Welcome to Yachting Girls

Welcome to a blog where the adventures of a team of crazy women who are mad about sailing can be shared.
We are living in the beautiful Huon Valley in Tasmania, surrounded by outstanding sailing waters.  In June 2007 my husband and I purchased a Columbia 27 cruising yacht.  My husband crews in a Top Hat 24 in the races held by the Port Cygnet Sailing Club so our yacht was going to sit idle for most of the sailing season.  A great idea came to us - lets have an all women crew and take on the men!

Follow our adventures...share our laughs...cheer us on...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Twilight 8 - The end of the Series

The evening started well with lots of enthusiasm and passion. The secret weapon - a home made extending whisker pole ( for holding out the Jib when running down wind) was considered by the sailing competition to be a great addition.  With only Cap'n Tank and "Overboard" as crew we knew it would be harder to manage the large jib. The winds were favorable however,  so the task was not as hard as it could have been.  We had another poor start... not anyone's fault - just a lot of traffic. With 18 yachts out on the water it was difficult to keep close to the start line. Once we were across the start line we elected to go on the opposite tack to most of the other yachts. This paid off and we soon closed the gap. However, Cap'n Stan was still ahead of us at the first mark. We know that to pass Wyvern was the goal and would be a good indicator of our ultimate placing.  At the second mark we were able to put in a fast and tight tack passing two yachts including Wyvern. The rest of the race was just great. We were challenged after the third mark but held off Wyvern and was able to extend our lead on the run down wind. The race was really enjoyable. I have really found taking the helm to be exciting, challenging but also very satisfying. I am getting the feel for the yacht through the tiller and am gaining a great deal of confidence.

So what was the result?  Well tonight we came 2nd again. This is the 5th time we have been second but it gave us an edge over the nearest rivals so we actually WON the whole series with the best aggregate results on handicap.

Once ashore we had a lovely meal at the Clubhouse and were warmly congratulated by all when our success was announced. It is really nice to feel that we have earned the respect of the men in the club.
So the twilight racing is now over. The next challenge is the Ladies race in two weeks. We will not be using Pathfinder. I have been asked to helm Wyvern. I have no crew for Pathfinder but still have a chance to get out there and enjoy.
'Til the next time...good sailing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Twilight 7

What can one say but WOW! We had a great sail this evening. The wind was again very variable with some gusts up to 9 knots. Although our start was slow we soon made up ground on the rest of the fleet. After the first mark we were able to pass Wyvern at the buoy.  The winds really suited Pathfinder and we were able to run downwind well, closing the gap on a number of other yachts. It was tight around the next mark with a visiting yacht giving us buoy room.  The winds really suited the lighter weight boats but we were able to keep within striking distance.  The crew worked efficiently and with enthusiasm and Cap'n Tank was up to his usual standard of great coaching. A relatively easy sail was much appreciated by all and we anxiously awaited the results. With the top four yachts being close in the points score it was with great excitement that we learnt that we were once again second. This means that over the 7 races we have been 2nd 4 times, a 15th, a 9th and a 5th place. We can drop the two worst placings which thus gives us a total to date of 13 points. The next nearest yacht has 19 points!! Double WOW. And only one more race to go! It is important that we do not count our chickens before they hatch but we have a good chance of being in the top placings.
So until next time.... Fair winds and happy sailing.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Twilight 6

This week's race Twilight Race was another interesting evening on the water.  The weather was cold and wet with just a gentle breeze at the start.  The crew this week was "CC" and the "Brisbane Bather" - "Overboard" was not available. Cap'n Tank was aboard again as coach and tactician. The fickle winds of fate made the sail an interesting test of tactical skill and patience. It was another great opportunity for learning. Pathfinder went really well and I am beginning to get a feel for the helm. When she is in the groove Pathfinder is a real pleasure to sail.

There were some very quiet moments when almost no movement with the wind was possible.  The tide was about all that kept the yachts moving.  There were moments when almost no action was happening. We managed to pass a number of yachts which, when one considers the lightness of the wind, was a miracle.    The racing urge was still there even though the wind was almost non-existent.  Toward the end of the race a number of boats decided to pull out because it was starting to get dark. We decided to finish the race because we were really not far off finishing anyway. It was a wise decision as the wind came up and we finished the race in style.

We had resigned ourselves to finishing well down the placings but were surprised and overjoyed to find we had come in second on handicap again. This puts us in equal first.........Pressure!!!!  And we now only have two races to go.

The crew will be "CC" and "Overboard" again next week as the "Brisbane Bather" has to return to the north.  We are having so much fun...and she will miss the finish. :{
The team works well together and all seem to be really enjoying the challenge.  The men we compete against are also very supportive and when placings were announced there was a cheer from the girls which was taken up by the guys too.

What will next week bring?  'Til then ... happy sailing and fair winds.