First race of 2018

31st March 2018

Having only just been craned in two days ago we were just about ready to sail. We'd rigged everything whilst in the berth but we hadn't yet hoisted the sail properly.

Five cruisers turned out for the first race of the year. A grey day but a decent F3-4 westerly wind, maybe a bit cold. I was pleased to have Georgia with me probably for the only time this year as she's going back to work in Greece shortly.

Leaving the berth about 1015 we decided to set one reef in the main and with some difficulty, it was a bit stiff to haul up, Georgia got it hoisted and set as I held Elsa into the wind mid river. The new engine drove us nicely out of the harbour, it's the same make and model as the old one but it starts properly and sounds a lot smoother!

Race officer Nick had set up a line start off the committee boat. Some of the cruisers were racing with us for the first time and it was good to see them out. Many other regular racers were not coming out for various reasons such as not being fully ready so soon after crane-in.

We were happy in the conditions and nearly shook the reef out but I decided not to bother, more interested in sailing comfortably and not bashing along. Nick ran the usual 5-4-1-0 countdown to the 1100 start. We got ourselves nicely lined up for the start, reaching towards the line on starboard, timed perfectly only to be foiled by Dedicated Dancer coming up closer hauled underneath us and luffing us up as windward boat. We'd have hit the start mark so we had to quickly tack around and do a pirouette before hardening back up behind them. So we ended up crossing the start about 30 seconds later than we intended and cursing loudly!

About half an hours worth of tacking now towards the West mark. We were crossing tacks within hailing distance of new competitor Van Nuys at first but by the time we rounded the mark they were a couple of minutes behind us and we only had Dedicated Dancer ahead. A fairly easy 15 minute reach out to sea and around the South mark, the others were falling a bit further behind which was quite gratifying. Then a long run with a gentle quartering sea following us out to the Outfall buoy, we managed to get Elsa to settle in to a goosewinged configuration and didn't gybe as we wallowed along for a slight dull 40 minutes. The others fell further behind, Dedicated Dancer looked pretty with her spinnaker ahead of us by some margin, helpful though to have someone to follow as I tried to hold the course.

In second place as we gybed around the final mark, we were both a bit cold now but we had the best sail of the day as we set a reach back towards the finish line which was across the harbour entrance. Boats behind us were dim specks in the distance as we made good speed across the line. 1 hr 47 mins elapsed time. The westerly wind was perfect for re-entering under mainsail, I rolled the genoa away and pulled the string to start the motor but left it ticking over in neutral as we sailed back up the river. We were back on the berth by about 1pm.

Georgia's mum Sarah joined us for lunch in the clubhouse, lots of people around, as well as the five boats racing there were many others messing about and getting ready for the season. As we had our 
lunch Nick called out the race results and we cheered ourselves as second place finishers. Excellent day and very pleased!

R1 - 2018-03-31 at 1100

Race officer Nick Clare
Line start, West, South, Outfall, Harbour entrance
Handicap values for Scampi and Van Nuys are provisional
Start: Start 1, Finishes: Elapsed time, Wind dir: W, Ave wind: 17
Dedicated DancerLimbo 6.69943YDavid Robinson0.833 1;18;221;05;171.0
ElsaSeal 22122Alistair Tyrrell0.790 1;47;191;24;472.0
Van NuysPirate Express George Whitehouse0.760 2;05;241;35;183.0
ScampiFour 21 Jonathan Penberthy0.740 2;20;141;43;464.0
AvocetSadler 26 Kerry Trip0.875 DNS 6.0

Scoring codes used

DNSCame to the start area but did not start6

Sailwave Scoring Software 2.19.8


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