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Old 18-08-2009, 02:48   #1
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A Typical Regatta Race Day

I am fortunate enough to have been invited to crew a Beneteau 40.7 for the 12th Western Circuit Regatta in Singapore. Take a look at the regatta here.

Welcome to the 12th SMU-RM Western Circuit Sailing Regatta 2009

We are sailing in IRC A class and I got promoted from tailing the genny to trimming the main - It's a big step and I am excited.

Sunday we arrive at the boat at 10:30 for a 12:00 start. We had practiced on saturday and basically unloaded everything removable from the boat. anchor, chain, lockers, bags, extra sails, dehumidifiers etc. Sunday we remove some more stuff and each crew is allowed one very small bag. We have some sandwiches, water and isotonic drinks. This is not a beer cruise - LOL.

We head the boat out at 11:00 and after a very short motor we hoist the main. The warning for our class is 12:00. we start to circle and check conditions and we notice the pin buoy is still in a committe launch. The radio is chatting about top marks and then the committe boat pulls anchor and starts motoring around. The winds are shifty and there are big build ups around.

We are supposed to get 3 windward/lewards and if they started the race now it would be a downwind start. Tyipical of racing the options for course layout are limited by the authorities so the committee waits for the weather. Predictibly we get a postponement flag at 12:00. A huge series of squalls and storms start coming in and we get soaked for the next 2 hours doing lazy circles. Periodically there is a break in the heavy rain and the wind is blowing in the right direction but the commitee wants a perfect line.

The teams are starting to feel that - there is only one basic opiton for this course direction so let's lay it and let's race regardless of wind direction. But we aren't committe folk so we get to circle in the rain.

Finally a warning at 2:05 and we get a start at about 2:12. We get an ok start about middle of the line but we are pinned windward and leward. The only good news is our nose is just ahead so we are sniffing good air. We pull ahead of the windward boat and she realizes her plans to keep us pinned outside aren't going to work. They tack away and then a minute or so later we tack into nice clear air.

The winds are 17g20 and we are seeing good boat speed well over 8 knots most of the time. The boat is on her ear a lot and I soon learn how much that big main needs to be worked with the traveller. Soon enough the beat is coming to an end. The winds have shifted right and so we are headed pretty much directly up course at the mark. It will be a button hook around and a bear away set.

The mark has two other boats around it but we don't interfere with each other, all goes well and we are under spin with good speed. Bottom mark coming up fast. We do the drop a little early and lose a little speed to the corner.

Grind the main on hard sheeting the genny and lap 2 is started. Still great conditions and we are crossing with a couple of other IRC A boats that should be ahead of us. This bodes well.

The second set is great as well. The winds shifted back left and we are starting to reach a bit on starboard tack. We get the boat wound up tight and I briefly see 10.8 knots. The skipper starts to have isues and I sheet out the main a couple of times to keep the boat on her feet. I'd hate to be the dummy FNG that broaches the boat.

We are a tad late for the drop but it works out for lap 3. Half way up the course we see the front runner (a vrey fast TP52) stopped at the top mark - what's up? Oh goodness she snagged the mark and is hooked on it. We watch in amazement for about 2 minutes. Eventually she gets going again.

What we didn't know but figured out as we approached is that they cut the mark lose and it is now drifting. We ended up chasing the mark in order to round it.

Lot's of discussion about that for sure. Any way the final run is done well and we end up with 3 boats in our class crossing within 4 seconds elapsed time.

A quick sandwich and some hydration as we anticipate race 2. The committe boat moves. The pin end moves. The marks move. The wind shifts, the committe boat moves - argh...

Eventually we get a start on a heavily biased line. We deflty start on port tack as a starboard tack won't get you over the line at all because of the left shift - many boats are on the right side of the committee boat paralleling the line and fighting an incoming current. We and 5 other boats, however get on course and are making headway - we think we are clever and everyone else is stupid - then 3 horn blasts - race cancelled.

Ahh - the committee. Of course the 5 guys on the race course doing well are thinking this is stupid. Probably half the dumb guys are thinking they can catch up and the other half are thinking it's beer-thirty. The dinghy guys (laser SB3's) after 5 hours on the water are probably thinking thank God!

We get back to the dock and drink beer. 5 1/2 hours on the water for 1:23 minutes of racing - sigh...

At least we got 2nd in our class!

And that's a day of racing. Tune in next week when we do a passage race!
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Old 18-08-2009, 03:44   #2
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Bit like diving, more time spent on the preps and getting into psition, than actually doing it!

Sowhere were you placed? ad what did they do about the cutting of the mark and the need to chase it?
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Old 18-08-2009, 07:22   #3
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The consensus over beer was that the committe launch, who were notified by the TP and were on site at the mark as we approached, should have captured the mark, anchored the boat and made that the mark. This is covered in rules somewhere that I haven't read - something about dragging the mark.

The consensus is that a floating mark is not a mark and had they captured it they could have had a legal mark.

In any case I let the guys paying the big bucks - the skippers - argue it out in protest while the crews drank beer and moaned about the skippers - LOL. At present the race is scored and we are in second.
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Old 18-08-2009, 08:40   #4
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I have not checked a recent rule book, but the Committee has limited options (if any at all) when a mark comes loose like that. What makes it difficult is that the mark is "in play" in other words, boats are rounding it, have already rounded and all the other boats are sailing toward it.

If the mark had come loose before any boats had rounded or come close, certainly a mark boat could have dropped a replacement mark and then pulled the drifting mark out of the water. But in this case, sadly, the only truly fair option was probably canceling the race.

Did anyone protest the Committee for that? There is a very good possibility a protest, properly filed and presented, would have been upheld if it could be shown that yachts were prejudiced by the drifting mark and the race could have been thrown out.

on edit... the boat that snagged the mark must have made contact with the mark, which is probably still a rule violation. Did they re-round, or do any circles? What happened to that boat?
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Old 18-08-2009, 08:41   #5
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Great description Dan. It brought back some memories.
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Old 18-08-2009, 20:00   #6
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Yes the TP cut the mark loose and did her turn immediately.

There is a protest against the committee on the drifting mark. Interestingly the TP filed the protest. Which makes sense for them as their race was stuffed after that and have only to gain from a successful protest of the race.
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Old 18-08-2009, 20:25   #7
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What was their reasoning for cutting the mark loose?

I'd love to hear TP's protest presentation.

"Well, we snagged the mark so we had to cut it loose. Which obviously was the Committee's fault, because..............

...........

yada yada.......

So we want the race thrown out.

Any questions?"

Ridiculous. The committee should DSQ them from the Regatta for this absurdity. After compensating the Committee for the lost mark anchor and rode of course.
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Old 19-08-2009, 00:21   #8
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The TP keel is something like 3.3 meters and has a bulb. The only way they could clear the mark rode was to cut it loose. I wouldn't have done different having just rounded the mark and set the spin. Could have been disastrous in terms of safety.
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Old 19-08-2009, 00:59   #9
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OK, so the rode was caught on the keel above the bulb, right? And they obviously were able to grab the rode because they cut it.

So why did they not just walk the rode around the boat to free it?

OK, maybe it was quicker and safer to cut the rode with the chute flying. But my point is, they did not have to cut it. There was another way to get free.

Lesson: if you are racing with a deep keel that has a bulb, go well to windward (or up-current in light air) of racing marks to avoid fouling the mark rode.
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Old 19-08-2009, 01:51   #10
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I was on Next Page(IRC B) and it did seem a bit silly all that sailing for one race that might be cancelled if the protest is won. I think there is big discussions going on about the passage race this weekend as well as only a couple of boats could finish the present course in the alotted time. I am not sure what is going on with the committee this year it seems the worst of the last 12 but all in all any sailing is usually good sailing. You should have come out for the Classic Races the weekend before. Good wind and a lot of fun.

Cheers

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Old 19-08-2009, 04:21   #11
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Hi Mark - We are planning a 5am pitch up and a 9pm return to dock. That's a long freaking day. Apparently it will also require all the crews clearing immigration both in and out - I smell trouble!

I missed the classic races. My poor boat gets angry if I don't sail her at least some of the time - LOL...
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Old 19-08-2009, 18:42   #12
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I am in Langkawi this weekend so not crewing. Part of the reason I didn't enter Sari Timur this year, the other being we no longer need to race her to get the numbers up at the Western and there really is not a class for her. The Raja Muda has a classic class this year though and the Western is think of it next year.

I have heard they are going to shorten course to Kukup only but nothing official yet. Otherwise I agree I think trouble. It is too bad as everyone enjoys the Pisang race but the time limit the committee enforced due to day boats taking part in the race makes it near impossible unless you are on a real go fast boat like a TP or DK etc. I think they are going back out to open water (the other side of Merumbong) on Sunday to pick up some true windward leewards as well.

Have fun this weekend.

Cheers
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Old 20-08-2009, 00:11   #13
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Will do and thanks. Even with the grumbling and moaning it's still better to go sailing than not - LOL...

Enjoy Langkawi!
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Old 20-08-2009, 00:19   #14
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Your last two posts have been in a narrative style. I am digging that. I was captivated until the very end.
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Old 20-08-2009, 02:43   #15
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Thanks unbusted. I do like to read other first person narrative accounts of sailing days as well.

Posting my sailing ramblings is a great way to relive the day and hopefully a few people find them interesting.

We have tons of good posts around here but I would enrourage others to write up their sailing yarns. I am sure there are more than a few ex-sailors, new sailors and wanna be sailors that can live vicariously through other member stories.

Cheers!
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