There definitely seems to be a guardian angel looking over this fleet. Saturday’s weather was pretty nasty in the morning, but a very pleasant window opened up after lunchtime as the wind backed from west to southwest over the afternoon. There was a fair swell and a variable breeze with the upper limit in the mid twenties. 14 yachts made it to the start…and it is now the third race on the trot where the division 1 has been equal or bigger than division 2. It seems the tables have turned and the bigger boats are flexing their double jointed double handed muscles!
Boat prep is really critical in this format, and a number of crews were readying their yachts from 10am in the morning. This fleet also has a pretty good discipline of getting out to the start area early to check the conditions.
Now the exception on the day: Ray of Light came to the start area with about 3 minutes left on the countdown, hoisted their main, and sailed the first leg without a jib up…luckily for them, they have a monster main and it was a fetch!
Thanks to 4 year old Sean aboard Ray of Light for helping his folks to set the courses…I know you wanted us to go around Robben Island, but the grand red and white pinstriped Fairway mark and the Coke mark were also fun!
The courses were simple and straightforward:
- Start, Fairway, Coke, Finish for Div 1
- Start, Fairway, Milnerton, Finish for Div 2 Most competitors got off the line cleanly and well, and the fast fetch to landfall presented a good opportunity to see relative boat speeds across the fleet at first hand. Then the divisions separated and the debate was on as to whether to fly kites. Jacana and Yolo did, and disappeared into the distance trailing a white spray to boot. The swell was much larger out in the bay and after the gybe, top speeds were into the mid teens across the div 1 fleet as surfing downwind became possible. The two spinnakers had overshot the lay line and had tight angles coming back. Jacana had a halyard problem with their drop and were forced into a couple of tricks to drop it, safely nonetheless, but with a snarled sock and headsail. Even though they retired, they certainly got a decent workout. As the Div 1 fleet hotted up around the magnificent looking new Coke mark, it was Mwah, Ray of Light, Tenacity, Scarlet Sun, Nuthr Witch, Yolo & Necessity ready for the long beat home (but with a collective eye on Jacana’s safety and progress). The last three yachts to round were also the lowest on handicap, and were clearly still in the game…all putting in a good beating leg to claim the podium positions.
In division 2, good to see Storm and Cabaray back after a couple of missed races. Cabaray and FTI Flyer had a ding dong battle for the line, and Ava again showed her mettle to overtake Storm on the beat, with Iechyd Da and Humdinger a little further back, but in contention on handicap.
So, there was plenty to talk about back at the club, and there has been a switch in overall leaderboard in division 1, and it is still tight at the top in division 2. All to play for with 2 races left in the series, and just the one discard coming into play after the next completed race.
As discussed and agreed at the post-race-soir??e, the next double handed race, on 16 November, will be a middle distance race starting at 14h00 and finishing after sunset. Obviously this will be weather dependent, but look towards a 42 mile division 1 course (like Bokpunt and back) and a 32 mile division 2 course (like Koeberg and back)…and get your nav lights, harnesses and lifelines ready…
Come Double Handed Sailing!