Apollo Bay Sailing Club
Sat. 11 January 2020
One of the beautiful things about sailing is that no matter how much you try to even out the chances of doing well the playing surface will always be the unknown factor. Dealing with those changes is of course a big part of the secret of sailing well. The ability to make quick calculations on changing wind direction and strength, assessing changing sea conditions (both tide and swell) and resetting the boat all play a huge part in the end result. But….. trying to bring a rational mind to these problems only gets you so far down the track. It has to be a mix of both knowledge based decision making and instinctual action, as far as I can see.
Every season is different, and they often have a defining quality. I know we are not quite halfway through but as it stands this year could be known for all the ‘above’ predicted wind we have had.
Saturday again was predicted to be between 15- 20 knts. But as has happened more often than not this year, by race start, it was gusting over 20 and would by days end be recorded at over 30.
For the small boats anything over 25 knts is more than their sails can pretty much handle. They spend a bit of their time just holding position as the stronger gusts back off a little and the connection of air flow between the jib (front) and the main sail is reestablished. But for the big boats it is a slightly different story as they are able to reef (shorten) their sails to better advantage as the wind gets stronger. They can also use the righting moment (balance between sails and keel) to produce speed and pointing. Of course, the loads on a 30 to 40 ft boat are enormous and sailing them in anything over 20 is never for the faint hearted. Just ask the crew of 10+1 as they tried to winch in the jib only to tear out the clew (rear corner of the sail). Now that takes some doing!
As for the race, it was a lively affair, nicely managed by the Boheme crew. A 700mtr port windward return, with a hitch mark at the top (set square off the top mark at about 50mts that all boats must round to stop upwind and downwind boats getting too tangled up). And a gate at the bottom to allow for either a port or starboard rounding.
With only 5 starters there was plenty of room as boats crossed over each other. As mentioned the wind freshened which took its toll on 10+1’s jib and saw Quickmatch retire with a sick crewmember (nothing serious) but they both had some spectacular moments before retiring. That left only three boats on the course. Two flying fifteens battled hard but with Euffamism trying to find a fast reach back to the first top mark, and getting it quite wrong, it was April Dancer that completed the first up and down a hundred mtrs ahead. Bruce and Geraldine have sailed consistently well in the strong winds this year and this was another strongly sailed race.
And with the two other contenders (more like “pretenders) knocked out Interlude dug her rails in and bashed and crashed her way around the buoys. John, Bruce and Laurie did not look overly concerned about the conditions as the fiesty little Duncanson 28 wove her way through a few wind shifts, once more proving her seaworthiness. Also proving that it would take more than a little wind and sea water over the gunnels to wash those three salt encrusted old barnacles off!
|H/C Champ||Dinghy YS||Keelboat YS|