Bay Races 3 and 4 – from the deck of Spook
By Tony Eppell
On the 17thMarch we had the running of Bay Races 2 and 3. These took the form of triangle races set by the combined clubs organisers with the assistance of RQ.
The day was particularly light with a north easterly airflow. At the time we were sitting in the middle of two low pressure systems with a vigorous south east change expected later in the day. As it transpires all boats were finished prior to the call in the late afternoon for the RQ dinghy fleets to get back to shore with all haste as the front had hit at the seaway. Northern Gold Coast strangely experienced westerly airflow all day whilst in the bay the northerly pattern hung in.
After the previous race debacle where many of the monos hung around in the start area while a largish mono sat at the windward mark just waiting to tack on the mark and cause unnecessary tacks for some of us, we were hopeful of an uneventful start sequence. Not to be, another of the slow monos, Benedog or Juneau or similar, once again blocked our approach to the line with one minute to go. When I politely enquired as to what he did not understand about the request for all non-starters to stay clear of the starting area for each race, he kindly pointed out the location of the start line to me! What these slow monos just do not understand is that there is a speed differential and whereas they may take 3 minutes to cover the distance to the line, we are likely to take a third of that time so hanging around outside the area they consider what would be their starting area is likely to be inadequate.
Race 1 turned out to be run in fairly predictable wind shifts and Spook’s good tacking ability saw us with a firm lead at the windward mark which was maintained on the two following reaches to the first finish of the day. Kestrel was next up, less than a minute behind, followed by Renaissance another two minutes back. Jag, McMoggy and the Cats Whiskers were spread over two minutes some 5 minutes behind Renaissance. Spook won on OMR from Renaissance whilst Kestrel won Performance Handicap from Spook.
After a long wait for the last mono to finish, Race 4 was more of the same light weather with this time two triangles called. The usual inconsiderate behavior by a small number of the mono fleet resulted in a few discussions but that seems par for the course now.
On the first leg we chose to work the shifts which had proved successful before and were followed in this by Jag and Cats Whiskers.
Renaissance, Kestrel and McMoggy chose basically one long board off the start.It didn’t look good to start with but by the time we fetched the first mark, Renaissance and Kestrel had a five minute break, McMoggy was close whilst we, Jag and Cats Whiskers lamented and wondered what might have been! We proceeded to play catch up then on the remainder of the two triangles which saw us get back to about 4 minutes on Renaissance and less than a minute to Kestrel. McMoggy was 2 ½ minutes back whilst Cats Whiskers was 7 minutes further back. We had relatively minor issues but it makes a big difference on a short race, especially the triangle format. Spare a thought though for Jim Fern who, when approaching the bottom mark, had a large, quick mono claiming buoy room and then T boning Jag, hooking the side stays with the prodder and putting a hole in the windward float. Jim has relatively recently got the boat back in the water from previous damage and must be feeling very cross indeed! Now he is faced with an unnecessary and potentially expensive repair.
The second race was won by Renaissance from Spook on OMR and Renaissance from McMoggy on Performance. We were very glad to be back in before the forecast big blow – there had been a strong wind warning issued the previous day for late in the afternoon – but it had been a beautiful day out on the water, with good results for some and disasters for others.