Yesterday was a full day of boat prep., we weren’t able to get our planned sail in in the morning due to lines and Halyards having to be run and the engine required loads of work.
We took the engine apart, then re-assembled it without all the “unnecessary” bolts, blocked hoses, gaskets etc. Needless to say it worked, for a few minutes.
We then took it to the Pro down at the Ski Boat club who put all the pieces where the manufacturer recommended they should normally go. Needless to say it ran very well, for a few minutes, and then decided it had had enough of us.
Michael Dickinson then found an old motor in Vernon’s warehouse, it looked like it hadn’t run since PYC last won Lipton. After a bit of encouragement, we got it going and it’s working like a bomb.
We then got a late sail in to test the rigging and the lines and discovered endless problems, the Halyards were twisted inside the mast and the blocks round the sheaves were pretty non existent.
We came back to the mooring quickly and got set on fixing all the issues, this meant re running everything again (properly this time).
Once done, it was time for the opening ceremony with Durban’s finest dancers and good food and socialising.
TODAY – Race Day 1:
Woke up to a light on shore breeze, we got an early start preparing the boat, which included diving the boat (and then a good shower to get the Harbour Sludge off).
We set out early before the committee boat to give us a chance to have a final test and set-up.
11 L26’s lined up for the start, WIndward Leeward course, 3 rounds.
We tried to size up the competition before the race, and made some early assumptions on who to watch our for.
10 seconds to go, we were on the pin and stuck, put in a quick jib before the pin and came in on speed on Port tack in clear air, footed off for speed into a heavy swell.
The swell was big with small intervals between the swells.
Before we knew it, we left the fleet behind and got to the first mark 10 boat lengths ahead, this lead continued around all the marks finishing with a convincing 1st place.
Well, after that our heads were so big we couldn’t imagine any different outcome for the rest of the regatta.
Well then came Race 2:
Orion had our number and covered us on the start, which led to us both over, had to jibe around the pin.
Then a close dual with Izivungu on there borrowed boat Lindiwe resulted in a Lee Bow that went wrong for us, and hence a penalty turn.
We caught up again, but just too late and claimed a 4th place over the finish line a hairs breath behind Izivungu.
Our heads shrunk back to normal size.
We had a great start with speed on the line, match racing with Orion round the course, lost out on the last leg to get 2nd place to their first.
We had great debriefing session, the team are very grateful for the opportunity, working well together, having fun and hungry for more.
Orion got a 3, 2 and 1 to put them in first place with 6 points.
We got a 1, 4 and 2 to put us in 2nd place with 7 points.
Izivungu laying 3rd with 9 points
Tequila Sunrise laying 4th with 14 points
All the best from a warm and hospitable Durban
Yesterdays report was written by Shane, today’s by Daniel:
Executive Summary – we got a 1st and a 4th today.
We had a good team breakfast to discuss the tactics for the day, and made some position changes, Daniel moved to Halyards and Nic to foredeck which made more sense from a weight perspective as well as giving Daniel a better opportunity for calling tactics from the cockpit.
We left the dock early again and got to the course well in time, but to no wind. The cruising class got there start in very light winds and we got an AP flag till the breeze (5 to 7 knots) filled in about 45 minutes later. The swell was still running, but a little further apart to yesterday giving a better chance to find a rhythm.
We decided to try a running start into clear air, hung around 100m starboard of the committee boat with a minute to go. It paid off and we rounded the first mark about 3 boat lengths ahead of Orion. Orion closed the gap to a boat length behind on the second down wind leg as the breeze died. Before rounding the leeward mark we saw the S flag flying and kept the bag full for the finish, Orion had already raised there jib and were caught off guard, which increased our lead putting us over the finish line about 4 boat lengths ahead.
Wind 3 to 5 knots, we had breeze 2 minutes to go before the start, but it died on us and our start tactics fell off with the wind. We landed up on the committee boat with boats above and below us. Fortunately we managed to tack across into clean air and it was close racing round the course hunting puffs and trying to keep momentum to get through the swell. We rounded the top mark 4th and then caught a place on the first run. Kept third around the 2nd windward mark, but couldn’t hold it on the run in the light breeze and were taken just before the line (another shortened course). We tried lots of different angles, but struggled with pace on the downward legs, the swells collapsing the bag and struggling to catch the surfs.
Our boat speed is good with a bit of breeze, but we struggle in the very light.
Tensions were running high in the First Race and we had a bit of conflict on the boat, but used it as a learning curve and have resolved communication issues.
After a good conference call with our shore crew back home (Harry)The theme for today was KEEP CALM, smooth, calm movements with the boat.
We left the dock with the water looking like glass and the boat set up for the forecast light wind.
On the way out the harbour the breezed picked up, to our delight as we knew we were better with a bit of breeze.
Trying to be fancy we got luffed up at the start and were on the wrong side of the committee boat at the gun. We tacked round and started a good 6 or 7 boat lengths behind our main competitors. Worked hard on the first beat and rounded the first weather mark 3rd behind Orion and Cheetah SLFC. Second rounding we gained a place and held it on the 3rd rounding, turned out Orion were OCS giving us the win.
We went for a conservative start this time, middle of the line, clean air on speed. Got to the top mark 2nd behind Orion and held this position to the end with close racing between ourselves and Cheetah SLFC.
The breeze picked up a little and we were hungry for a good performance. Came down the line on speed and started near the pin (the weather mark was biased favouring a long Port tack) with Orion and Cheetah SLFC slightly below but ahead of us. We rounded the top mark 3rd behind them. Had a cracker of a second round and rounded the top mark 2nd behind Orion, an even better 3rd round beat and reached the top mark 3 boat lengths ahead of Orion. Worked every inch of the boat and every swell downwind to maintain our lead to the finish. It was our best race so far in terms of tactics and team work and was a well deserved win.
The team spirit is excellent, we know it’s a fast boat, but have a suspect jib and we know some of the settings could be better, which makes our results even sweater.
We now lying joint 1st with Orion with 12 points each and Cheater SLFC on our heels with 17 points.
There is a protest outstanding between Cheetah and SLFC and Orion for race 7, so things may change in our favour.
The theme for tonight is to keep calm in anticipation of tomorrow.
All the best from Durbs where things are getting even hotter.
It was a nervous night lying joint 1st
The wind had picked up a bit as we left the harbour, around 7 knots gusting 10 to 12 and with big 25 degree wind shifts, which meant the committee boat struggled to lay a course, every time they changed it, the wind shifted.
We got a good start in clean air half way down the line with Orion and Cheater SLFC just below us.
It was a far way to the weather mark and with the swell it was out of sight.
Playing the shifts and finding the mark was going to be key on this leg. We reached the mark 2nd behind Counter Point with Orion 3rd and Cheater SLFC close 4th.
We lost out to Orion on the downwind leg rounding the Lee mark just behind them and just in front of Cheater who got into our dirty whilst we managed to out point Orion and keep out of theirs.
We spotted the wind shift early and tacked over onto Starboard whilst Orion and Cheater kept going on Port. Orion followed us 200 metres later and Cheater continued for the lay line. We read it well as with the wind shifts, you needed to hit the long tack early and not go for the lay. We arrived at the top mark in 1st position 2 boat lengths ahead of Orion with Cheater close behind them.
Orion slowly closed the gap and wirily started to move us up, both of us on Port Tack and we were the weather boat, by the time we realised they were pushing us beyond the lay line it was too late. We couldn’t get the jibe in without a potential protest and the resultant pressure meant a lot of excitement on the boat and a loss of concentration, we started sailing their boat instead of ours.
They jibed to the mark with us now following, with a shortened course to the finish, we crossed just on their stern with Cheater just behind us.
We were very disappointed as we felt the race was ours and we lost focus with just 200 metres to go.
One more race and we would have two discards which would put us in contention again, at that point the wind started to die and the November of Alpha flags were raised, our regatta was over to finish 2nd overall, 1 point behind Orion.
We are disappointed to have lost the last race which we thought we should have won, but it was a fantastic learning experience and demonstrates how important it is to stay calm as Harry always tells us. It was great to have such close racing with such good boats and crew.
It has been a fantastic experience and we are very grateful to the ACADEMY and RCYC for the opportunity.