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Audi IRC - Summer Series Race 5.

Last updated on 04 Nov 2009

Race in a nutshell:

Position IRC: 8th from 14
Total Entries: 55
Distance: 10 nm.
Max Speed: 14.1 knots
Ave speed: 6.7 knots
Weather Forecast: Clear. Wind North West 17 knots. Temp 19C
Weather Actual: Accurate
Course: #10 (S) – 4(S) - 8(S) - Paarden island (S) - 8 (S) - Paarden Island (S) - 8(S) - Paarden island (S) - #10 (S)
Seas: Choppy and lumpy.
Sails: Full Main (North), No. 1 Fusion Genoa (Quantum), R1 Asymmetric Spinnaker. (Quantum)
Crew: Trygve Roberts (Helm), Charles Crosby (Main), Greg Harrowsmith (Genoa), Phillip Rentschler (Pit), Daniel Spratley (Mast) Simon Penso (Bow), Total: 500 kg

Conditions were ‘interesting' with us being right on the upper limit of our full sail plan. We also had an exceptionally lumpy sea running – the very type of sea condition that does not suit the Pacer 27. Our sister ship, Pacer 3, with Andrea Giovaninni was also out for the race, as was the Beneteau 7.5 ‘Always Well”. The rest of the IRC fleet was made up of mainly big boats and as always these are tough races for us to win due to the windward/leeward format.
There was a lot of starboard bias on the fixed starting line, which meant everyone wanted to be at the pin end.

We lined up, but soon found ourselves in trouble, as Windpower, to leeward of us, started luffing up hard, so we ducked under them to try to keep a lane of clear air, but basically I had put us in a poor position getting dirty air from several boats, so we decided to put in a short tack to clear our air. That ended up being a smart move, as when we tacked back onto starboard, we had a nice clean run in all the way to the top mark, quickly overhauling the L26 and Beneteau 7.5S and rapidly catching Pacer 3, which was sitting in Lobelia's dirties. We had the advantage of coming in to the mark on starboard. Pacer 3 called for water and tacked onto port right in front of us, but we had just enough room to tack under them and still clear the mark. We got away from the pack into clean air and concentrated on the short fetch to the No.8 mark.

We opted for a gybe set and had that side of the course more or less to ourselves, as we did several gybes on the long leg down to Paarden Island. We were holding Aladdin (Farr 40) and Addis (A35) but GPS speeds hovered around the 11 knot mark – not quite as fast as would like to sail.

We did a very good drop at the leeward mark, but we had Addis to windward of us going back upwind, so we had no choice but to soak low and go for speed to (a) get some separation from them and (b) to generate enough power to drive through the chop. The breeze remained steady with hardly any oscillations. On our second rounding of No.8 mark, we had lost out about 30 boat lengths to Addis.

We again went for a gybe set, but went much further in to the wall as all the cruising fleets had already started leaving the bay clear. Along this leg we saw Pacer 3 still coming upwind on their way to the No.8 buoy. They had experienced some spinnaker problems plus they had broken their vang. They subsequently retired.

The second beat saw us working the right hand side of the course, but we were unable to hold the bigger boats due to the sea state. Even our downwind speeds were off the pace due to the sloppy wave action. On the final downwind leg, we went for a bearaway set and enjoyed a good reach off towards Milnerton, gradually overtaking Lobelia (who were sailing short handed and not flying a spinnaker). At the final approach to the leeward mark, we did a neat Mexican drop, just upwind of an L26, coming to the same mark from a different course, but it presented no problems and we completed the last leg up to the finish without mishap.

An enjoyable sail with very few mistakes and yet we only scored a lowly 8th place. Now, it's just a matter of refining and practice, practice, practice.

1st Windpower Landmark 43 R.Nankin 1.162 01.16.36
2nd Gumption ILC40 N.Mace 1.187 1.17.54
3rd Addis A35 A.Monat 1.036 1.20.48
4th Aladdin Farr40 B.Geiger 1.030 1.20.51
5th Naledi J120 F.Scheder-Bischen 1.087 1.20.53
6th Puma Pacer42R H.Hale 1.188 1.21.32
7th Eight Seconds Leisure 42 1.094 1.21.50
8th Regent Express Pacer27S 1.032 1.23.22
9th Warlock L26 I.Slatem 0.868 1.24.26
10th Lobelia IMX40 G.Kling 1.085 1.27.01
11th Hillbilly J27 P.Hill 0.933 1.29.56
12th Ballyhoo Too Mumm35 I.Park-Ross 1.099 DNC
13th JML L26 M.Bell 0.868 DNC
14th Tenacity Fast 42 E.Stern 1.113 DNC