07 November 2015

The Bridge to Breakers 2015

Bridge to Breakers 2015. Nicky crewed for me again, thanks for all your energy and enthusiasm. This year my old friends Helen Mower and Chris Hewgill came along as land-based support team. Chris had a heart attack several months ago so is on very light duties. Such a shame for him as he would much rather be afloat. However he has turned to photography while he recovers. He was hoping to take many shots of Little Dragon underway but I headed off downstream not to be seen again for several hours. Oh well, next time....
Photos by Chris Hewgill of Hueysurf

It always seems to blow for the Bridge to Breakers. This time a strong southerly, so everyone had to sail off a lee shore. No trouble for Little Dragon who took advantage of her outboard. After nearly pulling my arms out of my sockets the week before this time I put in a reef. We weren't racing. I reckon we play the role of "supporter fleet" (well we are the  totality of the supporter fleet). We reached off downriver towards Iluka around 10 mins before the first start.

With a reef in we had a comfortable sail although it got pretty choppy around the Goodwood mark. Others who were racing seriously had more "fun" (if you term it that). Many capsized, one fella apparently 6 times (hope he was fit). One cat lost its mast. We made it to the turning mark at Iluka and shook out the reef on the way back when the wind dropped a little. We had to keep alert as the A class cats were fair whizzing along. We were trying to keep out of every one's way - regardless of which tack we were on. The protocol is that "spectator fleet" should give way to the entire race fleet. On the way back we certainly steered well away from a tug in the fairway towing a commercial vessel. The wind observations at Yamba had it gusting 19 knots during the race.

Congratulations to the BRSC junior member Joseph Mulligan who did all the handicapping and produced the results list promptly as well as helping with the starts on the committee boat.

Around 10 pm on Saturday there was a storm - thunder and lightening for ages. I was sound asleep in my bunk when it started. Some of the campers didn't fare too well but I was dry and secure in Little Dragon.
On Sunday morning, after helping with the traditional "the works" breakfast, I packed up and headed for home hoping to make it before another storm hit. I could see on the radar a massive storm offshore just north of Byron Bay. Sadly around 6.35 that evening a surfer was hit by lightning at Suffolk Park. The whole of Byron Shire got a drenching.

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