Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Knickerbocker Cup: Third Time Lucky for Waka Racing

The WAKA Racing boys with the Knickerbocker Cup. Supplied image.

by Garth Ellingham

The final day dawned on us in New York and we were all a little cautious as what to expect. The forecast was dim with little wind forecasted and for us that was a very bad thing. After our disappointing loss yesterday in the first race of the Semi the equation was simple WE HAD TO RACE.

We arrived at Manhasset Bay to the sight of a mill pond, which was not a good sign for us. However this did not get us down. We knew at some stage there would be enough wind to at least get one race off but that would probably be in the morning before it got too hot. So we just had to be out there ready to go and hope that the Race Committee fired the gun to send us off on our way.

Sure enough at around 10am a light breeze filled in from a similar direction as the previous days. It was not very stable but at this stage we could not afford to be fussy, we just needed a race. After a couple of attempts we finally got into the prestart.

It wasn’t plain sailing here as we were entering from the unfavoured Port side of the start line. Coupled with a very short start line, and little wind it is often very difficult to get out of trouble as your opponent entering on Starboard is in a very strong position. We identified this as a problem before we started and really focused hard on keeping our speed on during the start so that we couldn’t get trapped. We did this well and did a great job of winning the start with Will actually crashing into the back of us right on the starting gun, resulting in penalty going on him. From here on it was a very tricky race with little wind. We decided to stick very close to him as all we had to do was be near so that he couldn’t do his penalty turn. This resulted in some very tight racing with a number of lead changes. However we kept our cool and our plan worked with Will leading over the finish line but not able to get far enough ahead to offload his penalty.

By the end of this race the wind had completely died again but now we knew if there was no further racing we would win as the count back looks back at who top qualified from the Round Robin (us). This was something as a team we had talked about before this regatta started. We identified with the unpredictable winds that we have experienced here every year we have done this event, that doing well in the Round Robin was vital. As chances are that some where along the line the wind would die and the count back system would be used.

As it turned out we were right with the temperature really increasing and the opportunity for racing looking impossible. The Race Committee had no choice but to abandon racing at the cut off time of 3:30pm. This meant after 3 attempts at this regatta we had finally won the Knickerbocker Cup. It was definitely not the way we wanted to win but after a tough month of hard knocks if felt good for something to go our way.

Next up for the boys is a month long break before we head to the famous WMRT Bermuda Gold Cup in October.

Waka Racing
Knickerbocker Cup