starting to settle down on the last leg, so I unfolded the Ouija board and prepared to make contact with Rod’s pet dog who was taken quite unexpectedly a few years ago. The Firefighters that attended the incident put it down as “likely caused by fallen asleep whilst smoking in bedding which quickly consumed the entire dog kennel”.

The whole seance quickly turned into a farce when the answer to every question I asked the spirits was spelt out as ‘woof’. Ridiculous, I didn’t know who’s dog I was speaking to.

Sea Breeze, with Greg and Josh (who clearly have never had a reason to join the Foreign Legion) were squeezed out on the line by 6 seconds to Ballistic and Tempest, with Stuart and Jack in Tempest followed not far adrift. Just over 10 minutes covered the entire fleet. Great way to finish the season.
It goes without saying none of this tomfoolery would take place without the hard work of everyone behind the scenes and in our case we do tend to need closer monitoring that most, so a huge thanks to all the volunteers that make it all happen week after week.

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