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IRC Winter Series 4

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Race in a nutshell: 3rd July, 2010
Position Overall: 2nd

Total Entries: 4
Distance: 8.0 nm.
Max Speed: 11.0 knots
Ave speed: 4.0 knots
Weather Forecast: Cloudy, no rain. Wind West 15 knots. Temp 17C
Weather Actual: Clear. No rain. Wind W 5 knots becoming SE 10 knots- Temp 21C.
Course: 10 [P] – #2 [S] - Milnerton [S] - Paarden island [S] – #2 [P] – 10 [S]
Seas: Flat with 2.0 swell
Sails: Full Main (Quantum), No.1 Genoa (Quantum), R1 Masthead Asymmetric Spinnaker (Quantum)
Crew: Trygve Roberts (Helm), Charles Crosby (Genoa/Spinnaker), Phillip Rentschler ( Main ), Simon Penso (Pit), Bruce Webber (Mast), Joshua Banks (Bow) - Total: 500 kg

A massive German flag right up on Signal Hill under the noon gun signalled interest in sailing to be at the bottom of the agenda. During the week the IRC entries started dropping like flies as the overwhelming interest in the FIFA World Cup took it's toll on our racing fleet. Conditions were typically in-between frontal systems and about as close to a European summers day as one can imagine. Cape Town at it's winter best!

We had both Ron Keytel, as well as Matthew Thomas on the bridge boat and a sensible course was set for the light conditions, which was modified/shortened halfway through the race in an effort to get the fleet back to moorings in time for the soccer kick-off. Only four IRC boats pitched, but as things turned out the racing became very tight and exciting as the afternoon wore on, thanks to a few strategic, and difficult to read holes, appearing on the bay.

At the start, Corum nailed a perfect start at the starboard biased end of the line, forcing both Addis and ourselves into trouble. Addis were able to slow down and squeeze behind Corum but we were forced onto the windward side of the committee boat, resulting in a tack and gybe and were immediately last placed, with the shortest waterline length and faced with a fetch to the #2 mark, we had not done ourselves any favours. We weren't too far behind at the first mark and the natural order one would expect played itself out - Corum, Lobelia, Addis, and Regent Express.

All the big boats went DDW down to Milnerton, whereas we were forced to sail the VMG angles averaging around 8 knots - faster than the big boats but sailing considerably further distance. By the leeward mark, the gap had not changed much and we were still lying last, but the sport of sailing often dishes up surprises. Far ahead on the next leg up to the Paarden Island buoy, we could see Corum's angle of heel decreasing, visibly slowing up and headering. A sure indicator of a south easterly in the area. We eased sheets and headed directly for the beach, rapidly closing the gap on Lobelia and Addis who had both virtually parked up further out to sea. Once on the shore, we remained just inside the shore break (which can be mightily intimidating when your outboard is stowed down below and there is hardly any breeze) and had closed the gap on the two bigger boats down to less than a minute. One of the issues we have this year, is that our IRC rating has increased quite dramatically from 1.032 to 1.044 - thanks to a set of previously undetected inverted mainsail numbers originally submitted when the class received it's one design rating - and now adjusted. In effect this means we are now racing against the 35ft Addis which is a modern IRC boat AND we we still have to give it time. But that's life on a sports-boat.

All that aside, we were in the favourable position of being able to observe the bigger boats ahead all sailing into zones of no wind and thus gybe away and stay in the breeze ourselves. Things worked out really well for us, allowing us to whittle away Corums huge lead and round the second last mark right with them. In fact all four boats rounded that mark within 20 seconds of each other, which meant the last beat to the finish would be a real dog fight. With their rating of 1.037, Addis took the 1st spot comfortably, leaving us with a 2nd place some 2 minutes adrift. Lobelia took 3rd place about 2 minutes behind us and Corum went from 1st to last, finishing almost 9 minutes behind Addis on corrected time.

Good, clean fun on a pristine Table Bay and everyone made it back to the club in time to watch Germany annihilate Argentina in the Quarter Final match. Once the World Cup is over, I hope the IRC fleet will get back to full strength.

Results:

1st Addis in Cape Restaurant - A35 - A Monat - 1.037 - 01.55.39

2nd Regent Express - Pacer 27 S - T.Roberts - 1.044 - 01.57.46

3rd Lobelia - IMX40 - R.Meek - 1.084 - 01.59.38

4th Corum - Briand 43 - J.Reuvers - 0.130 - 02.03.49