Autumn Series 3 - Race Report - October 2015

Not sure if it was the forecast for light winds, and chilly temps or the effects of the wonderful Laying-up supper the night before but turn-out was down this week.

Robert Mitchell - Autumn Series 3 2015

Pictured above: Robert Mitchell in his Dart 16 Catamaran

Flat seas under grey skies

All 4 Darts managed a good start with northerly winds and flooding tide allowing the cats to hold station close to the line in flat seas under grey skies. Pete & Eilish led from the gun and managed the fetch to the windward mark in their 18 closely followed by Dan & Jack also on a Dart 18. Rob Mitchell single-handing his 16 this week and Larry and Mike followed, also in their 16.

All 4 cats gybed in quick succession around the sewer mark where they could really see the effect of the strongly flooding tide.

Long glassy swells

A single broad reach running downwind, down tide and down the long glassy swells brought the fleet sliding down to the seaward mark with crews hanging over the bows to prolong the rides.

Dan and Jack hardened-up tight on the stern of the lead 18 and by a combination of sailing slightly low for speed and then pointing back up on the swells managed to undertake and take the lead heading back into the ODM and as they say, the race was on.

Gybing at the inshore mark, being careful not to cut it too fine or risk the tidal drag, then another broad reach out to sea to complete the sausage then down again to a pencil mark further down towards the pier.

The beat back to the start line was the most technical leg with options to tack early and stay out in the constant winds but stronger tide or heading inshore.

Dart 16 creeps past

Rob in the yellow 16 showed his experience and crept past Dan & Jack perhaps tempting them into the mistake of tacking off early leaving Rob to just make the buoy in one and increase his margin. Larry and Mike, convinced now that the 16 could eat an 18, clearly set their sights on overhauling Dan

The 3 lap race was shortened to 2 (which was perhaps a little premature Derek given that the winds were steady)

Autumn Series 3 2015

Picture above: Close racing as teams battle for position

Pete & Eilish crossed the line first with Rob in the infamous yellow peril (some say banana) less than 4 minutes later.

The real race however was between the other 16 with Larry and Mike on the final beat just behind Dan / Jack in the 18. Intense concentration allowed Larry to finesse his cat to edge just upwind onto the stern quarter to enjoy a slight lift from the leading boats sails.

Perhaps Dan could have eased off, sailed for speed and used his momentum to luff past the ODM but instead he chose to tack. Larry edged past him to windward to take him over the water literally on the line - phew what a race

Rob won on handicap, Pete & Eilish second, Larry & Mike a well deserved 3rd and Dan & Jack - lessons learnt for next time

Big thanks as ever to Derek in the race box and Neil in the rescue boat without whom we couldn't have run such a successful calendar this year.


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