Thursday, October 13, 2005

PCYC Championship: View From Committee Boat

Peter Hinrichsen had a great vantage point to watch the 4 races for the 4 finalists competing in the PCYC Club championship, the race committee boat. Here is his account:

Although, as Race Officer I had a great view of the racing I do not remember the details very well, but here goes. The course was a double sausage with the start and finish half way up the beat. The boats had to go through the line on every leg. This was designed to keep them together for closer racing, and so I could easily shorten the course, and also not have to move the committee boat. Al Smith of course did the timing etc, Fred Ralet laid the marks with David Lowther, who took pictures and can probably give you a better account of the races.

Of the boats the purple was it appears the fastest while the Turquoise was the slowest. In the first race Rob had the turquoise and realized he had a slow boat so took a flier, which did not pay off. This gave him a 4th, which was his undoing. Had he had a 3rd in that race his two firsts in the third and fourth races would have won him the championship.

The first race was interesting as Jake was leading Brian until the second beat, but then Brian passed him to win. The wind was dropping and we had a deadline to bring the fleet in for lunch by noon, as the kitchen was preparing the closing dinner. We were debating if we should shorten the first race, as the wind was dropping and we wanted to get a second race before lunch, but we let it go until the second run and shortened as they crossed the line on their way to the leeward mark. Had we shortened earlier the result would have been different. Despite a forecast of strong winds the wind had in fact dropped so we sent the fleet in for lunch after the first race.

That turned out to be lucky as the wind had come up and gone from SSW to SW after lunch. It was 15 knots gusting 18 and I nearly thought of making it "white sail (to protect the borrowed gear). In fact the wind settled down at 12 to 15 knots for most of the afternoon and was so steady that I did not even have to move the pin mark. In the second race, Rob had a good lead at the end of the first run but there was a foul up between the spi and jib halyards and he could not hoist the jib and two boats passed him. Jake won with Brian second evening the score.

Between the second and third races the crews has to swap boats on the water and Fred Ralet did a marvelous job of ferrying the crews from boat to boat. I was a little hasty in getting the next race started, as I was worried that the weather may deteriorate, and so Brian was still sorting the spinnaker and made a late start in race three in the turquoise boat! Rob got a good start and lead the race from start to finish, with Jake second and Brian third.

This left the score after three races as Jake 5, Brian 6, Rob 8 and Laird 11. So it was a match race between Jake and Brian, whoever beat the other would win, unless Rob won with Laird second and Brian third. In that case, it would have been a three-way tie, which Rob would win by the tiebreaker last race order. Although Rob quickly established a solid lead, I believe that at the weather mark Jake on port did not quite have enough room to cross Brian, who was on starboard and rounded the mark ahead. This was all it took for Brian to get away, and thus win the championship. Brian had a good second place coming down the first run, with Laird, in the fast Purple boat quickly catching Jake. But then catastrophe, Laird did not go through the line and had to lower the spi, beat back to the line and then re-hoist. This put him too far back to catch Jake and the finishing order was Rob, Brian, Jake and Laird.

The score was a tie with Brian 8, Jake 8, Rob 9 and Laird 15. Jake and Brian had identical positions but the tie-breaker is based on the last race, so Brian won, although Jake should feel good at giving him a good run for it.

Cheers, Peter