Tuesday, 28 August 2012
Bank Holiday Monday Pursuit race
So as it turned out, I didn't sail on Sunday this week due to the wind looking better on the Bank Holiday Monday.
On the plus side, the pursuit race on the Monday was pretty good, not as windy as the bushes promised but still quite interesting. JR had set a course which didn't suit Fireballs or assyms, but which probably worked well for Lasers and Solos. And we were faced with trying to keep up with Martyn and Richard in Pete's boat (fat chance) and Peter and Mike (who are also pretty damn fast).
Off the start line then, having been slightly frightened by ex-fleet-captain Richard in the moments before the gun, and it was pretty clear that Martyn and Richard were going upwind about 15 degrees higher and just as fast as us, while Peter & Mike were going about the same direction and speed. Up at the top mark 'Y' we were 3rd, Martyn dropped the mainsheet and the crew at that point but still got around in front of everyone and we all set off down to 'X' with kites up, in spite of it being a bit too close.
Now I *think* it was that first lap where we overtook Peter & Mike, and a Fred and an RS300 at 'X', I know we then spent the rest of the race getting in Peter & Mike's way so I guess it was there that we got started. So a beat up to 'OL', where Martyn got away a bit, then a close reach to 'B' where we flew our kites to good effect, then a long reach to 'S', also with kites and much mucking about and luffing up of the opposition. Then a beat to 'T' offering unrivalled opportunities to sit on Peter & Mike's wind, and a decent reach back to 'D' where we luffed them up a lot before starting the next lap.
We repeated this process for another couple of laps, occasionally changing positions and overtaking other stuff as we went, until we eventually dropped Peter & Mike out the back by virtue of a lucky gust, and could finally start racing for maximum speed rather than maximum disruption. By this time I was knackered from all the luffing, covering and close manoeuvres, and was also expecting to find that we'd wasted so much time defeating Peter that we wouldn't get a sniff of the chocolates. But no, the race carried on, and we eventually overtook the leading gaggle of Lasers and Laser 2000, and set our sights on Steve Irish & Phil Walker in the RS200. They go quite fast on those shy reaches where the Fireball struggles to carry the kite, but we left ours in the bag for a windy leg to 'B' and got past them on the way, then hoisted ours and set off to 'S' with the RS200 and Peter and Mike in hot pursuit.
It is a measure of the speed of a well sailed RS200 that it stayed with us all the way to 'S', chased us up the beat to 'T', and was still not massively further behind when we were finished halfway to 'D'.
Final score, Martyn & Richard 1st, Me & Paul 2nd, Steve & Phil 3rd, Peter & Mike 4th. Ex-fleet-captain Richard apparently had a few swims, and wasn't in the chocolates at all. Overall verdict, a nice chunk of Fireball fleet racing, with a bit of pursuit race thrown in at the end :-)
Next Sunday I'm back in the fleet boat, which will hopefully be finished and fully working by the end of it.