Yup, Double Handers, that was some funky weather on Saturday!
PredictWind had it doing some pretty cool tricks, flick flaks and Arab Springs in the days leading up to the race date, with simultaneous predictions (at one stage) of wind and gusts of between 6 – 40 knots from the East!
As it turned out, there was a choppy sea and a very northerly wind of around 24 knots, with some stronger gusts from time to time, that greeted the 16 entrants.
As this fleet has shown more and more as we develop together, it was certainly a good opportunity to race in different conditions, and racing was on. Things were a little wet and bumpy, but it was a good day out on the water, and the surfs on the way home from the windward mark made the entire outing worthwhile on their own…
There were a couple of sailors who exercised the other option contemplated in Fundamental Rule 4 of the Racing Rules of Sailing:
4. Decision to Race
The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or continue racing is hers alone.
These yachts are to be commended for coming to the start area, assessing their take on the conditions, and for then deciding on what their best course of action would be for the day. In this case, 3 of the yachts decided to head back to port without starting. For the yachts that did start, there were another 2 who retired, one who scored a DNF, and one that sailed the incorrect course, leading to her retirement.
For those who did complete the courses set, which were agreed upon by general consensus after an open chat at the customary 12h30 briefing, there was a sense that we’d left it all out there on the course after a very enjoyable sail, and there were some indelible/gormless smiles on the dials of a number of sailors who were obviously well satisfied with their outings.
For those who did not start, or retired: We respect your decision and share sympathy for any disappointment you may feel. To the yacht that sailed the wrong course, ’twas great to see you out with us for the race for the first time this series – but remember for next time the stated double handed classes are:
Class 1: TCF of 1.0 and above
Class 2: TCF below 1.0
The courses set for the day were:
Class 1: (10.3 miles) Start.BH
[s]; Dyang Family[p]; Finish.BH
Class 2: (4.8 miles) Start.BH
[s]; Landfall[p]; Finish.BH
The results make interesting reading, with just 41 seconds separating the three Class 1 yachts in second, third and fourth place; and with the class winner being 45 seconds ahead of second place after over 100 minutes of sailing. The lowest handicapped finisher won the race. The last placed yacht in the class need only have sailed 4m34s faster to claim the victory, and there was a handicap differential of 18.5 minutes in 100 minutes between the highest handicapped starter [Jacana: 1.185] and the lowest handicapped starter [HillBilly: 1.000]. That is an interesting reflection on the handicapping.
There is some real congestion in the overall Class 1 results after 5 of 6 races in the series; with just 5 points separating first from fourth place, and 3 points between second and fourth…
In Class 2, Humdinger is standing on five wins from five starts, but behind them Warlock and FTI Flyer are fighting it out with just two points between second and third.
The Class 1 course featured a long lifting starboard beat, a short port beat into Dyang Family, and then a rounding back through the wind, before a long port run/broad reach with opportunities for some speed surfing running with the swell. We recorded a top speed on the GPS of 16.5 knots, with a number of surfs well into the early teens. There were similar experiences across this fleet. The Class 2 course had their weather mark about 13° higher to windward than the Class 1 weather mark, so would have had a longer port tack on the windward leg, with a deeper run to the finish. This class finished between 20 and 30 minutes earlier than Class 1, having sailed a 4.8 mile course versus the 10.3 mile Class 1 course. Like Class 1, the lowest handicapped yacht to finish in the class also won on the day.
The series to date features 17 Class 1 yachts and 21 Class 2 yachts, bringing the overall series total to 38 yachts. That is already a huge improvement in turnout over the previous series, that totalled 25 yachts. Well done all double handers..!
Double Handed sailing is a really powerful alternative racing series, with a completely different style of sailing, longer legs, and a strong bond between the sailors. There is also a very open forum and sharing of information, sailing technique and skill that comes from the big table gatherings after each event, were all sailors gather to chat over a couple of bottles of both port and starboard Kling Wines. It is absolutely outstanding stuff [both the double handed sailing series, and the wine!]
All to play for in the final race of this series, with a lot possible still in terms of overall results. We hope to have an informal braai together after the next and final race of the series to be held on 21 June 2014 – more details to follow. If you are considering trying out this format, please do join for the last race of the series, and use it as a tune up or trial for the next 6 monthly series that starts in July.
Yours with both hands and braai tongs…