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Anger Management takes ‘first blood’ in NCYC’s Cross Lion Bird & Cabbage Offshore Series – December 2, 2013

Slipping across the Newcastle finish line to take line honours at 4am on Saturday morning in a light Westerly Anger Management’s 99 mile dash up and down the coast in the first race of NCYC’s Cross Lion Bird & Cabbage Offshore Series was brought to a conclusion. In doing so and while the remainder of the fleet battled the variable conditions in Stockton Bight, Anger Management also won the race on IRC from Schouten Passage and The Raging Bull.

Following a 10am Newcastle Harbour start the fleet was sent south to round Bird Island before heading north up to Cabbage Tree Island prior to returning to finish in Newcastle. An uneventful and relatively ‘straight line’ fetch down to Bird Island in a South Easterly which went to the East resulted in plenty of VMG sailing.  Phil Arnall, skipper of Anger Management, the only yacht to round both Bird and Cabbage Tree islands in daylight described the scenario:

“After making good time down the coast to Bird Island and as we went north and approached Cabbage Tree Island the breeze started to fizzle. Luckily we got round the Island ok but we knew the poor guys further down the track would be doing it tough in the light conditions off Port Stephens as they tried to close the coast and set up for the Cabbage Tree rounding. The rocky shoreline and currents off Port Stephens coupled with light breeze makes it a challenging piece of coast to sail past.  While the first 70 miles of the race took us 9 hours the remaining 30 miles took us another seven hours! But I guess that’s the fun of ocean racing for you”.

The next three yachts One for the Road, Schouten Passage and The Raging Bull had a ding dong battle all finishing the race within 10 minutes of each other in that order.  Rob Howard, skipper of Schouten Passage, said “It would have been nice to have a bit more breeze.  We made a couple of tactical errors on our way down to Bird ending up a little further offshore than our competitors which was fine until the breeze went left and they managed to lay the island while we overcooked our approach. We hung in there and made some good decisions on the way back from Cabbage Tree to Newcastle. By staying further inshore in Stockton Bight on the way back to Newcastle we picked up the Westerly land breeze earlier than some of the other yachts which helped us improve our result over the last 20 miles of the race. It was great to be back out ocean racing. The coast line between Bird and Cabbage Tree Islands, including Stockton Bight, and the influences in has on the wind conditions certainly keep the racing interesting…”

Finishing on daybreak She’s the Culprit was the final yacht to finish the race. Both She’s the Culprit and One for the Road are now in full preparation mode for the Sydney Hobart while Anger Management is having Christmas off before racing North in the Pittwater Coffs Race.

NCYC’s Cross Lion Bird & Cabbage Series consist of four offshore race of between 60 and 100 miles which are run as category 3 races with the addition of PLBs for all crew members.  The next race in the series will be held on 8 February 2014 during which yachts will race from Newcastle to Sydney Harbour, finishing off Clarke Island.  Yachts will race back to Newcastle the following weekend with the CYCA’s fleet.

Full results are available on NCYC’s website – www.ncyc.net.au