I was sent the following in an email this week:
Having just read your
Well, thatís told me then! Not exactly fan mail but then what is the saying, better to be insulted than ignored?
Unfortunately, I donít think I can offer much amateur
The start was set up just South of the Bramble Bank with a beat to East Bramble. The line was marginally bias to the pin end but we decided to start †nearer the committee boat as the tide was just turning in our favour and would be strongest just on the edge of the Hillhead plateau (according to our tidal chart). Being to the right would give us the option of tacking onto port to stay in the max tide rather than being pushed with the fleet into the shallow water on the Hillhead plateau.
In the event we got another less than great start. With Gambit very close to windward I decided we were in danger of being over and did a last bear away practically on the gun which was completely unnecessary and just meant we lost our lane and were soon squeezed out between Gambit to windward and Nuance to leeward. We tacked early to clear our wind, only just scraping across ahead of Marta Ė I think we were just clear but it was close and may have been tough to prove in a protest room. After another 5 minutes it was pretty clear the tide was not having the effect we were hoping and the wind shifting to the left was going to be worth more so we had a change of plan and tacked across ducking plenty of transoms to get to the left of the fleet. This proved to be a get out of jail card as we were lifted up to the mark and scraped around in 2nd place just ahead of Light and 5 boatlengths behind Festina.
After a good spinnaker hoist we were within a few lengths of Festina but rather than follow them down the run we decided to sail high to try to get to the shallow water (and less adverse tide), thinking also that a gybe before the leeward mark would give us a smoother rounding. This was not a smart move, with the tide making little difference upwind not sure why we thought it would be important downwind plus the wind kept going left so the leg became more a broad reach than a run so we never needed to gybe and didnít get across to the shallow water anyway.
The extra distance sailed lost us 4-5 boatlengths on Festina bit it was compounded massively at the leeward mark as we arrived just at the front of about 10 boats from different classes all blanketing our wind which meant we almost stopped at the buoy. Light and Nuance shot up alongside us, we managed to hang onto the inside berth and rounded ahead but we lost loads of distance here along with any hope of attacking Festina for the rest of the race. †The remaining legs were tight but processional as we covered Light to make sure they didnít sail past us in the same way they did in race 6 !
Back to the same start line for race 2, in fact it looked like both ends of the line were in the same place as for the first race but by now the wind had backed 20 degrees making it very bias to the left hand pin end. Festina bagged the pin end but we were pretty comfortable being 3 lengths up from them with a big space and speed off the line. Well, that was the theory and I really am not sure what went wrong next, clearly we must have been very line shy again and despite having plenty of space at the start we couldnít hold the lane upwind and were soon suffering in dirty air and forced to tack off. After getting into clear air we tacked back to the left again but this time the fleet coming into the windward buoy picked up a right shift (or more breeze?) and instead of getting there just ahead of the pack we were at the back. Fighting through this fleet is very hard and every time we picked up a few places we lost them again Ė I think Zanzara and With Alacrity must have overtaken each other about 6 times during this race! Marta, had started from the committee boat end, supposedly the least favoured end of the line, and popped out in 2nd place behind Festina, a position they hung onto almost to the finish where they were pipped by Rapscallion and Kindred Spirit as they all finished within 14 seconds of each other. In fact only 1 min and 45 seconds was the difference between 2nd and 8th Ė after a 90 minute race that is good, close one design racing.