Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ketchup bloodies the fleet for real in Good Neighbours Series B, Race 3

Toby Jennings, crew of Ambitious, was on a business trip through China and Australia for the race described below. Will he be pleased or jealous that we're doing well despite his absence!? Is Toby's skipper jealous of his competing adventures? Whoah, this is a sailing blog, not a soap opera!

The results from the last race of the PHRF 3 fleet in the Good Neighbours Series B are quite interesting. The race held July 24th started in light winds that strengthened for the last two legs. Quite a few competitors had close, edgy racing.

George Stedman or (Toby on the helm, not sure) and the crew of Ketchup, a Shark, won and led flawlessly for most if not all of the race. Ambitious, our Tanzer 22 held 2nd in the light winds for a good part, but then traded positions with Tof Nicoll-Griffith's Crisis team.

A little getting out of sync with the shifts, and then the wind build up revealed the better strategic skills and boat speed of Crisis, a Shark. Yet both teams had foul-ups, that resulted in exchanges of leading position. Crisis sneaked inside Ambitious on a windward mark rounding but chafed the mark. While removing the pole, and doing a penalty turn, Ambitious regained it's ahead position.

On the final upwind leg, while near the windward mark on the starboard layline, a tangled wrap of genoa and spin sheets around the winch did in the team on Ambitious who worked feverishly to free it, but required two fouled up tacks. Basic lesson: keep the lines clean and stowed! Hyper-feverish labour kept us ahead of the approaching fleet. Crisis, already ahead again, increased its lead, substantial by that time in the building wind.

Ketchup, Crisis, and Ambitious finished 1,2,3 with no possibility of further exchanges. However, excellent battles must have been going on in the fleet. I was concerned about Shelly Dorfman's T22, Goin' Strait, a mere 9 seconds behind at the finish. However, it turns out their focus was on fending off a snarling, biting pack of 4 other boats. Goin' Strait was a little ahead, but not only did they have to fend off T22s but also the Sharks which they had to give time under the respective PHRF handicap ratings. Goin' Strait, did get its 4th, even on corrected time. Don McDonough's team on Kaos beat Peter Rahn's team on Eclipse (both Sharks) by a knife's edge, one second! Less than 2 seconds later, Jake Fichten's crew on Sine Wave, fighting off Chris Paynter's Evergreen (both T22s) crossed the line, followed by the Moore's Mirage 24, Ariel, Beverly Gilbertson's T22, and William Shishakly's Shark which busily sailed short-handed.