Sometimes its hard to trust the weather forecast. Why for example is the wind forecast to increase to gusting 26 knots, just for the hour when we are to go racing on a Thursday night…nah! not going to happen. So why when we turn the corner at Blockhouse are there only two other Victorys to join us, Z69 and Z74. Why is Sapristi pitching and rolling and struggling to lay a line at KB… and now you come to mention it, it does seem a bit fresh….
Thursday’s race took place in a very brisk North Easterly, which initially caused the first starting sequence to be aborted as the breeze shifted east with a couple of minutes to go. With the course amended to Suffolk Sails – PSC (x 4) to allow for the delay and the early sunset at 20:07, the three intrepid (or foolhardy) competitors set off up the beat to SS. It was conditions to focus the mind, especially if you were at the front catching the waves. To their surprise, Z54 seemed to pick the right lines and squeeze up on a lift to perfectly lay SS ahead of Z74 and Z69, whose earlier track inshore had not paid. Around SS some rare caution was applied on 54, with the jib goosewinged and no kite in the strong gusts on the very shy dead downwind leg to PSC. Behind, Z74 fought to get a kite up and under control, and 69 also hoisted, all be it some lengths further back. Second surprise of the night, as caution paid, and 54 was able to exercise more control to pick the line dead downwind to best advantage and with control, with enough breeze to overcome the extra sail area advantage on the boats astern. At PSC 54 still had the lead, and there was a repeat of the beat to SS, with 54 holding her position, 74 following and 69 closing the gap. At SS the breeze briefly eased, Z54 first round again ahead of 74 and 69, and this time all boats hoisted kites. The breeze returned, 54 dropped early again to exercise some control into PSC, and rounded just ahead of the chasing boats, but the gap had closed! 74 fell off into 54’s dirty breeze, and freed to start powering through her lee, while 69 held up on the windward quarter trying to gain control. The VHF delivered the shortened course call, final leg, and 74 seized a chance, tacking first for the line. 54 and 69 fatally delayed, and as the wind headed on the starboard tack to PSC Z74 powered out from under the other boats, sailing round the inside of ‘the curve’ as the wind headed, and made it to the line 7 seconds ahead of 54, with 69 a further few seconds back.
Congratulations again to Tom and the Peregrine team, a short but hard race. Thanks to Munch and Jim and Liz, a tricky OOD duty, and thanks to Z54’s crew, Mike and Vicky, who found themselves having to work rather harder then expected! As a reward, the return to the harbour came with lots of cold rain, to wash away the salt and send everyone ashore feeling fresh and happy! ☹.