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Fun Race - 1st December, 2012

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Course: Start Bridge Boat & #10 (S) – Paarden Eiland (P) – Milnerton (P) - #2 (P) - Paarden Island (P) - Milnerton (P) - Paarden Island (S) - Finish Mark (S)
Wind & Seas: Moderate SE. Temp: 28C. Seas flat.
Sails: Full Main (Quantum); No.2 Genoa (Quantum); A-3 Spinnaker (North); A2 Spinnaker (Quantum)
Crew: Trygve Roberts, Charles Crosby, Craig Preston, Lisa Roberts. Total Mass: (360 kg)
Max Speed: 13.4 knots
Distance: 10 nm
Position: 3rd (Div 1)
Fleet size: Div One: 6 + Div Two: 2 (8)

The good Doctor is fuming!
I would, without any hesitation whatsover, rank the 2012/13 sailing season as the worst at RCYC since joining, in terms of blown out races. It has just become silly now. Wednesdays we have 30 to 60 knots of breeze. Take your pick. It is singularly bad for the sport of sailing and a level of apathy has crept in, which is completely normal and to be expected. So what could, or should be done to remedy this situation?

A possible solution is to amend the Sailing Instructions as follows:
"Twilight racing will take place each week on either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The Duty officer will make the decision no later than noon on the preceding Monday. The day/date will be posted on the club website, as well as on the notice board. Ina ddition each boat owner will receive an SMS".

If we look at the weather this week, it looks like all three days will be blown out, but on average, using three days instead of just one, will greatly improve the chances of getting in more races. Certainly attendence might be lower than normal, but at least some sailing will be logged, which is better than none at all.

The Elusive Moderate South Easter
We have a standing joke on Regent Express that there is no such thing as a moderate south easter. And that was exactly what the forecast was for the saturday fun race. A sort of consolation prize for all the blown out twilight races lately. December is an awkward time trying to get crew with too many family commitments, office functions and school holidays mixing into the fray. The best I could come up with was three core crew and my daughter (very rusty in the sailing department) to sit on the rail. We rigged conservatively with a No.2 and a reef in the main as well as a fractional asso, as things were already a bit blustery at the club, but once we were at the starting area, it looked like a steady 12 to 16 knots was on the table for the day. We also had unusually flat seas. A perfect combination for the Pacer 27. We shook the reef out before the start

A good start
It's been a long time since we had a poor start, and this one was no exception. We were able to round in the top 4, except for Vulcan which stretched her legs quickly opening up a big lead. It was a small fleet and no pressure being a fun race, so we hoisted our fractional kite at Paarden island and immediately regretted not having the masthead kite up. We had a lovely sail right along the beach in just over 2 meters of water, before gybing back inshore for the Milnerton mark. we were hoping to be able to hold the smaller spinnaker for the leg to No.2, but it was far too tight and had to be content with a two sail fetch.

We were able to hold our position for most of that leg, although the Farr 40 Majimoto, was slowly clsoing our lead down.

Hot wind
We chose to tack early and remain offshore for the long beat back to Paarden island and that was a tactical error, as the farr 40 had taken a good bite out of our lead on that leg. meanwhile we had switched to a masthead kite for the next round and immediately the boat felt much livelier and a lot quicker with the big spinnaker. The RO then decided to shorten course (a very good decision), which meant a strike and a beat back to Paarden island. we always lose out on proper windward legs and this race was no exception, as we could see Celine IV (Comfortina 39) not far behind us - a boat we have to give considerable time to on handicap.

The final countdown
pOnce we rounded Paarden island mark for the final time, we found ourselves with a very nice wind angle to work with down to the finish. It suitaed us perfectly, as we worked the puffs and lulls all the way to the finish line. We managed a 3rd on corrected time, losing out to Vulcan and Celine IV.

A Perfect Day
That was probably the nicest sailing day of 2012 with steady moderate wind and warm temperatures even out on the bay. Our position didn't matter much. It was just a great day to be out sailing.

RESULTS: (Div 1)
Place - Boat - Design - Rating - (Skipper & Crew) Actual time - Corrected time
1st Vulcan - GP42 - Rating 0.0000 - (Hylton Hale)
2nd Celine IV - Comfortine 39 -Rating 0.0000 - (Volker Vierhaus)
3rd Regent Express - Pacer 27S - Rating 1.090 - (Trygve Roberts)
4th Majimoto - Farr 40 - Rating 1.130 (Paul Mare & Lindsay Birch) 1.37.38 - 1.54.14