Winter Series Open Race 10, 13th September, 2015 – Season finale
By Tom Wheeler
The final race of the winter series produced a good turnout of yachts and some of the season’s best racing in fine weather and pleasantly warm sailing conditions. The 20-25 knot southwesterly wind prevailing as the boats crossed the start line opposite the Pilot Bay wharf had the skippers thinking hard as to the appropriate amount of sail to carry. However, by the time the contestants closed in on the first of the turning marks in the western arm of the harbour, the wind had eased substantially, necessitating some crews re-thinking their choice of sails. It was a busy day for foredeck crew as spinnakers were hauled up and set several times, with the kites getting an airing during two downwind runs in the western arm as well as the final leg, returning down the main channel from the Bridge marina. The fleet was visited by a pod of dolphins near Panepane point, a rare occurrence within the harbour. The A division early leader, Persuader, looked good at the head of the fleet, until gear failure necessitated her withdrawal. The faster, later-starting boats, Not Negotiable, Rocky, and Wizzard gradually hauled in another of the pacemakers, Jetstream, to take the first three places. In B division, Candidus was dominant, leading from start to finish. However, late in the race they were threatened by a fast-charging Ghia who closed in on them in the last 200 meters, followed by Force 10, who took out third place. Overall, the winter series featured some close and exciting racing in a wide range of conditions. The series makes for an excellent entry into keelboat racing – The Mark Foy starts minimise the stress of pre-start manoeuvring, and the competitive spirit is also tempered with courtesy. The focus now switches to the upcoming Legends Regatta, featuring a unique mix of racing, cruising and socialising on and around Great Mercury Island. The winter series was supported by the following sponsors; Mount Liquor Mart, Mills Reef winery, Burnsco Marine, and Bakeshack.
Winter Series Open Race 9, 30th August, 2015 – Another Karewa classic
By Tom Wheeler
A total of nine yachts took their usual turns crossing the starting line according to their handicaps in fine and mild conditions with a moderate 10 knot westerly breeze. This was a welcome improvement from the rain and no wind situation prevailing earlier in the morning. On this occasion the course took the fleet to A Beacon then Karewa Island, 5 nautical miles north of the Mount, before returning to finish off the Pilot Bay wharf. It turned out to be a more tactical race than expected, due to a wind shadow through the harbour entrance, which had the participants ghosting along in various directions before catching the breeze again. Once past A Beacon, the breeze made for ideal sailing under eased sheets, with plenty of time to enjoy the lunch which was kindly provided to all the crews by Bake Shack. All seemed to be routine until the leaders encountered an area of no wind part-way to Karewa. Tacticians were put to the test as the competitors chose to pass the no-wind zone either to the inshore or offshore side. Some, perhaps having multiple tacticians, chose a compromise path right through the middle. In B division, Nelani and Gillian profited the most from the situation by staying well inshore, leaving the A division boats in their wake. As a result, the racing was still close quarters as the leaders rounded Karewa in the revitalised breeze, some finding to their cost that the wind angle on the return leg was too shy for spinnakers. Not Negotiable recovered well from their near-becalming and were hot on the heels of Gillian, eventually taking the overall lead approaching A Beacon to cross the finish line first and take A division honours, followed in their division by Rocky and Jetstream. In B Division, Gillian had an outstanding race and was the runaway winner, followed by Force 10 and Ghia. Overall, the race featured some close quarters duals that tested the crews, making for a classic day’s racing.
Winter Series Open Race 8, 16th August, 2015 – The wind that wasn’t
By Tom Wheeler
Fine spring-like weather saw another good turnout of yachts, heading out along the main channel and through the harbour entrance in stately procession, ghosting along in the very gentle southwesterly breeze. The predicted building wind was anxiously awaited by skippers and crew as they anticipated the return downwind leg from A beacon and through the harbour entrance against the outgoing tide. With the promised wind not yet eventuating, the passage through the entrance and onwards into the western arm became a tactical minefield as each boat sought to chase the occasional light puffs of wind on offer. Jetstream made the most of her early start time, and led the fleet from start to finish, having never completely lost the wind at any point in the race. She was followed over the finish line by Rocky and Not Negotiable – both boats doing well despite running aground in their effort to avoid the tidal stream. The B division race proved a happy hunting ground for Force 10, who despite her late starting time made her way steadily through the fleet, benefiting from some unusual but successful tactical decisions. The stage was set for an intense close quarters duel for the lead with Nelani in the shallows leading up to Banks buoy, with Force 10 prevailing to claim first place of the shortened race ahead of Nelani, who were followed by Candidus in the dying wind. The promised 20 knot southwesterly breeze never eventuated, and the remaining yachts finished the afternoon becalmed at various points along the race course. Nevertheless, the day’s events was the subject of much animated discussion and story-swapping at the after-match prize-giving at the MOSC, attesting to the exciting nature of the racing.
Site protected by VNetPublishing.Com Web Security Tools