One Design…speed, fun, affordable, trailerable.

Crocs Summer Regatta - 16 to 18 Dec 2011

Last updated on

If you are looking for the Man Overboard video clip, please go to the Archives tab on this site or you can access it via the Links tab. It is also embedded on the home page.





Crocs Summer Rregatta 2011- An overview of the final race. Apologies for the salt water crystals on the camera lens.


Above: Steve Meek (Lobelia) and Alexandre Monet (Docksafe) getting into the spirit of the Crocs Summer Regatta.
Photo: Trevor Wilkins


I know. I Know. Without great weather, one simply cannot have a great regatta. This years' Crocs Summer Regatta was about as close to a perfect regatta anyone could wish for. It ranks in the pole position of my top 10 regattas of all time. Well done to Rob Meek and his team. Forty two yachts entered over four divisions split into IRC 1&2 and Club 1&2. Competition in the IRC classes was ferocious with all the top boats being serious contenders. In our division (Club1), the organisers had grouped all the sports boats (4), a brace of 40 footers and a lone multihull. The biggest division by far, was in the Club 2 division, which numbered in excess of 20 boats. This regatta report covers mainly the action in Club Div 1. A more general version covering all the fleets will be produced for publication in SAILING MAGAZINE.

Above: Regent Express approaching the leeward mark and going into the Mexican drop procedure
Photo: Trevor Wilkins


Race 1 – 16 th December

Course: Start – Dyang Family (S) – Robben Island (S) – Dyang Family (P) – Finish

Wind: Light Westerly. Temp: 19C

Sails: Full Main (Quantum); No.1 Genoa (Quantum); A-Zero Spinnaker (Quantum); A2 Spinnaker (North); R1 Spinnaker (Quantum)

Max Speed: 11.3 knots

Distance: 8.5 nm

Position: 3rd


Above: The Code Zero working nicely in light breeze

A gentle, but steady westerly greeted us as we arrived at the race area, after experiencing (yet again) trouble with the outboard. We bummed a tow from Ichyd Da till we were out the harbour and into the westerly. It was a long sail to the south east side of Robben Island to get to the start area. The start line was long; perhaps twice as long as it needed to be. Being in the third rolling start, we had the benefit of watching the two IRC classes starting ahead of us and observing their tactics. It seemed that the pin end was favoured, so we went for that option. We also had an unknown wild card in our fleet in the form of the untested K23 sports boat as well as a large catamaran with the highest rating in our division. The multihull would be sure to struggle on the more tactical upwind legs – and so it was. After two races, and two last places, they decided to bail out of the regatta. That is just another nail in the coffin of trying to race mono and multihulls in the same fleet.

Above: Fighting at the leeward mark to get the boat under control after a late kite drop
Photo: Trevor Wilkins


Rockstars
The K23 sports boat team (consisting of a plethora of rock stars including Olympic Laser sailor Gareth Blankenberg and Finn exponent Greg Davis) had decided to enter the day before the race and suddenly the race/rating committee had to come up with a PHRF rating for them. It was originally listed as 1.080 (the same as the Pacer 27), then on race day it was changed to 1.045. There could not have been a better testing ground for evaluating a correct rating for the K23 than this regatta, which provided a range of wind and wave conditions ranging from very light all the way through to fresh. Below 15 knots in flat water, on upwind legs the K23 maintained the same speed as the Pacer 27, but was able to point significantly higher. On downwind legs in the same conditions, the Pacer 27 was marginally quicker or equal to the K23. In breeze above 15 knots with rougher water, the Pacer 27 could equal the K23 upwind with slightly faster speed, which cancelled out the K23's pointing advantage. However downwind, in the stronger breezes, the Pacer 27 was consistently faster, gaining around 30 boat lengths on a 1 nm run. On inland waters and lakes the K23 should carry a PHRF rating of 1.085 and at the coast (windier venue) a rating of 1.075 would be appropriate. The Beneteau 7.5 'Always Well' carries a club rating of 1.040 and have a very experienced skipper and crew who have won many races and they didn't ever even come close to competing with the K23 at a rating of 1.045, so clearly there is a problem with that number.


Above: the bunfight for the pin end spot

Immediately after the start, the two Pacers and the K23 got into a tight huddle, unable to shake each other off. The K23 got slightly ahead after a long beat up the west side of the island, but the two Pacer 27s were right on their tail. Derek Robinson, owner of the Pacer 27 ‘Skwert ll' had kindly entered his boat in the regatta, with his son Bradley at the helm and a whole bunch of talented Robinson boys and girls as crew. We hoisted our R1 spinnaker and sat on the K23's wind going around the northern end of the island. Soon a luffing match started, but we gradually overtook them, whilst the other Pacer 27, ‘Skwert ll' went for a deeper angle and the inside lane. We were the first boat to gybe, which was met immediately with a gybe from the K23 and a few seconds later by Skwert . The three sports boats were neck and neck heading SSE down the east side of the island in flat water. Up ahead we could see the IRC boats struggling to hold their spinnakers, so we made a tactical decision to hoist our Code Zero. It would turn out to be a smart move. We did a good peel change and immediately we were able to sail much higher than the other two competitors , allowing us to open up a lead of about 30 boat lengths. The leg with the Code Zero was fairly short, but it was enough to break the K23's stranglehold on the trio of sports boats. Soon we had to switch back to the headsail, as we rounded the southern tip of the island and hardened up for the one leg beat back to the first turning mark, Dyang Family.

Above: From L-R Skwert 11 (Pacer 27S), Regent Express (Pacer 27S), Numero Uno (K23) skirting the northern tip of Robben Island in Race 1

We were able to maintain that lead and even stretch it a bit more. At Dyang Family, we hoisted the A2 and had a comfortable two gybe run down to the finish line, followed by the K23, then Skwert . The fourth sports boat, the Beneteau 7.5 ‘Always Well' was close behind. The K23 took a win from us on corrected time, but the Farr 38 “Rockstar” had taken the overall win very easily (rating of 1.095).

Race 1 Results:
1st Rockstar (Farr 38)
2nd Numero Uno (K23)
3rd Regent Express (Pacer 27 S)
4th Skwert ll (Pacer 27S)
5th Always Well (Beneteau 7.5)
6th Majimoto ll (Farr 40)
7th Wild One (Cat 40)
8th Celine lV (Comfortina 39)
9th Faraway (Farr 40)
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Race 2 – 16 th December

Course: Start – Weather mark laid 2nm (P) – Landfall (S) – Weather mark Green Point (P) – Finish at No. 8 Bouy.
Wind: Light to Moderate Westerly. Temp: 22C
Sails: Full Main (Quantum); No.1 Genoa (Quantum); A2 Spinnaker (North)
Distance: 9 nm.
Max Speed: 13.8 knots
Position: 3 rd



Race Officer par excellence , John Spilhaus, put the fleet into the the start sequence fairly quickly for the second race. Again, the pin end was favoured which had the the competitive boats on all fleets clamouring for the best spot. That, in turn, resulted in a general recall in the IRC 1 fleet and several individual recalls across the boards. That's cool with me. It shows how hot the competition is.




The K23 got the start spot at the pin and we were right next to them. It didn't take long and they were able to outpoint us and force us into their dirties and a tack onto port to clear for clean air. Conditions suited the K23 and they worked themselves into a lead of about 60 boat lengths by the weather mark. Our fleet leader Rockstar, a Farr 38, were sailing very well and were well out front in the lead. Once around the weather mark, we got the big A2 kite up and settled down for the long reach down to Landfall bouy. In each race, we had closed down the 5 minute head-start of the IRC 2 fleet and caught up to their tail enders. The Mount Gay 30 has of late developed something of a reputation for getting involved in very aggressive luffing matches, even with boats not in their fleet, so we steer well clear of them if possible. They had already irked the K23 team in the previous race and it was about to happen again as the K23 closed them down on the run. We decided to leave them to it and took a lower groove down to the Landfall mark. We had slightly superior speed to the K23 and were able to gradually close their lead down. The K23 also had to sail deeper in the last quarter of the run which was a bit slow for them. By the time we got to Landfall mark, we were right on their transom.

Above: Too much lightness.....

Both boats did good strikes, but once again going upwind, we could not hold the K23's angle of point and were forced to tack away for clear air. The upwind leg to Green Point was mainly on the starboard tack without too many tactical opportunities. We rounded about 3 lengths behind the K23 in a freshening breeze. We were able to get ourselves into the weather position and blanketed the K23 as both boats hoisted kites simultaneously. In that process we opened up a nice gap on them and held them off all the way to the finish line. On corrected time, of course, they beat us, so we ended with another 3rd place on corrected time. The other Pacer 27 was having a rough time of things with a series of broaches and spinnaker wraps, which sent their results plummeting. The Robinson boys were finding out all about sports boat sailing in double quick time. They would make a spectacular comeback on the final day with a very good result.

Above: The Robinsons trying to tame the beast

By 4pm the RO decided it was enough for one day and sent the fleet home after an excellent day on the bay. The forecast for the next two days indicated more of the same.

Race 2 Results:
1st Numero Uno (K23)
2nd Rockstar (Farr 38)
3rd Regent Express (Pacer 27S)
4th Majimoto ll (Farr 40)
5th Always Well (Beneteau 7.5)
6th Celine lV (Comfortina 39)
7th Skwert ll (Pacer 27S)
8th Faraway (Farr 40)
9th Wild One (Cat 40)

Above: Tight racing in Div 1 with the K23
Photo: Trevor Wilkins

__________________________________________________________________________________
Race 3 – 17 th December

Course: Windward/Leeward x 2 loops with an upwind finish.
Wind: Light to Moderate to Fresh Westerly. Temp: 23C
Sails: Full Main (Quantum); No.1 Genoa (Quantum); A2 Spinnaker (North)
Distance: 6.5nm
Max Speed: 14.8 knots
Position: 2nd

Above: Neck and neck with the K23
Photo: Trevor Wilkins

A course was set fairly close inshore next to Green Point with the start/finish line halfway up the leg. With a whole week of consistent westerlies, a lot of kelp had been dislodged and presented itself in large clumps at various points on the race course, but more so closer to the coast and right at the start area. Closer to the coast is exactly where everyone wanted to be to get the port tack lift. We had decided right at the beginning of this regatta that not picking up kelp would be a priority. We followed our mission with enthusiasm and dedication, which led to some almost comical maneuvers as we luffed and dipped our way through the kelp mine fields. This is sometimes slow, but its always a better option than having to stop and remove kelp. Other than a small bit on the rudder in Race 6, we did an exemplary job of avoiding kelp.


Above: Pacer 27 doing what it does best....

Again it was a pin end favoured start and again we found ourselves right there with the K23. It was the usual kelp dodging exercise up next to the rocks off Green Point in about 6 knots of breeze. There is a reef running NW out to sea off Green Point Light which produces some alarmingly large waves – even on a light wind day. We were concentrating intensely on our boat speed as we closed in on the reef area, when suddenly a 2 meter wave reared up on our starboard beam. It was a critical moment. Someone shouted TACK NOW! as we spun the boat to face the wave bow on. The bow went up and up and up and then pitched forward violently to crash down on the other side. We virtually stopped dead in our tracks and took half a minute to get our speed going again.

Above: Good speed on a downwind leg with the Cape Town Stadium in the background
Photo: Trevor Wilkins


We managed to round the weather mark close behind the K23 and got the A2 up and the boat planing quickly. We opened up a good lead on the K23 downwind, arriving at the lee mark with good speed in a building breeze, but there was a lot of traffic there as many of the yachts from the other divisions were all arriving in a big bunch. They were all on port, taking down spinnakers and going about 5 knots. We were coming in at 15 knots on starboard. Well, you can picture the scene. One of the 40 footers hit the mark and was out of control. We pulled off a Mexican take down in a blur of wild, breath catching action and somehow squeezed our way out of that mess, going up the beat with the kite still being pulled down inside the headsail. We tacked away early for the long starboard tack back to Green Point, with the K23 well buried to leeward.

Above: Regent Express very close inshore amongst the kelp and the shore break

With the breeze picking up to around 18 knots, and the water becoming choppy, the K23 was less happy than in the flat water. That allowed us to get further ahead and enjoy another scintillating fast reach back to the leeward mark, opening up our lead even further. As things turned out, we ended up again coming in to the leeward mark on the starboard gybe going fast and straight into another set of heavy traffic. With five boat lengths to the lee mark, Charles said (with a distinct tone of urgency): “Have you seen FTi Flyer?”

I had not! Suddenly my make-shift plan for a clean Mexican drop went horribly wrong. FTi Flyer had in fact hit the mark and were out of control - virtually bearing away continuously towards us, making it really difficult to keep clear. We weaved our way past them, just missing their bow, then went straight into the gybe drop – in the process putting my foredeck guys under huge pressure. Again, we escaped out of that melee unscathed and tacked away for clear air, to finish well up but not close enough to the 1st placed Farr 38 “Rockstar”.

Above: Nicely under control with good speed
Photo: Trevor Wilkins


The youngsters on the other Pacer 27 were having a torrid time of things with broaches and kite wraps being the order of the day.

Above: Still getting to grips with the big spinnaker on Skwert ll

Race 3 Results:
1st Rockstar (Farr 38)
2nd Regent Express (Pacer 27S)
3rd Numero Uno (K23)
4th Always Well (Beneteau 7.5)
5th Faraway (Farr 40)
6th Celine lV (Comfortina 39)
7th Majimoto ll (Farr 40)
8th Skwert ll (Pacer 27S)
9th Wild One (Cat 40) DNS
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Race 4 – 17 th December

Course: Windward/Leeward x 2 loops with an upwind finish.
Wind: Fresh Westerly. Temp: 23C
Sails: Full Main (Quantum); No.2 Genoa (Quantum); R1 Spinnaker (Quantum)
Distance: 6.5nm
Max Speed: 15.4 knots
Position: 2nd

Photo: Trevor Wilkins

With the briefest of lunch breaks, the RO sounded the warning signal for the next race. We seemed to have the K23's measure in the fresher conditions. The little 23 foot sports boat packs a mighty punch for its size, being able to hold its own against the Melges 24 and the Pacer 27, but it was designed primarily for lake conditions in Europe. It wasn't that happy in the stronger breeze, despite being sailed by real pro's. It is a little different in format in that the crew can hike with straps and the boat does not have life-lines.

Once again, we went for a pin start. It was the only place to be. We had a decent first beat and rounded just ahead of the K23. Up went the R1 and off we went in showers of spray, overhauling the bigger boats in short order. We were a bit more conservative with our Mexican drops and gave ourselves more room and happy foredeck guys!

This was a good race for us, where we rounded right on Rockstar's transom at the last leeward mark, but just could not stay close enough to them upwind for a win.

Above: Regent Express cooking downwind

On the last reach the K23 had a rudder failure, giving them their worst result of the event – DNF. The youngsters on Skwert were getting Cape Town sailing lessons with damaged spinnakers and more broaches. The Beneteau 7.5 had a much better race to finish 3rd in this race.

Race 4 Results:
1st Rockstar (Farr 38)
2nd Regent Express (Pacer 27S)
3rd Always Well (Beneteau 7.5)
4th Majimoto ll (Farr 40)
5th Faraway (Farr 40)
6th Celine lV (Comfortina 39)
7th Skwert ll (Pacer 27S)
8th Numero Uno (K23) DNF
9th Wild One (Cat 40) DNS

Fully expecting a third race for the day in conditions that we enjoy, we were a bit surprised when the RO blew the whistle on the days racing at 14h40. The plan for the rest of the afternoon was for the fleet to enter past the two swing bridges into the V&A inner harbour (the very expensive and upmarket one) to enjoy a meal, free beer and participate in Dragon Boat racing. It was HOT in the harbour, which had yachties quickly improvising shade from sails draped over booms, but the beer was cold at least.


Party time! And finally a good use for our old No.2 Jib. L-R Josh, Sandro and Phill

This was a fun and novel idea to include in the event. There were a few issues around toilets and some time lag issues, but all in all, hats off to Rob Meek and his team for being bold enough to try something new. Sailing needs more ideas like this.

Above: Dragon boat racing for selected crews
_______________________________________________________________________________
Race 5 – 18 th December

Course: Windward/Leeward x 1 loop with a downwind finish.
Wind: Light Westerly. Temp: 26C
Sails: Full Main (Quantum); No.1 Genoa (Quantum); A2 Spinnaker (North)
Distance: 4.0
Max Speed: 9.2 knots
Position: 2nd
A shorter course was set along the Green Point shore line, even closer inshore than the previous day, which meant the sports boats sailing their hot angles would have to gybe very quickly to avoid running into the rocks and kelp beds. In an effort to get in more races, the RO chose for this (and subsequent) races to be one windward leg, with a downwind finish. As usual it was the pin end that was favoured and the consequent fight for position, resulting in several individual recalls. A counter running current didn't help matters either with some boats falling onto the pin mark.


Above: No doubt about it..... Always well not always well

We had another good start and as usual, we had the K23 under our bow to leeward, inexorably working onto a higher point mode than we can manage. It was how they were able to hold us off in the light stuff. Despite that, we had good speed and rounded the top mark within striking distance. The heavier Farrs were bombing out badly and for once were unable to drop us. The K23 had a very good win, but Rockstar, the points leader at that stage, posted their worst placing of the event with a 5th . Skwert had a much better race to finish 4th .

Above: Regent Express enjoying the fresh conditions
Race 5 Results:
1st Numero Uno (K23)
2nd Regent Express (Pacer 27S)
3rd Always Well (Beneteau 7.5)
4th Skwert ll (Pacer 27S)
5th Rockstar (Farr 38)
6th Majimoto ll (Farr 40)
7th Celine lV (Comfortina 39)
8th Faraway (Farr 40)
9th Wild One (Cat 40) DNS
______________________________________________________________________________

Race 6 – 18 th December
Course: Windward/Leeward x 1 loop with a downwind finish.
Wind: Moderate Westerly. Temp: 27C
Sails: Full Main (Quantum); No.1 Genoa (Quantum); A2 Spinnaker (North)
Distance: 4.0 nm
Max Speed: 15.4 knots
Position: 3rd

We had sailed a fairly faultless regatta till that point. Race 6 would prove to our worst race in terms of performance and it all started with a fairly ordinary start. We decided to start mid-line to avoid the usual K23 luffing match. That was not a smart idea. We also had Skwert in aggressive mode and determined to score a better result. They came out with guns blazing and engaged the K23 immediately. Within 30 seconds after the start gun, we knew we were in trouble and knuckled down to make a recovery that never happened. Instead the gap grew bigger and we ended with another 3rd place. The consolation was that at least we had finished ahead of the Farr 38 again. The K23 put on a good performance to take 1st place, with Skwert recording their best result of the regatta with a solid 2nd place.

Race 6 Results:
1st Numero Uno (K23)
2nd Skwert ll (Pacer 27S)
3rd Regent Express (Pacer 27S)
4th Rockstar (Farr 38)
5th Always Well (Beneteau 7.5)
6th Faraway (Farr 40)
7th Majimoto ll (Farr 40)
8th Celine lV (Comfortina 39)
9th Wild One (Cat 40) DNS
______________________________________________________________________________

Above: Skwert gettng things under control

Race 7 – 18 th December

Course: Windward/Leeward x 1 loop with a downwind finish.

Wind: Fresh Westerly. Temp: 27C

Sails: Full Main (Quantum); No.1 Genoa (Quantum); A2 Spinnaker (North)

Distance: 4.0 nm

Max Speed: 15.9 knots

Position: 4th


We went back to our proven formula and went for a pin end start. This time it was not that easy for the K23 to outpoint us in the stronger breeze and choppy water. We had a good upwind leg to round just ahead of the K23. Up went the kite and we pulled ahead by about 15 boat lengths, only to find ourselves running out of pressure, so we went for an early gybe. That would prove to be a costly mistake. The K23 continued all the way to the layline, whilst we struggled to regain the pressure band further offshore. By the time we got back into the pressure, we were only about 200 meters from the finish line and the K23 had closed our gap down and managed to gain some extra distance on us as well. We figured we had an easy 2nd place, but the Farr 38 had claimed another 1st place. A bigger surprise was the Farr 40 Majimoto, which had nailed the 2nd place. That effectively moved us down to a tie for 4th place in this race with the Beneteau 7.5

Above: Skwert getting involved at the crowded leeward mark
Race 7 Results:
1st Rockstar (Farr 38)
2nd Majimoto ll (Farr 40)
3rd Numero Uno (K23)
4th Regent Express (Pacer 27S)
4th Always Well (Beneteau 7.5)
6th Faraway (Farr 40)
7th Skwert ll (Pacer 27S)
8th Celine lV (Comfortina 39)
9th Wild One (Cat 40) DNS
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Overview
Just after finishing the breeze went up another notch and we enjoyed a beautiful fast reach back to the harbour – a fitting way to finish off an outstanding regatta. The weather had everything to do with the success of this event, but good courses and organization ensured a very contented and happy bunch of sailors. We ended on the podium with a 3rd overall in our division, after a consistent performance over the three days with no damages and no kelp. Hooray! And a pair of Crocs for each crew member was a nice touch too. The prize giving was held on time with loads of good prizes from the sponsors, Crocs - who incidentally announced they would be back for the 2012 event.

Overall Results Club Div 1:
1st Rockstar – Farr 38 – Brian Gardener – 10 points
2nd Numero Uno – K23 – Greg Davis – 11 points
3rd Regent Express – Pacer 27S – Trygve Roberts – 15 points
4th Always Well – Beneteau 7.5 – Ralph Thomas – 24.5 pts
5th Majimoto ll – Farr 40 – L.Birch – 28.5 pts
6th Skwert ll – Pacer 27S – B.Robinson – 31 pts
7th Faraway – Farr 40 – Chris Sutton – 38 pts
8th Celine lV – Comfortina 39 – Volker Vierhaus – 41.5 pts
9th Wild One – Cat 40 – Martin Ernstbrunner – 56 pts

Rating for this regatta: 9.9 out of 10


For a full set of results for all classes go to www.rcyc.co.za