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IRC Winter Series Race 1 & 2.

Last updated on 25 Apr 2009

Race in a nutshell:

Position IRC: Race 1: DNF 
Position Race 2: 9th 
Total Entries : 10 
Ave Speed: 5.2 kts 
Max Speed: 9.7 kts 
Distance: 4.2 nm. 
Elapsed Time: 00.57.57 
Weather Forecast: Clear. Wind NW 10 knots - Temp 26C 
Weather Actual: Wind WSW 5 knots with dense fog 
Baro: 1009 hPa. 
Course: Windward/Leeward with a downwind finish 
Seas: Flat 
Sails: Full Main, No. 1 Jib, Big Assymetric Spinnaker 
Crew: Trygve Roberts (Helm), Charles Crosby (Main), Greg Harrowsmith (Genoa), Phillip Rentschler (Pit), Waldo Zevenster (Mast), Nic Baigrie (Bow), Total: 510 kg

We have been here before - sailing cans races in dense fog. Let me be the first to say it is my weakness - in the worst sense of the word. Firstly I become disoriented - never mind how many times I look at the GPS. If one adds a bit of swell into the equation, the onset of seasickness happens quickly, but fortunately the sea was flat on Sunday. 

The start was delayed for an hour whilst the RC waited for the fog to clear. Things were looking promising by noon as the marks were laid and the GPS co-ordinates announced. I decided (in my infinite wisdom) to not bother plotting the position as we would certainly not be at the mark first and all we had to do was watch where the fastest boats were heading. 

Two minutes before the start the fog closed in heavily - to around 30m viz. It took just a few minutes and we were alone despite valiant attempts at staying in touch with the fleet. It was also of no help at all that the boat we were following (Tenacity) was also lost! The only sounds being the gentle wash of the water around the hull and the booming cacophony of multiple foghorns all over the bay. Sounds that make me irritable! 

After several minutes we figured it wise to tack over onto port where we would be bound to cross tacks with one of the boats or at worst see the faster boats running down to the leeward mark. We saw nothing - even with keen young eyes peering into the mist. 

After 20 minutes sailing upwind and seeing absolutely no-one and trying to figure out where we were using a hand held GPS, we finally capitulated and radiod the bridge for a distance to the weather mark. We had the magnetic bearing. The answer came back that the distance was 1 mile. Uh oh...our GPS showed us being 1.83 miles from the start. OK - well, we had pretty much thrown that race! Talk about getting the basics wrong! And I only had myself to blame. 

At least we had the leeward mark plotted and were able to locate the start area. We weren't the only boat that got lost. Warlock and Tenacity suffered the same fate.  

Result: DNF 

Race 2 was started very quickly. This time we asked the bridge to repeat the co-ords for us. The breeze dropped right down below 5 knots for this race and it was more sailing alone in the fog and not having a clue how we were doing vs our competitors. 

We spotted the L34 Sensation up near the weather mark and managed to get ahead of them on the downwind leg, but they thrashed us on the upwind leg being able to point 10 degrees higher. On the second run we got ahead again, but not nearly enough to take them on corrected time. Best part of the day was broad reaching back down the harbour in glorious autumn sunshine with a pair of Melges 24's out practising. We also hit our maximum speed for the day in the harbour - 9.8 knots 

Its not often that I am overly critical of a race, but that is one that should never have happened in the first place. Perhaps it's only value was an exercise in GPS based mark location. 

I suppose I shouldn't whinge. The bridge guys were doing their best under very difficult circumstances. 

Result: 8th (or more accurately second last) 

In South Africa, we simply say "Eish!"