Campbell Series Race 5 – Sunday 8 October 2017
A light wind, but rather more than forecast, greeted sailors on arrival, and eleven boats were rigged in the expectation of a reasonable sail. Spring tides had deposited an impressive mudslide on the slipway, and launching the safety boat looked a little challenging: so a perfect opportunity to put Johnny Lyell’s recently-engineered pulley system into action, and the effectiveness of his design was soon apparent; the fleet launched the same way, slower than usual but safely.
Having also hung around for rowers to clear the slipway, we were behind schedule, and with the slipway being in a rather windless zone, a few boats drifted well off the line. The Race Officer then allowed time for them to get a tow over the line; possibly not the right decision.
The fleet set off on a beat in a north north westerly, to sail an A-B-A-C course, all buoys to starboard and on the north bank. Most of the fleet made a good start, with Renato (Laser), Ben & Sina (Albacore) and Allan & Steff (Enterprise) getting a length or two advantage. The first beat was ok, and there were wind shifts to use or miss, but the earlier edge to the wind was disappearing, and the fleet started spreading out early on. The A-B-A sausage on the course was fairly straight-forward, but by the time buoy C was approaching to end the first lap, making the current on a broach reach or run was starting to be a challenge. Renato, led the fleet, making the first lap in 20 minutes, and the back of the fleet rounded some 15 minutes later in an even lighter wind.
On lap two, Renato’s very decent lead was wiped out by a lull, the other front-runners beating down-tide and joining him at mark A. So a race for first position was certainly back on. But with a delayed start, a falling wind and a high tide less than half an hour away, the question was now whether to shorten the four-lap race to three laps, meaning the front runners would get home fine, but leaving the back of the fleet facing a beat against a turned tide in a dismal wind, or to shorten to two laps. None of the fleet seemed to be in decent wind, so the decision was two laps.
As the front-runners passed buoy C to make their way back to the finish line, there was lots to play for, and the helm and crews were assessing whether to position in-shore or, that close to high-tide, to stay out in the hope of more wind. Renato, back with a small lead, stayed close to the north bank, where the tide slackens and turns earlier, and with this paying off, he ‘glued’ his Laser to the wall below the football club to seal a first-on-the-water. Ben & Sina battled it out with Sara (in her refurbished Solo) for second across the line, but taking rather longer to get the last 100m further out in the current. A gust in the last few seconds allowed Sara to pop her bow across the line just in front of the Albacore. Miguel in a Laser hugged the bank to cross the line in a respectable fourth place.
When the handicapped results were in, Sara had pipped Renato for first place, a second win in succession for Sara, and Allan & Steff got third. Well done the Commodore of Vice.
Race Officer’s after-thoughts:
- Should have started the race once all boats were on the water, given launching delays. Apologies for a short race and missing the better wind.
- A few pointers for launching in light wind conditions: Push off in the direction of the line and position your mainsail for the wind direction as you push off, even before. Get under sail, moving in the right direction, before bothering too much about any rigging adjustments or locking the rudder (a small bit of rudder in the water is ok for a minute or two in a light wind, especially downwind). Get across the line before pushing out into the current if at all possible; get comfortably across the line before bothering about the best side of the river for the start. Pumping or paddling your way across the line until the start is perfectly legal until the start gun (this is an SBSC variation to the RYA rule). Hug the bank to pump or paddle against the current effectively; three metres out the current is much stronger; more than that, it’s a hiding to nothing. Watch what early launchers are doing and spot the best approach.
Joe Driver, RO
Results on corrected time:
1 Sara (Solo)
2 Renato (Laser)
3 Allan & Steff (Enterprise)
4 Miguel (Laser)
5 Ben & Sina (Albacore)
6 John & Bob (Enterprise)
7 Amy (Laser)
8 Elaine (Laser)
9 Amanda (Laser)
R Johnny (Laser)
R Jennifer (Laser)
Race Officer: Joe
Safety crew: Digby & João