Friday, June 13, 2008
Two Fireball teams showed remarkable skill completing last Tuesday's race in big wind. This pic is from the Fireball 2008 World Championship in Thailand and was posted by Joe Jospe on the Fireball website. It is of Rob Levy and Stephen Waldie. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing.
Race #2 of the series was canceled due to no wind. I was doing race committee, and was a little concerned that a wispy wind might arise with a fluky directionless character. After the first race's travails, I didn't want to suffer as the previous race committee and racers had. However, with the able David Speak on board, I didn't worry too much. A light wind did touch down in an isolated area, but around 7:15 we sounded for a cancellation. Sure enough, as we got back to harbour sometime later, a very, very light breeze filled in. However, though a race might have been possible, we figured it would have finished in the dark for many of the sailors. The cancellation seemed like the right call.
Race #3 turned out to be very different. It looked like a very nice easy wind, and a civilized race would be in store for the evening race last Tuesday. A major blow had passed through in the afternoon, blowing three tractor-trailor trucks over on their sides on the Champlain Bridge, but then subsided. I was on shore atop the BYC hill observing as my Shark is finally in the water, but now I'm working on rigging.
The starts went off without a hitch , and the boats had a good first leg. PHRF 1&2, and White Sail got off clean. In PHRF 3, two Sharks led the windward drive, but 3 Tanzer 22s and a Mirage 24 were still within potential striking distance. By the time they were rounding the windward mark and popping chutes, it became apparent the conditions were changing. Two Fireballs and a 470 started next.
The wind picked up dramatically, and within a short time was a full blow. It was quite a ride for many. The overpowered 470 wisely retired, but amazingly the two Fireballs, I believe Levy and Jospe finished the course. In PHRF 1&2 a huge upset, Moonraker, the Niagara 26 finished 1st in corrected time, beating the entire Etchells fleet! Clearly, Moonraker can kill in the big wind. The top three Etchells were skippered by Jasmin, Litee, and Steffen. Kudos to Austen who before the race, anticipated the possible big wind, and unlike the other T22s put up his #3 working jib. He indeed not only finished but won the white sail race. Capricorn, the Alberg 37 took 2nd, ahead of a Grampian 26. Not sure which of the BYC Grampians it was. Jon Austen said he had a blast in the heavy air with his favoured jib. In PHRF 3, all three Tanzer 22s were flying their big #1 genoas and retired from the race. Before doing so, Linton's T22 had to release their spinnaker to avoid a wipe-out. Paynter's T22 lost a genoa block, and couldn't competitively control the sail. Gilbertson's T22 was missed upon return to BYC harbour. It turned out her motor had failed, and she had sailed to the visitor's dock. Ariel, the Mirage 24 also retired. That left the 2 Sharks, Ketchup, and VO2 Max hurtling around the course. There were respectful comments regarding "Spiderman" and his crew, Toby and Jen, on Ketchup increasing their lead when the winds went from medium to heavy velocities to take the gun.