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IRC Winter Series #5

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Race in a nutshell: 31st July, 2010
Position Race 9: 6th
Position Race 10: 6th
Position Race 11: 5th
Total Entries: 6
Distance: 5 nm. per race
Max Speed: 16.6 knots
Ave speed: 6.7 knots
Weather Forecast: Cloudy, no rain. Wind NW 15 to 20 knots. Temp 17C
Weather Actual: Cloudy. No rain. Wind NW 20 knots gusting 25 - Temp 15C.
Course: Triangle, Sausage with a downwind finish
Seas: Lumpy with 2.5 swell
Sails: Reefed Main (Quantum), No.2 Jib (North), R1 Masthead Asymmetric Spinnaker (Quantum), A3 Fractional Asymmetric spinnaker (North)
Crew: Trygve Roberts (Helm), Charles Crosby (Genoa/Spinnaker), Waldo Zevenster ( Main ), Phillip Rentschler (Pit), Connor Leech (Bow) - Total: 425 kg

It wasn't a good day for small boats. Rough, lumpy seas and a fairly stiff breeze would prove to make life on a lightweight sports boat uncomfortable. There were other factors as well. We were without our pitman and ended up having to sail 5 up – underweight and understaffed. At this time of year, nearly all available crew are swallowed up by Lipton. Then there was kelp – lots of it.

Race officers Ron Keytel and Matthew Thomas laid an excellent triangle, sausage course of decent length, but despite very good starts in each race, the 40 footers soon rolled us into TEC (Tail End Charlie) position. Rounding the weather mark last, having to play catch up, doesn't help morale much either, but it was still good to be out on the bay and some of those high speed surfs were very enjoyable. The entry of only 6 boats was once again disappointing and I keep getting the feeling that we should put the whole set of fleets onto the same course and start line to make for more exciting racing. I will put forward my two cents worth at the next sailing meeting.

Normally 23 knots of breeze would be quite manageable for us with a full rig, but the rough seas and low crew mass prompted us to stick in a reef and go with the #2 jib as well as the A3 spinnaker. We were able to sail upright and still maintain good upwind speed, but point does suffer a bit with the non overlapping headsail up. The reaches were quite manageable, but we elected to switch to the masthead spinnaker after the triangle of the first race and then just stuck with the R1 for all the downwind work after that.

Poor Connor had Asso lesson 101 as the kite wrapped, went intothe drink and generally behaved in a hooligan manner, but he stuck to his guns and had the foredeck running smoothly by the final race. One thing we proved beyond doubt, is that the Pacer 27 needs 6 crew in breeze over 15 knots.

So for a heck of a lot of effort, we finished the day with a very disappointing set of 3 DFL's and only the retirement of Maestro in the final race got us a 5 th . Not our greatest performance but always better than being at work. Did I mention that it was very cold and very wet. After the second race, I was seriously looking forward to a warm shower not withstanding that I am on the dry end of the boat, so salaams to my foredeck crew. Good job.

Next week is the Robben Island Race, which is much better suited to our type of boat.