Saturday saw a split between the optimists and the pessimists. Thick fog blanketed the bay and the pessi-mists (pun intended) were adamant it would not lift. Fortunately the optimists were correct and after a 45 minute delay the 20 boat fleet were able to sail in fabulous conditions. The sea was flat and the 25 knot westerly we started in, dropped slightly later in the race, but no transition zone developed.
A course was set from a start at No 10 to a laid mark off Granger Bay and then to Milnerton, Harken and the finish. The Class A boats sailed an extra leg between Harken and the laid mark.
Rick Nankin made a return to double handed racing after many years and, together with Ken Venn, sailed Windpower to a win in Class A. Dale Kushner and Ian Coward were only 20 seconds behind them on corrected time. Sailing a boat as large as Windpower with a big kite in 25 knots means compromises need to be made. In order to avoid having to gybe the spinnaker, Windpower sailed quite well to the south of Milnerton mark, dropped the spinnaker and then reached back up to the mark. Lots of extra distance, but you need to balance this against the probability of fluffing the gybe and losing even more ground. Short handed sailing is a game of statistics and choosing when to be conservative and when to push the boundaries.
In Class B the competition was intense. The first five boats finished within two minutes of each other. 2nd to 5th places were within 50 seconds of each other. DARG Shadowfax pipped Ava by only 4 seconds, while Bodytec Flyer were only 10 seconds behind Ava. ORC is proving to be a very good handicap system for the majority of our fleet.
Bodytec Flyer battled with a jib sheet coming undone just after the start and fell quite far behind. They made up ground by flying their spinnaker when most of the fleet decided the wind was too strong for this, but lost out again on the last leg to the finish by not going close enough in to the breakwater. In such close racing you cannot afford even one mistake and Bodytec Flyer’s mistakes dropped them to right down to 4th place.
The Cruising class had five boats taking part with Voodoo joining in for the first time. Alan Haefele won for the second time in a row.
The next race is on 20th January next year. If you are interested in short handed sailing and good way to start is in the cruising class.
Thank you as always to our bridge crew and especially to Excelsior Wines for their sponsorship of the prizes and the wine for the post-race socialising.
Class A: 1st Windpower, 2nd Xtra Link Yolo and 3rd Turquoise.
Class B: 1st, Humdinger, 2nd DARG Shadowfax and 3rd Ava.
Cruising class: 1st Derbigum, 2nd Voodoo and 3rd Sabatier.=