Winter Series Open Race 5, 5th July, 2015 – Thrills and spills in windy conditions
By Tom Wheeler
A total of ten intrepid skippers and their crews braved cool and blustery conditions for the fifth outing of the Winter Series. The usual Mark Foy start had a succession of yachts beating their way up the western arm of the harbour, against the 25-30 knot westerly as well as a strong tide. The windy conditions favoured the early starters: Foxy Lady and Candidus, competing in B division, seemed to be running away with the race at the head of the field. However, the first of the day’s incidents, a broken genoa halyard, robbed Foxy Lady of the lead and her competitiveness. Nevertheless, she impressed with her speed under mainsail alone as well as the perseverance of her skipper and young crew in plugging on regardless. Further down the B division fleet, Invincible and Ghia took up their close-quarters battle from the previous race, before Invincible pounced on an opportunity on the penultimate leg to secure second place behind Candidus, when Ghia fell off the wind and into the current in order to reduce sail area and regain full control. Persuader led the A division yachts from start to finish, seemingly unperturbed and sailing well, but further back in the fleet there was drama. Not Negotiable, despite a late start time, stormed through the field to claim second place. However, they had more than their share of issues, with a crew member in the water and another sustaining a knock. Jetstream, always pushing to the limit, cut the sandbank to the side of the main channel a bit too fine and ran aground. They were helped off by Wizzard, after their third-place finish, who laconically enquired about the success of their cockle dredging efforts. Overall, it was an exciting days’ racing in character-building conditions.
Race report, Open Race 4, 21st June, 2015 – A tale of two races
by Tom Wheeler
A good number of boats fronted up for the fourth competitive outing of the winter season, with both A and B division being well represented. The 15-20 westerly wind and fine but cool weather made for some great racing. The usual Mark Foy start saw a steady stream of yachts hard on the wind, headed for the harbour entrance. From there, the fleet split, with B division heading up the western arm of the harbour, while A division headed out to Karewa. This caused some initial confusion among some of the crews, perhaps too used to following the leader. A tight tussle ensued among the leaders of B division, with little more than 100 metres separating Ghia, Invincible and Candidus for the most of the race. Ghia prospered in the conditions, but was barely in control at times, showing off her bottom during a couple of spectacular round-ups, one of them almost taking out a closely following Invincible. Ultimately, Ghia held out for well-deserved B division win and line honours, followed by Invincible and Candidus. The A division race was something of a yacht procession, with the course dominated by reaching. The wind reached 25 knots at times, which made for some impressive boat speeds. Wizzard was untouchable in these conditions, gradually mowing down the fleet to be the first to the finish line, followed by Formula One and Persuader. Overall, the day provided some great sailing and close racing, with plenty of stories to tell in the clubroom at the end of the day.
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