What a weekend! Saturdays race training was superb. It was amazing to see how everyone improved through the day, each exercise working everyone hard, in what was a hugely confidence inspiring and rewarding day for all. The races to end the day were a great reminder of how close and interesting it is to race one design particularly on these great boats, roll on the nationals. Many thanks to Jim Saltonstall, the Meakins and all the ferrets for organising and running such a great day, and to all of my crew and our guests from Sigmagician for their hard work and enthusiasm.
Now for Sundays racing. Race one we had a good start, hitting the middle of the line at speed within seconds of the gun. The progression of the race is a blur in my memory, at every rounding we were amongst two or three other Sigmas, With Alacrity, Pavlova, Premier Cru, Monet, Light and Marta, testing the new zone at each mark, exchanging positions regularly. Great work by the crew including Michael and Gemma from Sigmagician produced some slick hoists, gybes and drops, but in all the excitement of the close racing I forgot to call the runners on which slowed us on the beats, that realised we had high hopes for race two.
The one boat obviously missing from the battle was Persephone, who obviously sailing superbly cleared 5 minutes ahead of the rest of us by the finish. Congratulations on what I believe seals your win for the series.
Now for race two. We went for the committee boat end, and swamped in dirty air tacked away quickly onto port, and headed off to the right side on the beat, we struggled for a while as we had to stay high to get out from under Breakout and find some clear air, only to have Pavlova come across faster and deeper to sail over the top of us. After a few tacks on the shifts we made the first mark about 4th in IRC and just behind Pavlova. From there on we slowly closed down the gap to Pavlova, positioning ourselves above them on the runs to take their air and close in. Then on the last run the wind died and the fleet sailed up behind, and as we approached the last mark were ran in to the IRC4 fleet, with what must have been 30+ boats all approaching the mark at the same time. Anticipating quite a mess I decided to go wide to sail around any tangles that may happen, but a gap opened up for us to dive in and round the mark close and tack away onto starboard away from the mass of slower boats and head for clear air in the hope of finally getting the pass back on Pavlova, but the plan didn’t turn out to be a good one, and we ended up helpless on the left of the beat along with Hot Rats and a couple of other boats, in barely 3-4 knots of wind, watching the breeze build across from the other side of the course and most of the fleet sailing comfortably past us. My desire to push that one place higher lead to a painful lesson, and very good reminder that the last beat is a time to consolidate and protect your position, think about those behind rather than the ones ahead!
But my mistake aside it was a great race with some stunning work by the crew. After a rather solemn boat as we crossed the line the laughter and banter soon returned, particularly at the sight of most of the Sigma’s, ourselves included reversing our mains down on the way back in.
We are undoubtedly sailing better and better every week, just unfortunately so is everyone else, but if the racing continues to be as close and fun as it was this weekend there is undoubtedly a great season to come.