September Super Bowl 1 - Race Report - September 2017

The September Super Bowl series got off to an epic start last Sunday with winds forecast to rise from the gentle F5 at 1100 to ‘off the scale’ later in the day it was maybe no surprise that only two boats braved the storm.

Crews on the Beach - September Super Bowl 2017

Rob teamed-up with Ben Boxer and Dan kindly offered to carry (crew for) Pete around the course.

Manic course

Martin and Mike set a manic course full of reaches requiring each boat to gybe out to sea twice on each of the 4 laps; the adrenalin was pumping at the prospect of what was to come!

A cross onshore southerly wind meant a worthwhile port bias on the line which Rob spotted early. Pete and Dan cottoned-on late and managed to carve the Orgasmatron in on starboard and bang a late tack in to cross the line just ahead of Rob and Ben in the Yellow Fandango.

Upwind sailing was as expected with the D18 getting to the windward mark ahead of the 16 before easing off and heading out to sea…

Waves in the face

The first broad reach along long rolling swell lines seemed like fun on the first lap and a few waves in the face exhilarating.

Timing the outside gybe when the cats were at max speed on a wave seemed a textbook exercise then back out on the wire for the crews as the sausage tightened into a close reach. Here Dan took the mainsheet with instruction to Pete ‘just to steer’.

Rob and Ben - September Super Bowl 2017

Picture above: ' Riding the waves' Rob and Ben on thier Dart 16

A quick tack inshore helped by the flooding tide meaning no risk of hitting the buoy then it was back on the broard, broard reach offshore. This time around some of that rolling swell was starting to break and the surfing Darts started to make threatening noise like ‘pitchpole and nosedive’ but all the time the helms had to constantly lose ground to the evil tide and were forced to drop in again and again.

Cant see nuffin?

Running downwind from the seaward gave a few seconds to hyperventilate trying to regain some ounces of energy. ‘Where’s the Sewer mark Dan I can’t see nuffin?’ Not sure if it was raining or if the spray was simply horizontal at that stage. Calling the gybe early and having to float downwind on what seemed like an endless wave the boys just crept around the green can and bashed it onto a tight reach heading for the line, exhausted, exhilarated and it was only lap one.

Pete and Dan - September Super Bowl 2017

Picture above: Safe at last - Pete and Dan returning to the Beach after the race.

The next two laps and the conditions steadily deteriorated as forecast. Winds gusting F6 and breaking swell and white water was everywhere.

Gybing was fearsome for the helms forced to look over the back at the following head-high swells that seemed to cut out the sun. Gotta gybe at full speed or risk the mast!

Stories to tell

Each boat had stories to tell. Ben was washed off the back any number of times held only by the 4mm trap wire. We lost count of the times we nearly stuffed it in. This was seat of the pants sailing at its best but I admit never to being so glad to see the ‘S’ flag coming in after 3 laps and 53 minutes of combat.

Rob took a well deserved win on handicap by 150 seconds once the numbers were crunched.

Big thanks to Martin and Mark V. for launching the rescue boat to set the course and for standing by whilst the foolhardy did their thing.

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