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Lewmar Twilight Series - Race 7 (Final)

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Race in a nutshell: 6th December, 2010
Position PHRF: 5th from 12
Distance: 7.0 nm.
Max Speed: 14.5 knots
Ave speed: 4.8 knots
Time: 1 hr 43mins 32secs
Weather Forecast: Clear. Wind SE 10 knots Temp 32C
Weather Actual: Accurate Wind variable SW/SE with holes all over the show
Course: 10 (S) – No. 4 (S) - Paarden Island (P)- Milnerton (S) - Paarden island (S) - Finish mark (S)
Seas: Flat
Sails: Full Main (Quantum), No. 1 Genoa (Quantum), R1 Asymmetric Spinnaker. (Quantum)
Crew: Trygve Roberts (Helm), Simon Penso (Pit), Charles Crosby (Genoa/Spinnaker), Daniel Spratley (Main), Joshua Banks (Bow), Erhardt Joubert (Mast) : Total: 460 kg

It was my turn to be duty officer with Luke Scott. Its not a very difficult job, but it does require one to set a sensible course for the prevailing conditions, which were (to put it succintly) milder than a Castle Light, which itself is the pinnacle of lightness I am told. It just doesn't really cut it as a beer does it? I digress.....

The rigging session felt like we were on a Greek island on a 40C August day with smoggy air and no wind to speak of. It was the sort of day we could hoist the main on the mooring and absolutely nothing happened. We rarely see days like this in Cape Town, so it was shorts and T Shirts sailing on Regent Express. The competition was strong in Class 1 with all the big guns out for a dice including, Windpower (Landmark 43) and Hifidelity (Welbourne 46), but all eyes were on Lord Laidlaws Corby 49 "Cape Fling" and the boat surely looked pretty as a picture with her beautiful racing lines, low freeboard and square top main.

I had set simple courses. A DDW run with a long beat back for the smaller Class 2 boats and for Class 1 a short beat, followed by a broad reach, followed by another reach and a beat back, but the fickle Cape weather was having none of that careful planning going my way, by simply switching off the blower before anyone could reach the second mark, then changing direction 180 degrees and then doing the reverse on the way back. At least it was warm and the sunset behind Lions Head was dreamily summery.

The short beat to the No4 mark saw all the top boats hunting for the pin spot, so being smart little guys on a sports boat, we cleared off to the middle of the line for clean air and speed - our only weapon amongst all the 'blocks of flats'. That turned out to be our best move of the evening, as we rounded the No.4 mark just behind Hidelity and the Corby 49 - very prestigious company indeed.

We gybed and did a weather hoist immediately and set off in pursuit of the two big boats. Many of the top boats including Windpower and Cape Storm were still struggling to work their way up the beat in very light and fickle breeze. We were doing exceptionally well and sailing way above our league. Our light mass and big sail plan was working a treat despite sailing low angles.

The party would not last long as 3/4 way down the run, the entire fleet sailed into a large hole. It was the standard Table Bay trap. South Easter in front, calm in the middle, and a south westerly behind us. That's when it becomes lottery time. We had positioned ourselves out to the right near the land and in close proximity of Hifi, but when the breeze came through, it got to the middle boats first in a very random manner. We were about 7th around the Paarden Island mark and enjoyed a fairly fast kite reach (peaking at 14.5 knots) down to Milnerton in good pressure, but it wasn't a normal south easter; this one was airy and filled with hot blasts which carried very little grunt to sustain planing. With high traffic approaching the mark, we decided not to do our usual Mexican drop and sailed the last 300 meters soaking low and deep, so we could remain on starboard for a weather drop. We managed a good rounding in clear air.

The Google image shows clearly where the wind went light - it is in all those squiggly bits!

We went for our usual beach tack in 2.2 meters of water and enjoyed good speed up the beat trying to keep clear of other boats' dirty air, but up at the Paarden island mark things were looking disturbingly glassy and heel angles were disappearing faster than British tourists in Guguletu. There was trouble and anguish ahead, for sure. There was no way around it and suddenly our pressure faded too as we wallowed in short puffs of hot air and calm patches with wild swings in direction. After a half dozen tacks, we decided the best solution was simply to tack on every header. It was the one advantage we had being in a small boat. It was slow and painful stuff. We lost out to one or two boats who hit lucky streaks of breeze and we slaughtered others who got none. It was really a lottery with many top boats not even making the cut off time.


Finally we were back in a fitful 5 knot westerly. We had been ahead of Docksafe till then and we split tacks with them after rounding the Paarden Island mark. They went inshore and we went offshore. It would cost us dearly as Docksafe slithered up the entire length of the harbour wall in a beautiful lift to absolutely thrash us on that final leg. We crossed the finish line in semi darkness, only just making it before the cut-off time, to take 5th in spinnaker Class 1. Later at prize giving we were called up for 3rd overall in the series. That was achieved through a modicum of consistency and by simply being there for the races when others didn't pitch or had collisions. We have a week's break and then it is the 4 day Crocs Summer Regatta starting on 16th December, which holds the promise of lots of fun sailing.

1st Lobelia (IMX40) - 1.145 - G.Kling/R.Meek - 01:38:43
2nd Hifidelity (Welbourne 46) - 1.325 - E.DeVilliers/M.Sadler - 01:40:30
3rd Windpower (Landmark 43) - 1.250 - P.Gutsche/R.Nankin - 01:43:33
4th Docksafe (Archambault 35) - 1.105 - A.Monet - 01:44:28
5th Regent Express (Pacer 27 Sport) - 1.080 - Trygve Roberts - 01:51:49
6th Puma Unleashed (Pacer 42) - 1.250 - Hylton Hale - 01:52:01
7th Southern Storm (Pacer 376) - 1.175 - Harry Brehm - 01:53:13
8th Always Well (First Class 7.5) - 1.020 - Lance Burger - 01:53:48
9th Naledi (J120) - 1.145 - Felix Scheder-Bieschin - 01:49:07
10th Me2Me (Farr 38) - 1.070 - Derek Shuttleworth - DNF
11th Tenacity (Fast 42) - 1.170 - Errol Stern - DNF
12th Cape Fling (Corby 49) - Not scored/not entered.

1st Southern Storm (Pacer 376) - 1.175 - Harry Brehm - 15 points
2nd Docksafe (Archambault 35) - 1.105 - A.Monet - 25 points
3rd Regent Express (Pacer 27 Sport) - 1.080 - Trygve Roberts - 25 points
4th Windpower (Landmark 43) - 1.250 - P.Gutsche/R.Nankin - 29 points
5th Necessity (Beneteau 34.5) - 1.050 - David Booth - 32 points
6th Gumption (ILC 40) -1.270 - N.Mace - 33 points
7th Puma Unleashed (Pacer 42) - 1.250 - Hylton Hale - 34 points
8th Naledi (J120) - 1.145 - Felix Scheder-Bieschin - 43 points
9th Hifidelity (Welbourne 46) - 1.325 - E.DeVilliers/M.Sadler - 44 points
10th Me2Me (Farr 38) - 1.070 - Derek Shuttleworth - 46 points
11th Tenacity (Fast 42) - 1.170 - Errol Stern - 51 points
12th Always Well (First Class 7.5) - 1.020 - Lance Burger - 52 points
13th Corum (Briand 43) - 1.210 - Jannie Reuvers - 57 points
14th Lobelia (IMX40) - 1.145 - G.Kling/R.Meek - 69 points
15th Ballyhoo Too (Mumm 36) -1.175 - I Park Ross - 76 points
16th Cape Storm (Pacer 376) - 1.160 - Sean Cumming - 78 points