The Tuesday before
We drifted around for an hour waiting for the start line to be laid for the coastal race. Eventually the fleet got away in less that 5 knots of wind and thanks to a start line tangle between Light and Premier Cru we had clear air at the pin end and should have sailed away, but it took us 5 minutes sailing slowly to work out our mainsheet was eased too far - you can have too much twist in the leech even in light airs. The short beat turned into a fetch and we tacked around the windward mark in 3rd place for a long 8 mile close reach. Arbitrator and Premier Cru in 1st and 2nd started a luffing match so we came up with the brilliant tactic of sailing low on the rhumb line - shortest distance and all that. Unfortunately as the wind died we ended up in a band of no wind and sat helplessly as The Project, Sigmos and Errislannan sailed past just 50 metres to windward. After this we woke up to spotting and sailing in the patches of wind that could be seen on the water and hung on to 6th place at the next mark where the course was shortened. Premier Cru sailed an outstanding race to take the win and were spotted that night making a rare visit to the champagne bar to celebrate leading the European Championships after day 1.
A healthy 15 knots blew for the harbour race which featured a huge startline between a starting hut high on the hillside and the lighthouse on the opposite shore. The course was to take us in and out between the harbour and some coastal marks passing through the notorious wind shadow beneath the heads a total of 5 times. We spent a happy hour before the race putting the start line into the GPS and were rewarded with a great start several lengths clear of the boats to windward. In the first pass through the heads we lost the lead to The Project and rounded the first mark close behind them. An uncharacteristic mistake from the foredeck on the kite hoist let Arbitrator through before disaster struck as we sailed into a hole in the wind shadow from the heads and boats behind came up in a gust and were slingshot through the hole either side of us. By the time we had got clear we were down to 10th and feeling slightly hard done by. The rest of the race was spent slowly working our way back up through the fleet reaching 4th at one point until we were caught twice by starboard tackers who we thought we were ahead of. We eventually settled for 6th just a few boatlengths behind Persephone and just ahead of Light. Despite feeling cheated by the flukey wind by the heads this was a very enjoyable race with some spectacular scenery. Ominously The Project took their first race win quite comfortably. Check out www.photoaction.com/regattas.htm for some cool photos of the harbour race (click on Cork Week 2006 and select a boat name) especially look for Persephone racing the dolphins!
In the evening the S38 class
was bussed to Kinsale YC for an excellent
Two olympic course races scheduled for the day and we were
met with 8 knots of wind and descending fog at the start. This was reminiscent
of the last time I sailed at
Errislannan somehow managed to get clear to take the win, so now we had 3 races and 3 race winners. With Alacrity finished 6th for the 3rd time, I'm sure consistency must be a virtue. We felt for Light who would have surely won the race if the wind had stayed up. Thankfully we were sent back to Crosshaven without a second race.
This was without doubt the
best days racing we have ever had in a Sigma 38 and it was worth the trip to
For most boats Friday was academic for the series results but still no-one wanted to miss the last race which was the trapezoid course on another day of brilliant sunshine and 12 knots of wind. The Project took another race win though were pushed hard by Persephone and then Dragonfly. Dragonfly sailed a great race and were rewarded with 2nd. The places from 3rd to 5th was where everything was to play for and Arbitrator's 6th place was enough to squeeze them into 3rd for the series on equal points with the French boat Sigmos and helped by the Navy on Gauntlet struggling back in 11th place. On With Alacrity we went into the race with little prospect of changing our overall 6th place with a big gap in points to 5th and 7th which was just as well as we got our worst start of the series and struggled to make headway through the race finishing 9th less than a boat length ahead of Rebel and Gauntlet. Crossing the finishing line with spinnakers flying in a line of S38s was a great way to finish the series though a shame to have motored so far for just one race that lasted little more than an hour.
This was our first
So just 4 days at work to recover and we do it all again at Cowes Week - bring it on!!