Portuguese Man O’War – By Andrew Collins
While many of us were battling big waves and strong wind during the Portugal Day race, one young crew member on Nemesis was battling a different kind of Portuguese. As a wave washed over the boat, a blue bottle became lodged in the top of his oilskins and the poor guy was stung on the neck.
Hollard Jacana were forced back to moorings when a sea-cock failed and they began taking on water at a rapid rate. Although they quickly plugged the hole, they took the wise and seaman-like decision to retire rather than continue pounding into the rough seas with only a wooden bung keeping them afloat.
Meanwhile on Hors d’Oeuvres the vang broke resulting in a broach and two crew in the water. This seasoned crew took it in their stride and only dropped from second to fourth place.
The waves crashing over the breakwater were a good indication of what lay in store for those brave (foolish?) enough to head out into the bay. Thank goodness it was a pursuit start format, as there was plenty of space to manoeuvre on the start line in the tricky conditions.
The course consisted of two beats, a reach and two great runs. The final run to the finish from Landfall required a gybe to test the skills of the foredeck crew. Just staying on your feet in the sea conditions was quite a feat, let alone man-handling a spinnaker pole.
For the first time the start times were calculated accurately for each individual boat rather than interpolated off a well-sailed boat’s expected time. ORC handicap certificates provide predictions for each wind angle and a band of wind strengths from 4 knots to 20 knots. It is possible to then calculate the expected time for each leg of a race for every boat.
There were certainly some very close finishes, even between very different boats. Xtra-Link Yolo crossed the line a metre or two behind the Cape 31 Nemesis. Both are well-sailed boats but one is a cruiser/racer with symmetrical spinnakers and the other is a planing sport boat sailing tight angles. The two Charger 33’s had a close race all the way around the course, shaving past each other on a few occasions. In the end DARG Shadowfax pipped Bodytec Flyer by about 20 seconds.
Well done to everyone who sailed. Despite the tough conditions there were a lot of happy faces in the regatta centre afterwards, swopping war stories and enjoying the Portuguese fare.
A number of people noted the party was one of the best ever. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making the Portugal Day race a huge success. A special thank you to our sponsors, Mercedes-Benz, Lusitania, Mercantile Bank, Britos Meat, Fish for Africa, Meatright, Brights Hardware, La Couronne Wine, M&R Fruit & Veg Marketing, Amorim Cork, Kanimambo.
There was only one negative on the day and that was the lack of attention by quite a few skippers. It was announced on numerous occasions that we had blanket clearance for the fleet and that boats must NOT call Port Control for permission to exit the marina. Despite this, boat after boat called up Port Control asking for permission and annoying them more and more. Please, it is important that you do not just switch on your radio and immediately start calling Port Control. Switch it on some time before you intend leaving and then monitor channel 14 for a while before calling them up. As you are all aware, the renewal of our lease relies on a number of things and one of them is that we have a good relationship with Port Control.