Crew: Derek and I, Tim, Willem and Paul
Course: P: Start – G (Garrow) – H (Howrah) – Finish
Wind: south-easterly, 15 to 20 knots
Only our second chance to race in the current BYC Twilight series, and conditions were perfect for us tonight. Being a heavier boat we go best in stronger winds, and the choppy conditions favour us also, being a heavier boat we don’t bob around as much as our lighter and nimbler competitors.
The start line was set quite a bit further north than usual, not giving all the yachts much room to manoeuvre before the race began. Despite this we found ourselves in a good position at the start with plenty of room around us, and were able to make a port tack early on without having to duck and weave around other boats. The first leg was a long beat into the wind, to the first mark, G, set about half a nautical mile SSE of the John Garrow light. This is a navigation light set a little off the shore south of Sandy Bay. Its huge red pylons usually topped by a gaggle of cormorants.
We tacked all the way to the Garrow, keeping in touch with the faster boats. Early on we furled the jib in a little, to stop the boat getting overpowered in the heavier conditions, and this gave us better control. The new jib has a foam-padded luff, allowing the sail to keep a better shape when part-furled. The young fellows worked hard trimming the sail on each tack, and we rounded the mark hot on the heels of Wildfire, who is usually well ahead of us! Dave was also sailing a good race on Trouble and had disappeared well to the front of the fleet.
The next leg was a two sail reach on a starboard gybe – this means we have the wind at our right shoulder and all sails eased. The boat flew along and we kept our position mid-fleet all the way to the Howrah mark. This mark is close to shore just off Howrah Point, and can prove a little tricky if the wind is blocked by the point, however tonight the wind followed us all the way and we made a smooth gybe around the mark for another reach on port. We kept our position, and even gained on Wildfire as we approached Bellerive Bluff. Here we poled out the headsail, so the boat was goosewinged to catch the maximum wind from behind, and inched closer and closer to Wildfire, just pipping them at the finish line. Our maximum speed for the race was 8.9 knots – quite a clip for our heavy boat!
We joined Gary and the crew of Ciao Baby II at a table in the clubhouse for dinner, and awaited the results. In division B, Pyxis came third on handicap, Trouble was second and – yes! Ariadne’s Clew came first again by a whopping 1½ minutes! Now I have a club t-shirt to match Derek’s from last week.
Next week Derek will be away in Singapore, so we will give someone else a chance – perhaps Dave will win the t-shirt…