Class 1 report by Aaron Goodman-Simpson. Class 2 report by a shy contributor who wishes to remain anonymous.
Results at sailwave.com
The 4th Cruiser Class Spring Series took place on Sunday 14th May, with the race team on Fleet (Offshore 1) laying on a Westerly 9-14 knots and a low tide at 09:50. They set a multi-leg course involving 10 buoys, to keep crews awake and challenged.
The start at buoy 25 was clean with Hellaby (1/4 tonner) in the leading bunch and Full Tilt (Arcona 40) and Reefer x (X-99) left in the pack. At the first windward mark (buoy 29) the order was L’Autre Femme (J/105), Hellaby, Full Tilt and the two consistent performing Delhers, Valkyrie and Zephyros. Reefer x rounded just behind this bunch – suddenly realising that they had set the spinnaker gear for the wrong gybe!
The solution was to grab the kite “freestyle” and chuck it out the front to get that small issue resolved. Once the spinnaker was set, Reefer x started to make gains against the leading bunch, which was now being led by Full Tilt and Hellaby.
By buoy 17 Full Tilt lead, with Reefer x just ahead of Hellaby and the rest of the pack. On the leg up to buoy 13, Full Tilt had set her Code Zero and pulled steadily away from Reefer x, who in turn was starting to pull away from the indecently fast 1/4 tonner. Is she really only 26 feet long? 😉
At buoy 13 it was a gybe onto a starboard run with Full Tilt a long way in the lead. They dropped the Code Zero at Stangate with some apparent difficulty, deciding to head into Stangate Creek on starboard and onto the mud!
Reefer x did an early drop and tack around Stangate, in order to beat back up to buoy 12 with “Dick Dastardly” grins on the rail due to Full Tilt’s exploits in running aground. Alas Reefer x then threw away their ill-gotten gains by rounding the buoy the wrong way!
They were corrected when they saw the chasing L’Autre Femme round no. 12 the right way, followed by Hellaby and The Works (Projection 762).
By this time Full Tilt had resorted to the iron thumper and retired, which is always sad to see. They will be raring to go on race 5!
What followed next was contentious, with a three boat squeeze on Reefer x, with The Works to the right and nearer the south shore and Hellaby to the left, all running dead downwind. The full facts may be subject to an “educational” dummy protest between Reefer x and Hellaby in the future, involving three boats, claims of water and three anoraks in kayaks. Unusual scenario.
Either way – Reefer x dropped its kite and did a very slow 720 (need to practice this I think) and her race was lost. Only saving grace was the long upwind to the finish by buoy 29, during which a lot of lost ground was recovered.
Special mention should go to Roger and Julie in Sulis (Dealer 35 CWS) for competing the very demanding course two-handed. They must have worked hard! Also a mention to the Delhers Valkyrie and Zephyros, who both seem to be sailing very fast this series.
Sunday 22nd May is the last race of the Spring Series, with key scores to settle throughout Class 1, from the leading boats to the middle order of the fleet. Reefer x will have to RTFM and raise their game and Full Tilt will have to keep clear of the mud.
There are only 4 boats in division 2 but that does not take away from the close racing that they achieve. All boats got a good start, and this time Petite Fleur (Ecume de Mer) managed to start without a fire on board. This should serve as a warning to all sailors not to leave the oven on after heating up your pasties.
The three leading boats rounded 29 with Petite Fleur in the lead followed by Suntrek (Westerly GK24) and then Tender Touch (Hunter 27 OOD) who is often out of touch with the leaders – but this was to change today.
As the chutes went up Tender Touch (with 2 crew) overtook Suntrek and was hot on the heels of Petite Fleur. As the two boats approached buoy 20 there was much shouting for water. Tender Touch misunderstood and thought they were on fire again. The offer of the fire extinguisher was declined in a somewhat forceful way!
But as natural justice would have it Tender Touch lead around mark 13 .
Petite Fleur then went around Stangate Spit first in spite of running over their spinnaker lines. Tender Touch was in no danger of doing the same foolish thing, as they couldn’t get their pole on after the gybe and so their kite was flying all by itself straight out .
The reader may by this time be wondering about Suntrek some half a mile behind. They subsequently fought a brilliant upwind struggle to haul in Tender Touch and cross the line in 2nd place. Petite Fleur was the victor while Quiet Air (Sonata) unfortunately retired.