2007 Warsash Spring Series – Race 5 – Report from With Alacrity
This race was a real reversal from the 35 knots we had last time out in race 4 as we spent most of the time hunting for the ripples on the water which marked out the patches of 5 knot breeze. The forecast looked dire so we were quite impressed to find 7 knots of wind in the start area and the start sequence getting off without postponement with a course sticking to the shallower water on the Hillhead plateau. With 5 minutes to go though the wind died away to 4 knots catching out a few S38s that were stranded too far from the line. Light got off well at the favoured port end of the line and headed off to the left for the stronger current with us a few boatlengths behind and Marta keeping with us. Persephone tacked off early which should have seen them sailing in less current but as we all drifted upwind on the tide Persephone crossed ahead of us all having picked up a little more breeze on the right.
Persephone made the windward mark first closely followed by Light but the fleet quickly bunched up as progress downwind against the 1.5 knot current was slow. We rounded and sailed a little deeper with Premier Cru and Marta close behind. Twenty minutes of intense trimming later we had drawn alongside Persephone and Light but we were all still within 100 metres of the windward mark. Eventually the wind filled in enough for us to make 4 knots boatspeed and we made it to the next mark, having sailed deep at the start we came up to the mark with boatspeed on a closer reach and rounded a few feet ahead of Persephone. We gybed off early to get inshore for less tide but the more direct route for Persephone and Premier Cru paid off and they rounded the leeward mark a few boatlengths ahead.
The next beat could almost be made on a long port tack and with the breeze peaking at 9 knots Persephone stretched the lead to 6 or 7 boatlengths. The wind again started to die at the next windward mark but Persephone managed to get around whilst the rest of the fleet started to bunch up again with Light bringing up the last of the breeze and Beefeater catching up quickly from a bad start to round close behind in fifth.
Thankfully the course was shortened so we just had a close spinnaker reach to the finish but the wind died away again to almost nothing making the last few hundred metres agonising. Persephone had managed to drift down tide of the finish and were parked up just a few boatlengths from the line trying to run down against the tide. We had again stayed deep but were making just 1 knot over the ground towards the finish and with the ripples on the water acting like the fickle finger of fate in turn touching Premier Cru, Light and Beefeater almost anyone could have picked up the gust to propel them across the line. In the end though, the wind filled in just enough to get Persephone across for a well deserved win. On With Alacrity we again approached on a tighter reach which was enough for us to sneak across ahead of Premier Cru who sailed a great race on their first outing of the season. Beefeater made a fantastic recovery to finish fourth Sigma 38 and Light finished just ahead of Marta who were on their first Spring Series race with their new owners and on this showing could be a boat to watch as they get more familiar with racing S38s.