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Audi Twilight Series Race 3.

Last updated on 03 February 2010

Race in a nutshell: 
Position IRC: 10th from 15 
Total Entries: 46 
Distance: 12.4nm. 
Max Speed: 13.7 knots 
Ave speed: 6.3 knots 
Weather Forecast: Clear. Wind South West 8 knots. Temp 23C 
Weather Actual: Wind was 20 knots fading to zero within an hour and a half. 
Course: 10 (S) – 4 (S) - Gybe mark (S) - Paarden island (S) - 4 (S) - Gybe Mark (S) - Paarden Island (S) - Bridge Hut and laid mark (S) 
Seas: Flat with long period swell of 1.2m 
Sails: Full Main (North), No. 1 Genoa (Quantum), R1 Asymmetric Spinnaker. (Quantum) 
Crew: Trygve Roberts (Helm), Charles Crosby (Main), Greg Harrowsmith (Genoa), Daniel Spratley (Pit), Bruce - Guest (Mast) Simon Penso (Bow), Total: 505 kg

Our pitman, Phill, was off on paternity leave, so we had a guest on board to help out. We shifted youg Daniel into the pit position and gave him a 3 minute crash course in sports boat halyard controls. Bruce, our guest, has sailed on J22's and dinghies, so put him in as mastman. 

This trace was almost a carbon copy of the race three weeks ago. The 18 strong IRC/Spinnaker fleet started in a fresh and gusty westerly of around 20 knots on a very skewed start line, where boats could not cross the line on starboard. Despite this, many of them tried, making for some interesting situations for those electing to start on port tack. We found a reasonable spot and had a good start, but we were sandwiched in between too many big boats. It wasn't long and we were spat out the back, eating dirties. Since it was a one leg beat, there was no point wasting time tacking away for clear air. Hillbilly (J27) and Lapwing (L34) were called back OCS. 

We were right up with the big boats at the first mark and sailed hot as soon as we had the kite up. The wind had dropped down to about 12 knots, giving us an average downwind speed of around 10 knots. We gybed 200 meters to windward of the gybe mark and rounded on the transom of the L42 "8 Seconds". No matter how hard we tried, we could not climb to weather of them as we were overpowered in the puffs. This forced us to go through to leeward, where the Mumm 36 was struggling to hold their kite as well. We recorded 13,7 knots of boat speed during that period, but the fast sailing was taking us away from the Paarden island mark, so we switched to the headsail, which brought us up under the Fast 42 'Tenacity' as we rounded the leeward mark, still very much in contention. 

The beat was heavily port biased, so we rolled over onto that tack fairly early, but soon noticed that the boats ahead and to our left, were pointing much better than those to the right. The breeze had also dropped another notch down to around 8 knots. We did well to complete the windward leg on only two tacks, rounding the top markwell ahead of the A35 'Addis' - a boat we normally struggle to beat and which rates similarly to ourselves and the Pacer 376. 

For the run, we opted for a gybe set, but we sailed into a soft patch, allowing Addis to play catch up. By the time we reached the gybe mark, they were only about 8 lengths behind us. 

On the tight reach to Paarden island, we were able to overtake the Pacer 376 and hold the asso all the way to the mark. It was decision time as the breeze was fast fading. Inshore or offshore? 

We decided the breeze would be more steady offshore and we committed. That was a bad tactical mistake as we sailed neatly into a hole and parked there for several minutes as we watched at least ten boats pass us just a hundred meters to the left in little streaks of breeze which held closer to the land. 

We finally got back into the breeze and made it to the finish line, but the last beat cost us dearly. We finished in 10th position. 

As always there are lessons to be learnt:
1. A westerly will more likely fade, than build towards evening. 
2. Always sail towards the mountain in a westerly. 

Another two Wednesday races and the 2010 nationals will be upon us.

1st Gumption [ILC 40] Mark Sadler 
2nd Windpower [Landmark 43] Rick Nankin 
3rd Puma Unleashed [Pacer 42] Hylton Hale 
4th Ballyhoo Too [Mumm 36] R.Garrett 
5th Lobelia [IMX40] Rob Meek 
6th 8 Seconds [L42] Harry Brehm 
7th Addis [A35] A.Monat 
8th Corum [PB43] J.Reuvers 
9th Hors d Ouvers [L26] Peter Bam 
10th Regent Express [Pacer 27S] Trygve Roberts 
11th Tenacity [Fast 42] Errol Stern 
12th Warlock [L26] Ian Slatem 
13th Mafuta [Bavaria 36] M.Lourens 
14th Pacer 3 [Pacer 27 S] James Harvie 
15th JML [L26] Matthew Bell