Thursday, July 05, 2007

Good Neighbours Series 1, last race

John Linton, at right, joined Ambitious for a race recently, since his Tanzer 22 is on the hard, drying out. Left is David Bowen who is also on the Ambitious team.

Last Tuesday was the opener to the 2nd Series of the Good Neighbour racing at BYC and PCYC. My, how summer is flying!

It was a light air night. I know many groan at such conditions, but I love it. It is certainly more kind to the Tanzer 22 (and me) than some boats. The wind was steady enough that the velocity was pretty even and consistent from one moment to the next. There were small oscillations, but for the most part it was pretty steady. Of course, as is common, the evening wind got lighter, on the last leg, making it critical to have your best position secure before suffering slowing boat speed on the last run to the finish. In PHRF racing, the faster boats often finish in stronger wind then the slower ones.

I tried to squeeze “Ambitious” up to the boats to windward of me on the starting line. However, with a mess of sails in the way, we were getting strangled, and the pin was looking tough to make. Fortunately, with a hole appearing about 10 seconds later, we managed a quick jibe on to port and slipped through the fleet to the right side of the course, which I preferred. Almost no other boats meant clean, fast sailing! Pretty soon, others were tacking over too as the wind seemed a little better on the right, or shore side for the first part of the race. For most of the race, Chris Paynter and Jake Fichten’s T22s also seemed to favour the right. Two of the masters, Jake Fichten and Tof Nicoll-Griffith took one-two. It must have been a satisfying night for them. For Jake because he excels in stronger wind and sometimes struggles in the light stuff. For Tof, because he got such remarkable boat speed out of his Shark when it should not have been favoured by lighter winds. I was amazed at Richard and Erica Moore who brought their Mirage 24 across for third place, despite the light air not being kind to that pretty boat. They sailed smoothly and superbly!

We had a fantastic Tanzer 22 duel with Chris Paynter’s Evergreen on the last leg. We had been crossing tacks and trading the ahead position for a while. On the last run, the wind moved more so to one side, and we quickly jibed the chute after launching. Evergreen rounded right after and also jibed. Chris managed to throw mushed up dirty air for quite a while before we could get up and over his chute. Our focus on each other meant the lead boats got a much farther lead, but they were already on their own anyway. Once we sailed into clearer wind ahead, both boats on a beam reach, we then turned down towards the finish. Having held on to the windward position, we were able to maintain that lead to the finish, but it closed to half a boat length to keep it interesting! At the cost of some speed, I sailed down a bit to ensure our competitor wouldn’t have wind to pull ahead. It was a fun, tactical night. Ambitious and her crew, David and Toby were overdue for a better night. We finished 4th out of 12 boats in our class.

Eight boats competed in the miscellaneous centreboard start. It is great to see the interest picking up there. Some of us are shopping around for inexpensive Lasers to join in the fun. If anyone is interested in that, get in touch! 6 Fireballs were out for their race.

12 competed in PHRF 1&2. PCYC has been starting the Etchells separately from the Js and so on in club racing, but for the Good Neighbours series, they are supposed to share the start. They started separately, but were scored together. That must have thrown some for a loop! Glad the RC figured it out. It is no surprise that the different starting procedures would get mixed up.

Nine boats raced White Sail with Special Effects the C&C 41 taking the gun. Helmut Langeder brought his Tanzer 22, Breezin’ in for a brilliant 2nd place, well ahead of most of the fleet. Roy Carter’s classic Alberg 37 was heavily penalized by the light winds, but still managed to finish ahead of others before handicap adjustments.

Once again, another wonderful, summer evening getaway on the water, with plenty of fun competition too.