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Club Winter Series B- Race 2

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Classy new Fusion No1 Genoa from Quantum Sails.
Photo: Charles Crosby

28th August, 2010

Race in a nutshell:
Total Entries: 8
Position line: 1st
Position PHRF: Unknown at time of writing
Distance: 9nm.
Max Speed: 11.3 knots
Ave speed: 6.1 knots
Weather Forecast: Cloudy, with 30% rain. Wind NW 10 to 14 knots. Temp 17C
Weather Actual: Cloudy. No rain. Wind NW 8 to 12 knots - Temp 17C.
Course: 10 (S) - Landfall (P) - 10 (P) - 2 (P) - 10 (P)
Seas: Lumpy, with lots of kelp - 3.5m swell
Sails: Full Main (Quantum), No.1 Genoa (Quantum), R1 Masthead Asymmetric Spinnaker (Quantum)
Crew: Trygve Roberts (Helm), Charles Crosby (Genoa/Spinnaker), Phillip Rentschler ( Main ), James Harvie (Pit), Connor Leech (Mast), Joshua Banks (Bow) - Total: 500 kg

After a rather lengthy lay-off whilst the annual Lipton Cup was underway, the club managed to offer a low key race on Saturday. I was surprised anyone pitched up at all, as the day started off with soaking rain and cold temperatures, but by noon the clouds lifted a bit and the rain eased off, leaving us with bright glare off the clouds, a very lumpy, kelp infested bay and a gentle north westerly to race in. There were about eight boats willing to pit their skills and the race officer set the dreaded windward course so popular these days.

As we were about to cast off, we had a request from a Muira (a heavy 30ft cruising boat) for a tow out of the harbour as their engine had gone belly-up. How could we refuse? However, a one ton lightweight boat trying to tow a 5 ton cruiser using only a 5 hp outboard into a 12 knot headwind would prove to be an interesting exercise. After struggling to manouver our boat head to wind, we finally managed to tow them out backwards to the point where they could hoist a headsail and make the tight turn out of the marina on their own steam. Right - good deed done for the day.

Above: A start line at the 2001 Mirror Worlds in Wales with 104 boats vying for position. Lessons learned starting in big, competitive fleets are never forgotten. If you are not in the advance rank here, you are toast!

We had the best start in the fleet, right at the pin, on the gun and we vent off on a long starboard tack along the Granger Bay shore. That might not have been the best tactic, as there was a washing machine ocean just near Granger Bay from waves bouncing back off the western breakwater as well as tons of kelp. Steering was difficult with the apaprent wind changing drastically as the boat surged and slowed in the heavy waves. After a long stint on starboard, we tacked over onto port, taking the waves beam on and heading offshore towards the Landfall buoy. We seemed to be holding our own amongst the big boats, with the only boat in contention being the X332 yacht, Zebra - skippered by Connie Papageorge. They crossed about 10 lengths ahead of us. We were about 50 lengths ahead of the 3rd placed boat - a Farr 38 as we neared the weather mark.

The hard work was waiting for us. Steering and trimming on the downwind legs in the big waves and fairly light breeze was tough, with the apparent wind swinging through wild arcs of up to 50 degrees. Boat speed was slow (by our standards) as we headed off on starboard in the direction of the stadium at a sedate 7.5 knots. With Connor and Joshua both having just competed in the Lipton Cup, we had a sharp foredeck crew and our gybes were beautifully executed. The X boat remained 10 lengths ahead of us by the time we got back to the leeward mark but the rest of the fleet were out of contention. We hardened up after a neat strike and managed to sail a good high groove and take 5 lengths out of the X boat to close the gap a little. They went right onto the starboard layine and banged the corner, whilst we worked the middle of the course. They reached the No2 buoy some 6 lengths ahead of us and once again we went for a starboard bear-away set towards the harbour entrance. With some shippimg activity about to happen, one needed to be wide awake and plan tactics around shipping movements. I have seen many boats lose races this way, but the two leading boats were unaffected by this. The X boat went DDW to the finish and we worked the hot angles, sailing faster but further. We managed to close the gap on them and get slightly ahead to cross them on port about 10 seconds ahead to take line honours. Needless to say, the X Boat will have us on handicap.

Next week is the final of the winter IRC series, whereafter we will be sailing the boat around the notorious Cape Point in preparation for the Spring Regatta at the end of September, which is sailed in False Bay from Simonstown.