Race 22nd Jan 2011

Race description 22 Jan 2011

Sailing Sat 22 Jan 2011


A fine sailing day within some 16 boats venturing forth into a cool water and not very promising morning wind.  However, it proved to be a pleasant sail with a suitable strength wind much of the time.


The MSC weather toy  indicates a race period of average 5 knot wind (F2) with gusts double that.  The first race was pleasant, but I was substantially late for the start so let’s talk about the second race where team Richard Dee/Chris Gould blessed us with their presence.  However, one must also know that Richard Adams, enjoying possibly his last day of freedom for ever, launched his brand new Solo for his first real test.


Paul Enteryoung was the OOD with Nigelgate safety boat captain.  Weathertoy shows a reasonably steady 280/290 degree wind direction.  Spot on start line and first mark setting by the young OOD, as you can see by the diagram.  

The big fleet of 6 Solos set off setting a pace that was always going to be difficult to match given the nature of the course.  Two windward beats, three spinnaker reaching opportunities for the Merlins and a two sail reach.  An intellectual course. On paper, a fair course, in practice dominated by Solos.


The beats toward the north shore are always tricky with this wind direction and most boats will have approached on port to maintain a position in the likely wind area.  This will lead to interesting situations around the mark where the inside line, port and starboard conflicts within the two boat length zone will have caused some thinking and possible strong words.  The #6 mark is particularly prone to adverse winds but the starboard/port approach choice is not as difficult as other wind directions. (see starboard/port tack indicator). I prefer port myself, but you have to be very wary of incoming right of way bandits. The poor red Enterprise suffered from one such valiant port approach within the zone but was unable to make it stick as he would have infringed the room at mark rules. (Otherwise this team had an excellent race).


A nice starboard reach up to #5 was tactical as keeping to windward early (shallows not an issue today)  allowed a smooth gybe around the mark but possibly with the loss of the inside line to boats keeping down to leeward.  Same up to #4 but on port, overlap at the mark important to get the inside line and windward position on the next two sail reach down to #2.  Then round again for the next lap.  It is as well to recap the course as one sails around, as my race advantage was destroyed by incorrectly sailing to #1 from #2.  Somewhat distracted by Nigel moving the mark this certainly cost significant distance and hubris.  I could blame the crew for not pointing out the directional error but to be fair Mike Homer thought I knew what I was doing.  Communication between the team members is important and perhaps a spoken “mark xxx next” by either team member would help.  Mea Culpa.    


The finish was from #6 to A and the aware teams will have noted that the shortest course was straight to the race box not to mark A itself.  However, the dilemma was the prediction that the wind closer to the shore was of less quality both in strength and steadiness.  This indeed proved to be the case and I was unable to haul in the boat just in front of me who chose the longer route out towards the middle.


Richard won the race by the way.