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RCYC Bay Race

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Race in a nutshell:
Position PHRF: 1st from 6
Total Entries: 6
Distance: 6.0nm.
Max Speed: 17.4 knots
Ave speed: 6.3 knots
Weather Forecast: Clear. Wind South East 20 knots. Temp 24C
Weather Actual: Wind was 20 to 25 knots SE - gusty.
Course: 10 (P) – Paarden Isl (P) - No.2 (P) - No.10 (P) - Paarden Isl (P) Milnerton (P) - Paarden island (S) - #10 (S)
Seas: Flat with long period swell of 1.5m
Sails: Reefed Main (Quantum), No. 2 Genoa (North), A3 Fractional Asymmetric Spinnaker. (North)
Crew: Trygve Roberts (Helm), Waldo Zevenster (Genoa/Spinnaker), Phillip Rentschler (Main), Simon Penso(Pit), Joshua Banks (Mast) Connor Leech (Bow), Total: 470 kg

After a two week break, we were all looking forward to getting back on the water again. The notice board indicated a very small entry of only 5 boats. I suppose a blustery south easterly most of the week had put many people off, which was a pity as the conditions were actually very enjoyable. The forecast had indicated 18 knots SE, but typically up in the corner of the bay it would be almost 10 knots stronger in the gusts. We had Charles away on business and Daniel away on an Optimist training camp, so with two stand ins, we decided to err on the cautious side and go out with a reefed main, No.2 Jib and the smaller A3 kite, since it was a fairly minor event.

Daniel Spratley has decided to stand down from the team as a full time member due to Optimist and Lipton Cup commitments. We wish him well in his campaigns and know he will do South Africa proud when he is selected to represent his country at the Optmist Worlds next year. His friend and Dabchick sailor from MAC, Joshua Banks, now takes over from Daniel as mast man.

It proved to be an interesting and smart choice of sails as we had very good speed upwind and even downwind we did not appear to be lacking boat speed, except perhaps in the lulls, when we were a little underpowered. For the conditions and level of competition, we were quite happy with the setup. All the other boats had at least one reef tucked in, but we were the only boat to fly a spinnaker, which made a bullet almost a foregone conclusion, unless we screwed up really badly.

We had some difficulty hearing the course announcement and had to resort to asking a fellow competitor to repeat it for us halfway through the race - kindly supplied by Keith Mattison of FTi Flyer.

We had a good start, right on time, about 3 boat lengths from the pin end, with Morgenster to windward, but way premature as they had started on the 1 minute signal and to dip back down to avoid an OCS call. The nice thing about being reefed down, was that we were sailing upright, pointing nicely, as well as sailing fast. We were certainly quicker than the Simonis 35 and the L34. We rounded the weather mark about 30 boat lengths in the lead after a 3/4 mile one leg beat.

We did a weather hoist and a 'so-so' gybe shortly thereafter and planed away down to the No.2 mark at around 12/14 knots. The separation from the fleet was rapid. About 3/4 way down the reach, the breeze went light, which forced us to heat up the angle and stick in two gybes before we could round the bottom mark.

Once back on the upwind leg, we quickly settled down to a solid 6,5 knots upwind, despite the smaller sail area we normally carry. It was nice for a change to not have to perpetually flog the main. We could actually use the main quite effectively and were sailing fully powered up for 85% of the time. The bigger boats made no gains on us upwind and we rounded the weather mark far ahead of the fleet.

We did another weather hoist and went straight back on the plane down to Milnerton. Once again the breeze went light as we got into the last quarter of the leg, forcing us to sail high and stick in two gybes.

The last beat up to Paarden island saw a steady, oscillating breeze through about 10 degrees and never quite slow enough to warrant a tack, so we just kept the boat speed up, sailing low and fast, rounding the Paarden Island mark just ahead of the 19ft Buccaneer, still coming up on it's second beat to Paarden Island.

The final spinnaker reach needed, by necessity, to be a weather hoist, which gave us a brief wrap, but we got it sorted out in a minute or so and settled down to a very fast final reach towards the finish line peaking out at 17,4 knots.

We finished well ahead of the other boats, as we expected, with no-one else putting up a spinnaker, and logged in some 13 minutes ahead of the L34 on actual time and 9 minutes ahead of the Simonis 35.

1st Regent Express - Pacer 27S - T.Roberts - 1.28.10 - Corrected 1.35.13
2nd Morgenster - L34 - F.Lambrechts - 1.41.52 - Corrected 1.43.23
3rd Pallucci - Simonis 35 - S.Kaye - 1.37.47 - Corrected 1.45.37
4th FTi Flyer - Charger 33 - K.Mattison - 1.48.34 - Corrected 1.46.56
5th Lets Go - Buccaneer - D. Johnson - 2.13.45 - Corrected 1.47.00