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Puma Twilight Series - Race 2 - 19th October, 2011

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Race in a nutshell: 19th October, 2011
Position PHRF Class 1 Spin: 5th from 9
Total Entries: 45
Distance: 6.5nm.
Max Speed: 13.1 knots
Ave speed: 6.9 knots
Time: 1 hrs 02 mins 28 secs
Weather Forecast: Cloudy with 30% rain. Wind NW 8 knots Temp 17C
Weather Actual: Accurate - no rain though. Wind up to 12 knots at times.
Course: 10 (S) – 2 (S)- Milnerton (S) - 4 (P) - Finish (P)
Seas: Slightly Lumpy
Sails: Full Main (Quantum), No. 1 Genoa (Quantum), A2 Asymmetric Spinnaker. (North)
Crew: Trygve Roberts (Helm), Craig Preston (Genoa/Spinnaker), Phillip Rentschler (Main), Craig Latigan (Pit), Allesandro Napoli (Mast) Joshua Banks (Bow), Total: 480 kg

Born Again

After that hectic sail down to Cape Point on September 18th and a fairly serious argument with a kelp forest, which we lost spectacularly (see Archives for full report), Regent Express was a little the worse for the wear with some damage evident to both the keel and rudder. Nothing too serious, but enough to convince us the trip back to RCYC would be better done on the road trailer. From the trailer she was craned onto a tall cradle to allow the keel to be lowered all the way out and some glasswork to take place inside the keel case. And that was how we managed to miss being ready for the first Twilight race as well as the Robben Island Race. We relaunched last Saturday and still had a lengthy work list of "to do" items. It is a boat after all!

First comply, then sail
With a loooong list of requirements posted by the club (I think I counted 8 in total) ranging from Third party liability Insurance to Up-To-Date-Accounts for all boats racing twilight series, we set off for the start area with a guest on board in the form of Craig (Pinky) Latigan, who was filling in for Charles Crosby. The VHF was strangely quiet, so we checked it and found that we had probably damaged the aerial cable when lifting the mast. It was vaguely working, but transmissions were so broken, as to make them inaudible. Problem No.2 was that the hand held VHF had been left on overnight, resulting in a completely flat battery. So we had no comms at all. We would just have to busk it. Our friends on FTi Flyer were kind enough to pass the course and start time on to us.

A potent start
The Club 1 Spinnaker Class is numerically the biggest. With a 10 knot South Westerly and a fixed start line, it was always going to be a question as to which boats would start on starboard and the majority on port. So do we go with the flow or do we go smart-ass on a starboard start calling for rights? In a 50 foot boat maybe. In a 27 foot boat probably not! Our debate followed that logic (or lack of it) and we ended up, almost by default, gently broad reaching down the line on port, watching for options. There were about three boats attempting a starboard start, but all of them were unable to cross the line on starboard, so heavily port biased was it. That gave us just enough space to hold our line. We cleared the line on port, going fast just to windward of Windpower. it was a superb start, but typically on a soldiers course, the glow of a good start doesn't last long when you are punching above your division. A few minutes later, the first of the big boats rolled us (J133 Speed of Yellow) and a minute later, Corum did the same. The loss in speed is quite dramatic. We managed to hold the A35 "Docksafe" off and rounded in 6th place.

A dead run - perfectly descriptive
From the No. 2 mark, it was a long dead run down to Milnerton. The fleet split into two groups. Our choice was to do a gybe set. We quickly built 10 knots of speed (peaking at 13 knots) as we headed inshore towards the beach on the starboard gybe. We did four gybes before closing in on the Milnerton mark, just on the stern of the A35. Behind us the Melges 24 had caught up nicely.

Head for the Mountain!
The norm in a westerly is to head for the mountain, but this would turn out not to be the right tactic on the day. We were picking up dirties from the A35, but the Melges was on our hip and slightly behind. We needed to tack for clear air, but it would be touch and go if we could clear them. I called for a slick tack and isn't it funny when you raise expectations, how often it goes pear shaped. We had Craig Preston on headsail trim and he just got his sheets tangled. A bit of ring-rust coupled with a sense of urgency was the combo. The sheets knotted and our slick tack turned into a slack tack, so
we had to bear off sharply to go behind the Melges. As things turned out, it worked in our favour. We did a fairly long tack out to sea in clear air on a slightly lifted tack. I had that uncomfortable feeling of "banging the corner" but with Josh calling tactics, we decided to head back inshore on starboard. We found a really nice groove with good speed and point to catch right back up the A35. We had also taken a big chunk out of the Melges's lead.

Ray of Darkness
A few tacks later had us closing in on the No.4 mark, but many of the boats were struggling to lay it, probably because of current. We had the big Beneteau "Ray of Light" creeping steadily up under us and an almost guaranteed lee-bow on the cards - and so it was, but we were ready for it. They forced us to tack away, which was probably a good thing, as we were able to sail fast to the mark, instead of pinching which is a singularly bad idea on a Pacer 27. The final short leg to the finish line was a fetch. It was too tight to carry our big asso, so we two sail reached towards the short finish line. We crossed the line going fast managing a 5th place. Not too shabby considering the light winds and non-sports boat course.

It gets dark fairly quickly at this time of year and the sail back and pack-up happens in semi darkness. We decided to sail all the way back onto our mooring which was a bit risky, but we pulled it off without mishap and managed to stretch Josh's arms a little in the process. It was really good being out for a twilight race again. Hello summer!


CLUB 1 SPIN Speed of Yellow J133 GBR5733R Patrick Holloway 1.155 185008 00:55:08 01:03:41
CLUB 1 SPIN Windpower Landmark 43 SA3737 R Nanckin/P Gutche 1.25 184647 00:51:47 01:04:44
CLUB 1 SPIN Southern Storm Pacer 376 SA4227 Tim Dykins/Harry Brehm 1.19 185028 00:55:28 01:06:00
CLUB 1 SPIN Corum SA969 SA969 Jan Reuvers 1.21 185002 00:55:02 01:06:35
CLUB 1 SPIN Regent Express Pacer 27 17 Trygve Roberts 1.08 185728 01:02:28 01:07:28
CLUB 1 SPIN DockSafe Archambault 35 FRA34635 Alexandre Monat 1.11 185611 01:01:11 01:07:55
CLUB 1 SPIN Puma Unleashed Pacer 42R SA3800 Hylton Hale 1.255 184911 00:54:11 01:08:00
CLUB 1 SPIN Lobelia IMX40 SA2700 Gordon Kling/Rob Meek 1.145 185456 00:59:56 01:08:37
CLUB 1 SPIN Mini Mace Melges 24 SA 410 Nicholas Mace 1.085 185926 01:04:26 01:09:55