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Intergalactic race 3, 2018

A battle of different configurations - in shifty conditions.

We were all hoping for a repeat of the previous Intergalactic stoush, when Paul and Leo rammed the start boat; but no-such-luck this time. Instead, GreyR (previously known as MoreFM) defended the lowest approach nicely, and the fleet swarmed off the start-line with only minimum physical contact (it’s OK, I’m getting used to my skipper using my head/ back/ arrse to ward off upwind boats, and it doesn’t hurt that much).

With the breeze about 10 knots, the foiling boats were evenly matched all the way up the harbour – giving an interesting comparison of small sail/ low drag vs max power/ more drag. However, given the closeness of the pack, a max muppetry woeful tack saw GreyR go from first to last in a heartbeat. In contrast, Merde fluked a high speed tack in a wee gust on a favourable windshift to pull about 20 m ahead. And the rich got richer from there, with the usually merde Merde picking the better breeze and staying well powered all the way to the top mark.

So, the foiling boats have all been experimenting with rudder angle of attack this season – with the simplest, static, method on our boat giving both more consistent downwind speeds and fewer porpoise launches. However, the fancier readily adjustable systems led to a few dynamic stability issues today, with one boat bearing off downwind mid-tack and another getting a semi-mine wash-down in a gybe

There were different sailing styles on display downwind also, from the flat and steady GreyFM, to the cranked to windward smooth Virtual, to the wildly oscillating Merde, whose crashing flight resembled that of a mortally wounded duck. And they then gybed too late and overstood the mark…. Thus Merde’s comfortable lead was severely eroded, and the fleet re-swarmed toward the first bottom mark rounding.

Now, a great thing about development classes is all the different configurations that can be seen and tested. But you’d need to be soft in the head to rig a storm jib (nameless twits) or put in a main-reef (nameless twits2) in on a sub 10 knot day. And the wind was lightening and getting shifty for the second windward leg… Yip, it was a day where it paid to rig late: The full rig on Merde enabled her to foil firstest/ pull out of transitions fastest, maintain higher angles and glide through the holes, and so have a country mile lead at the last top mark. The battle for 2nd and 3rd turned into a “foiling but pointing low” vs “displacement at normal angles” tussle, with the wiley GreyR pair switching modes more effectively and waggling a minor comeback

The surprisingly un-merde Merde was able to crank the apparent wind way forward and lay in a scorching and low downhill run. A short uphill and two snappy tacks to the finish delivered a commanding, whole leg, win to the magnificent (= the least twit-form today) Merde. Steve and Tone bagged the bridesmaid spot - for the 3rd time this series, and theVirtual (Jess and Paul) overcame kite halyard dramas to slot third.