I went out for an early sail to make sure everything was ship-shape after replacing all the beam bolts - a task that Lois and I only just finished late on Friday afternoon. The water was remarkably clear despite the recent rainfall. The wind was very light but the forecast was for increasing strength late in the afternoon – for most of the race though it didn’t exceed 7 knots. In a nutshell, it was almost perfect weather for the two A Class cats – and not at all favourable for Paul’s Nacra 16 Sq.
After briefing and a bite to eat we hit the water. Rod Nairn and Amelia Richardson were on duty and they set an enjoyable port course. The start was south of Gooseberry Island with a work towards the green Holfuy stick and the wing mark towards the clubhouse.
The big cats started cleanly around 2:24 with Paul struggling a bit for power on the 16Sq in the marginal trapezing conditions. Paul tacked early searching for some wind. Both A Class cats tacked later and Les caught a puff and quickly stretched out a 100m lead rounding the top mark with some of the small cats. On the reach he managed a short burst on the foils before finding a light patch near Berkeley Point.
Alas, Paul’s gamble on the right side didn’t pay off and the wind conspired against him to make it slow going to the top mark. At the wing mark the A’s caught up with the small cat leaders Ralf Steyer and Billy Ledger having a great tussle. At this point a gust took me straight to the bottom mark. After rounding and heading to the right I just escaped a lull that came down the middle of the course. Everyone at the bottom mark was caught up in it - including Les and Paul. And that was the big turning point of the race.
Back on dry land, Paul mentioned being badly thwarted on one work. It seemed no sooner had he tacked on a knock that it would swing back again. He counted 8 tacks on that one work – which would be fine on a dinghy but not on a 2.5m wide cat.
Here are the results...