The Pub Challenge
It’s been an absolute honour to be asked back to cover the 170th Balmain Regatta. This year the club decided to spread the event over two days, the first day being on Saturday and reserved for the inaugural pub challenge.
The weather was looking like a decent 20 knots for the start of the race with a forecasted spike of 30 knots later in the afternoon. Within a minute of the race, starting a solid westerly front came through that we read upwards of 40 knots on our wind indicator.
This made the conditions extremely challenging for us as we were on our 34 yacht under motor, we had our mainsail cover tear off due to the force of the wind, our massive spot-a-yacht flag ripped off the spinnaker halyard and then we had our hally flying fancy free all around the boat and halfway up the mast.
With all this playing out on our boat, we couldn’t even imagine the chaos around the corner. Still, within seconds the first boat came charging past Birchgrove, and we decided to worry about all the mishaps on our vessel for a later time as we weren’t going to be able to follow the fleet down the harbour in those conditions – so we needed to snap what we could while we could.
It was great to see the fleet charge around the corner with smiles from ear to ear. Although I must admit, we did feel a little sorry for Huntress, who got their headsail in a knot – but later redeemed themselves by winning the challenge for Royal Oak.
Like last year the Balmain Regatta started at a snail’s velocity due to a lack of breeze. We got complacent with the absence of wind; it took us a solid five minutes before we actualized the race had started and the fleet was racing.
It wasn’t long before an easterly change picked up, and everyone met in a cluster at the first mark – we noticed some were expecting a downwind change and had spinnakers ready to hoist.
The rest of the Regatta made way for beautiful steady winds, pleasant sunny weather, and an overall great day. It was a pleasure shooting the 170th Balmain Regatta. We hope you like the photos and that we get invited back next year.