Thursday Race Report from Geoff Dixon of Z54, Zelia
Thursday Race Report.
An unpromising forecast for both wind and rain may have contributed to only 5 boats making seemingly reluctant progress out to a start line in the vicinity of KB on Thursday. Awaiting them on Rosina was the team from Z75, with a start mark laid and raring to go, all be it with the committee boat at the unfashionable left hand end of the line.
With the westerly breeze coming straight off the Hasler wall, a short beat to PSC was planned followed by runs and beats between VW and the laid mark. Marks to starboard, just to keep us awake.
There was only one place to start, at the right hand end, and Z69 duly did so on the buoy on the gun, followed closely by Z74 and slightly less closely by 54,68 and 70. Opinion immediately differed, with the lead pair pushing out to the SW to the layline while the trailing 3 went right. At PSC little had changed!
Down the run to VW the separation started to appear, with 74 extending a small lead over 69, 54 68 and 70 following with the gaps between all the boats increasing. Over Portsmouth an ominous black cloud was forming, but the sun broke through over Spithead and all was right with the world.
74 and 69 rounded close enough to be worrying each other, and largely went right up the beat to find the flood in the main channel, battling up the edge of the tide. On 54, no amount of shouting and pulling seemed to be effective in getting the jib to stop flapping, and a brief pause was called to reconnect the sail to the sheets. 68 gleefully sailed past and the lead boats got smaller, all be it delightfully lit against the still darkening sky.
No change at the front by the end of the beat, 74 followed by 69. The embarrassed 54 went right to get inside the lift into the laid mark and squeaked around ahead of 68 to regain 3rd. Net..nothing had changed.
Nothing changed on the run to VW either. On the final beat 74 was covering 69, 54 was keeping a careful eye on 68 and 70 had the best view of all of us at the back.
The black cloud was bigger and more ominous. Two thirds up the beat 69 tacked right, 74 immediately covered, and simultaneously the front arrived. The wind promptly shifted 45 degrees right (to be fair exactly as forecast to NW, all be it an hour late). 74 and 69 charged on into the header, seeming oblivious to the reach that the leg had become, until sanity returned and the tacks came. Frantic bearing away across the fleet followed, with much wailing and nashing of teeth as 68 drove through 54s lee before the line
Results are - 74, 69, 68, 54, 70. A cracking evenings racing - the rest of you should come try it!
Thanks to Geoff Dixon for a fantastic race report.
Photo: Ian Perryman.