QCYC Winter Series: Races 3 & 4 from the deck of Frequentflyer
By Chris Wren
Races 3 and 4 were sailed in near perfect, sunny but cool conditions (a perfect Melbourne summer day) with gusty offshore winds of around 15 knots and some stronger bullets belting through.
What a contrast from race 1 of the series which was a drifter where Peter Hackett manufactured his own bit of breeze to clean up the field. Some unkind people said that Peter generates his own air by constantly talking! Fortunately race 2 on the same day as race 1, was cancelled due to a lack of wind. With a trip back to RQYS, we were pleased not to have to wait around for the monohulls to finish. I am probably being impolite, but while they have fun, it does take them longer to sail the course.
QCYC course 2 was used for race 3 and 4 with a start near the channel to QCYC/Cabbage Tree, a close reach out to Fisheries, and to Otter Rock, a beat back to the start, Otter Rock again, another beat to the start, a run to Fisheries and back to the finish/start line. The offshore breeze was all over the place and accordingly there was little to be gained by playing the shifts but it was important to always be sailing into a good line of breeze.
Downwind starts are always interesting and there was a variety of tactics used. Some chose the leeward end of the line, while others the boat end, which was ok as the leg was fairly tight. Between the ends of the line, the boats were spread fairly evenly, so there were no close calls that we were aware of. Most got away well but Turning Point was late for the line (Zebb was probably occupied with his new family duties, changing a few nappies before the start) and did not finish, due to new synthetic stays stretching to the point that the rig was canting precariously to leeward and needed re-tensioning . We however kept expecting to see that beautiful boat come flying past.
We headed for the boat end and got away on time with the code zero flying. It let us round Fisheries just behind Boss Racing and enjoy a gusty reach under code zero to Otter Rock. The bullets did not seem to bother the larger boats but had us fly out of the water at one stage with all sheets eased, perfectly under control of course. With their large spinnaker Boss Racing had to sail to a more leeward course than us and with a few headers, eventually had to drop their kite but came into the mark on a very fast angle. It was impressive to see Boss flying across our bows. We had enough to worry about passing some of the monohulls that started 10 minutes before us. One boat was using its spinnaker as a sea anchor and while not doing the sail any good or speed, it seemed to be under control. What a pity Andrew Turner, who sailed with us on Frequentflyer, could not drop off a business card to him as we went by giving them a wide berth. Frequentflyer made up some ground on Boss Racing on the beat but not enough to challenge Boss for line honours. Boss Racing finished 2 minutes, 50 seconds ahead of Frequentflyer, not enough to win on handicap or OMR. Boom sailed well without any voice assistance to finish about 12 minutes behind Frequentflyer and Renaissance was just 19 seconds back followed by On Top. Importantly the OMR results saw Frequentflyer 1st, Renaissance 2nd and Spook 3rd. Peter Hackett needs to have his boat measured so it can be rated, as Boom came 4th on performance handicap despite having to drop his screecher when the wind picked up.
Race 4 saw a very different start, with the leeward end being clearly favoured as the first leg was a relatively square run. Boom got off the line in a good position and sailed on a port tack first into good breeze and jibe to round Fisheries well placed. Boss Racingwent south on starboard first, along with most of the fleet including Renaissance. Frequentflyer was late off the start having had all the lunch period to prepare but obviously not well enough. While Zebb in Turning Point, used the time between the races to re-tension the forestay and shrouds, was obviously over keen to correct the Race 3 result, broke the start and had to go back and start again.
On the first reach to Otter Rock, Boss Racing used a screecher, as did most of the boats. Frequentflyer passed Boom on this leg. Peter was still talking about something, probably worried about Frequentflyer landing on top of Boom. With a mono rounding the mark, Frequentflyer furled the code zero early and took the mark wide to see Renaissance, with better sail handling, hold onto their screecher longer flying up behind (Actually not a screecher but our new Quantum reaching kite and it is fast MH). It was great to see the big boat flying along. The 10 boats stretched out over the course on each leg, with Turning Point sailing through the fleet to pass Frequentflyer on the second beat. Boss Racingfinished first approximately 3 minutes ahead of Turning Point which just did not have enough time to catch the larger boat. Frequentflyer was 1 minute 24 seconds behind Turning Point and had some excitement on the finish line with Renaissance and Hasta La Vista flying past to round the start/finish mark just to windward of the finish line. Frequentflyer had to round up cross the line and ease off immediately so as not to force the two close boats to overshoot the mark. As it turned out Frequentflyer would have done Renaissance a favour if it had forced its rights, as Renaissance neatly put a hull each side of the mark and had to re-round, allowing Hasta La Vista to slip through and finish 4th approximately 10 minutes after Frequentflyer. On OMR, Frequentflyer won, Renaissance was second completing a very consistent performance on the day and showing that large boats can sail short courses well, Hasta La Vista was third and Boss Racing again finished fourth.
It was a good and consistent result for Frequentflyer, due to a hard working crew including Geoff Cruse who called the shots, a wounded Kriss Dellit who carried on regardless and Andrew Turner who guest starred. We all enjoyed the day and returned to RQYS before nightfall doing an easy and leisurely 17 knots almost all the way, after topping out at 19.9 knots during the races.
While QCYC has not published OMR results yet, the MYCQ results for the Bay Series are on the MYCQ website and has Renaissance 1st, rewarding a consistent and regular performer, Frequentflyer is second with Boss Racing and Hasta La Vista tied on third, followed by Spook, and the remaining boats suffering from sailing a limited number of races including The Cats Whiskers, Fantasia, McMoggy, Attitude, New Horizons and Rushour.
The overall performance handicap results for the QCYC Winter Series after three completed races are: 1st Frequentflyer, 2nd Boom, 3rd Boss Racing, 4th Hasta La Vista, 5th On Top, 6th New Horizons, 7th Aquilo One, 8th Turning Point, 9th Midnight Rain and 10th Jacana.