What a wonderful day we had for the Women’s Challenge; grey skies, a little bit more wind than we wanted, warm water and warm friends.

The helpers: among these were the men who came down to support us, either by helping rig the boats and de-rig at the end of the race, or help in very specific tasks.: Will, Warwick, Tony, James, Mal, Erek, Jackson, Luke, David, Crosbie, Mal. People from MYC who wanted to join the fun: Catherine, Lisa, the photographer whose name I did not catch. Helen who provided an exceptional lunch. The cake person whose name I also did not catch. Pam and Bruce, Race Officers in Carlysle.

The sailors and crew:

Judith in Alan Wood, sailing solo in winds that were a little much for her tiny boat, so she left the race early.

Raghnild and Ros in Woody.

Helen and Claire in Alex.

Catherine and Maddy in Ralph Newman.

Nikki and Lisa in Vin.

Helene and Ella in Dolly Wallis.

Eli and Jackie in Black Swan.

What a magnificent race this was. Run in three sections by Pam and Bruce, the 7 entry boats sailed across to the Western side of Manly Cove while Warwick, Tony, Jackson, Erek set up the course under direction of the Race Officers. The wind was rising, and the swell became quite difficult to manoeuvre while this was being done. Finally, all was in order, but Judith was having some problems managing her boat in the huge seas, so she was tied on the back of the Support Boat to await rescue.

The first race commenced with a magnificent start, with all boats crossing the start line almost together and heading all the way across the bay, choosing different routes to get to that first buoy. Black Swan and Ralph Newman arrived almost together, and it was just a matter of luck (with a little good management thrown in) that Black Swan managed to get around in front. This set the pattern for these two boats, who stayed neck and neck most of the way throughout the 3 races. Somehow or other, Dolly Wallis managed to pass Ralph Newman, so was second in the first race.

In the second race, Ralph Newman took the lead from the beginning and managed to stay in front for the whole race, with Black Swan coming in second, and Dolly Wallis, 3rd.

In the final race, Black Swan came in first, Ralph Newman second and Alex, third. Alex made a wonderful improvement over the series, starting with a 6th, and finishing with a third. They are the team to be watched in future.

Thank goodness for the helping team who came in after the race to get everything away, as all of the sailors were wet, cold and exhausted by the end of the race, even though the wind had almost died and the swell was decreasing by the time we arrived back at the pontoon.

Lunch was delicious, thanks Helen, The photos are gorgeous, thanks Mal. The prizes are fabulous, thanks Helly Hansen, and the atmosphere was out of this world….Thanks everyone involved.