Sunday, 31 May 2009
Start of the first fleet race. The calm before the storm... Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC44 Class Association.
by Paul Cayard
The Ceeref team had a great day today, winning the day with a 2nd and a 1st place in the fleet racing. The conditions were fairly windy and very shifty.
With owner Igor Lah at the helm, we got off the line well in both races. We fell a bit behind on the first leg of the first race as Artemis took control. We managed a good comeback on the second windward leg and final run to finish second.
In the second race, the wind was building. We started in 15 knots. The wind was shifting from 270 to 300 every three minutes. It wasn't the same over the course. Very tricky! We had a good start and played the first few shifts off the line. By the first windward mark we had a 100 yard lead. Artemis was looking good again up half way up the beat but got too far left and rounded about 5th.
We got a nice puff and extended down the run. At the bottom of the run, a strong gust came through.... about 35 knots. We had just gotten around the bottom mark and were going up wind as BMW Oracle and Artemis were coming downwind straight at us, pretty much out of control. I thought they were going to hit us and told our guest to get ready to avoid them. They both missed us and both broached. There was carnage all over the place. Gennakers flagging, boats on their side, etc.
We, and the fleet, managed to sail the second windward leg with way too much sail up. The wind shifted hard to the right as this front passed very quickly and the final run was a 2 sail reach in 30 knots of wind. The boat was going 21 knots! Igor did a great job of keeping the boat under control. Igor has only been sailing for two years and clearly doesn't know everything about the sport. But it was very clear to me that he had a great feel for "balance" and he instinctively sailed the boat to the right heel angle. This is a hard thing to teach someone but Igor seems to have that inside him.
The wind died after that front went through, then we had plenty of rain. After that it went clam and then we were told of another squall coming and ordered to the moorings. We just got to the moorings when the next line of squally hit. Lightning and hail. The call came, "Let's just scrape the snow off the jib before we put her down below." Mate, I don't thing I have heard that call in a long time.
Tomorrow we will have a bit of an earlier start and hope to get about 5 or 6 races in.
I haven't seen the scores but I know we won the day and Artemis was second with a 1, 4.