I am fortunate enough to have been invited to crew a Beneteau
40.7 for the 12th Western Circuit Regatta
. Take a look at the regatta
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
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
At least we got 2nd in our class!
And that's a day of racing. Tune in next week when we do a passage