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A Summer Day In The Middle Of Winter!

A Summer Day in the middle of Winter!

Winter Series Race Date 3: 16 August 2014

A Summer Day in the middle of Winter!

What a fine and mild summer day of sailing we enjoyed on Saturday! Dare we say there were some sunburnt (or at least sun kissed) faces and noses around the club after an enjoyable day on the water?

25 yachts lined up for the 13h00 all class start for the now customary sprint race. We are all going to benefit so much from these little sprints we’ve tried to do in every race date in the Summer and Winter Series’, as it sharpens start strategy, positioning on the line, establishing start line bias etc. It is a great leveller across the three divisions, and all divisions are in with a shout. This is underlined yet again by the results, with a yacht from each division in the overall all class podium. (Jacana, Regardless, Hors d Oeuvre). There were almost equal fleet sizes on the water, with 8 from Division 1, 8 from Division 2, and 9 from Division 3. This compares very favourably with the corresponding Winter Series last year, where 23 yachts (8;4;11) participated in the whole series. With one race date remaining in the series, we might yet see a series turnout of 30 yachts?

Aboard our yacht in the first race, we were given a(nother) hard lesson at the start, and managed to compound error upon error to round the weather mark behind most of the fleet, having sailed the wrong tack from the wrong side and in dirty air! Clean air and boat speed is so important, as is sailing on the lifted tack! By a simple comparison with Nuthr Witch, who started alongside to leeward us at #10, but tacked away into clean air and could then approach the weather mark on Starboard, they rounded the weather mark almost two minutes ahead of us, after less than 8 minutes of sailing! Ouch.

Also of interest in this light westerly wind race, was just how much separation across the fleet one can get even over a short course. The elapsed time delta between the first finisher and the last finisher was a shade more than the elapsed time of the first finisher (45:19 vs 92:56). You’ve got to feel for the heavy displacement cruisers who participate with such magnificent spirit every race, even though these yachts do struggle to get going in the light stuff. Thanks for your perseverance! I suppose in the benign conditions on the day, the longer you were out there the more enjoyable it became!?

For the record, the first race course was St.BH&10(s);4(s);H(p); Fin.BH&10(s) for a distance of 3.0 miles.

The second race was a longer bay race, and as with previous race dates, the start was again split to allow the divisions to get away as soon as reasonably possible.

A couple of yachts tried out a tracking app for smartphones, called RaceQS. It worked fantastically well, so if you are interested, download it before the next race date! You are able to replay the whole race or races in 3d simulation, with speed, separations, lay lines, lifts, vmg, track, trajectory, etc. We are encouraging the double handers to try it out this weekend. Here is a screen grab from the downloaded data of Nuthr Witch, Scarlet Sun and FTI Flyer approaching the leeward mark in the first race…it even shows the zone [3 boat lengths around the mark].

The second race was also a light wind affair, which crossed a transition from the very light westerly that had unexpectedly moved slightly north, and into a lovely south easterly. With the slow going in the westerly, the bridge shortened course for all divisions. A protest has been lodged around this, which will be heard on Wednesday evening. As a way of improving all our knowledge and understanding around sailing and the rules, we intend to publish the facts found and conclusions drawn from as many protests and requests for redress as possible in the coming season.

While talking about rules, look out for an amendment to the relevant club documents [NOR and/or SI’s] to accommodate course announcements via designated SMS. This is intended to lessen our dependency on VHF coms, and to eliminate or lessen the effect of human error in announcing courses. We look forward to your support of this initiative, which is very much in line with international trends, but obviously point out that this does not mean you should not keep a close listening watch on the designated VHF race channel!

It was great to see so many yachts enjoying the day, and specifically, congratulations to the octogenarian Dr Dave Smith and crew aboard Touch n Go for again showing the fleet that you are an absolute rocket ship in the light stuff. The two Dudley Dix yachts, Triton and Black Cat, continue to develop new crews and will no doubt improve every race. Amongst the J’s, Jacana rotated crew positions aboard, so everyone tried something new. Tenacity are showing some great form in the J111 one design head-to-head with Mwah. Another close class battle is developing between the two Charger 33’s, FTI Flyer and Shadowfax, who have finished one after another in every race in the series so far. The Tam Tam crew looked resplendent in their fine new crew battle regalia…and Regardless, Tam Tam and Scarlet Sun are ever improving in a head-to-head Simonis 35 class battle, with the Sunfast 32, Yolo, also giving this class stiff competition. Great to see the Farr 38, Me 2 Me, out on the water, although unfortunately she struggled a bit in the light stuff. It would be great to see two or three more L34’s give Nuthr Witch a run for her money – come on Vortex, Lapwing and Ebbtide, amongst others! Amongst the Miuras, Far Med participated just two-up – and one had an arm in a sling – and gave Iechyd Da and Ava a run for their money in the second race. The Miura tussle will intensify as more yachts come out of hibernation…I can think of at least 4 regulars missing from the Miura fleet in this series so far…and with the Miura Nationals coming up at Spring Regatta, it would be a worthwhile time to practice! The Beneteau’s First Lady and First 40 are both challenging for podium positions in their respective divisions. Another head-to-head, that should develop nicely, sees One Eighty and Maestro mix it up for the Fast 42 class battle. That leaves the various Lavranos’s not mentioned above [Charger 33s were also designed by Lavranos]: the two L26’s, Hors d Oeuvre and Escape, as the alpha and omega of Division 3, and the L39, Anastasia, no doubt itching for just a bit more wind. The L41 mod, After You, was extremely polite on the day – living up to her name – and no doubt double itching for a bit more breeze to let her perform.

There are some wonderful and friendly new rivalries growing between many of the yachts across the fleet, as well as some long-standing ones. This is so good for club sailing and from a personal point of view, this can only help to improve our sailing. Thanks to the bridge for giving us all your time on the day and for an enjoyable day out.

If you have taken any images of your action on the water, please feel free to mail them to the sailing office, and we will include them in the race reports wherever possible.

To end off, here is a colourful one taken aboard our yacht on the last leg of the second race.

Looking forward to the next Winter Series Race Date on 30 August…

Come Sailing!


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