racing report for 9/2/2002
First weekend after the leander, and there was a good turnout of boats and some reshuffled crews for club racing. Chemical Weapon, Montana Bakery, Subwoofer, Liquid and Pork Sword showing up. Tim Allan, of Meridian fame, steered Montana, and Doug off Custard Square sailed with Lance on Pork Sword. Just to spite Wellington's lack of wind, Lyttelton put on some wetsuit-soiling conditions. A fearsome Northeast, about 28 knots and some big seas.
An unpickable start-sequence, due to some happy hootering in the start-box meant no-one actually knew when we were starting. We were sitting on the line on Port, after one of the many hoots, saw everyone else was starting, so we took off too. Fortunately we had picked it brilliantly, could lay the top mark, and lead everyone around it, closely followed by Chemical Weapon. It was way too tight to lay the next mark, so it was a fast two-sail reach across the harbour. The Weapon ducked under us, and blasted through our lee and away with some wicked speed to have a nice lead by the bottom. We had a wee whoopsie on the tack after the mark to give them a bit more of a buffer. We righted the boat quickly and looked around to see our chasers, but they were not to be seen. We looked back up the previous leg to see a trail or carnage. All three of the other boats had capsized, and were still upside down, or in the process of righting themselves. Subwoofer had managed a nice two-sail mine, and in the ensuing cartwheel, had put both crew and steerer through the same hole in the jib. Points for style, but they had to retire, with the jib ripped in twain, and the crew Jason's ankle a bit mushy where Paul had landed on it.
It was a two boat race at the front, it was just a matter of holding it all together in the fresh conditions. We decided to be conservative, we just needed not to capsize. Unfortunately, the first thing we did after hoisting the kite was capsize. Bugger, pull the kite in, eskimo-roll the boat, pull it up and get underway, hoist, shit we're on the layline, gybe, then we can get going. Fortunately, the weapon capsized during their gybe, so we are still in touch. They two-sailed the last bit, so we are catching at great speed. We round just behind, so its all on again this leg. Another one-tack beat, the weapon is lower and faster, about the same VMG. They swim after the top mark, allowing us through. A cautious downwind, no swims and we have a nice lead at the bottom. Montana is swimming around the bottom, allowing us to lap them, although they showed good speed, and caught up heaps on this upwind. Weapon swims up the beat, so we have heaps of breathing space, just need to hold it together. A two-sail reach across the harbour, then a catious bearaway around the mark, which has drifted down quite close to the lighthouse. A nice downwind, but gets hairy in some big seas around the reef, so I need to throttle back heaps. No mistakes, so a big lead around the bottom, and up to the finish. We look back to see The Weapon limping home. The rudder gudgeons had cracked jumping off a big wave. Montana had given up and were off twinning down the harbour, having a play. Pork Sword had given up and gone in long ago, so it was just us. No-one else was there to play with for the second race, so we went to have a blast on our own. Great fun. Had some huge pace on at times, but needed to throttle back a lot to stop cartwheeling off the bigger waves.