An evening of contrasts!

Post date: Jul 29, 2015 8:7:6 AM

Tonight’s DBSC racing was full of contrasts for the Fireball fleet that took to the water. The first race was sailed in rain, the second in relative sunshine! The first race was processional, the second race was a tightly fought competition! There were two different winners and one retiree and as a consequence of the weather and four spinnakers of a reddish hue – talk about red sails in the sunset – I struggled to see what went on in the first part of the first race. Again, as per recent weeks, two races were sailed. A heavy downpour just before the start of the first race meant that from my shore-side position the fleet all but disappeared. By the time it passed over one boat had a very comfortable lead. Initially I thought it was Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061), revelling in the harder breeze that the rain shower brought to the course, but as the race progressed I came to the view that it was Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775). Walking back from the East Pier as Stephen Oram and Brian Byrne came ashore, they were able to confirm my latter assumption – Colin & Casey had indeed won. It appears they got breeze on the left hand side of the first beat that Messrs Byrne & Oram didn’t get so that by the first weather mark, even from my vantage point it was a case of race over! As the rain disappeared the wind started to swing to the left so that all that was required for the beat was a hitch leftwards followed by a long port tack approach to the weather mark.

The fleet got spread out very rapidly and there were no “Close Encounters of Any Kind” as a consequence.

The second race saw a huge adjustment of the windward mark for another windward/leeward course. The mark must have been moved 350m inshore of its original position. It had the desired effect as the now four-boat fleet was equally distributed along the start line and shortly thereafter was split 50:50 between an inshore and offshore philosophy for the beat. The two ladies crews of Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) and Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) went offshore, leaving the men and Margaret Casey to see what going inshore would mean. Colin & Casey became the most inshore boat approaching the weather mark and rounded in very close company with Byrne & Oram. McKenna & O’Keeffe, rounded in third place, not far behind them.

The lead two gybed almost immediately onto port and shadowed each other all the way down the run, with Colin & Casey sitting to weather of the other two. McKenna held off for a short distance before gybing while Power sailed even further before committing to the gybe and a port tack approach to the bottom mark. As the leg came to an end, Colin & Casey were still in the weather slot and led Byrne & Oram into the leeward mark, but McKenna & O’Keeffe had closed on the pair of them so all three boats rounded in a bow to transom formation. At this stage the committee boat was on the move to its finishing position off the weather mark.

Again the fleet splits 50:50 with Byrne and Colin tacking immediately to go inshore. McKenna hangs right as does Power when she rounds. This pays for McKenna because when she encounters both Colin & Byrne further up the course she has closed the gap to the extent that she appeared to force Colin into a tack, while Byrne tacks into a weather slot relative to the pair of them. At the mark, Colin appears to slip the noose to round first, followed by Byrne and McKenna. Colin and Byrne stay in close company down the run but neither is too far away from McKenna.

Up the last beat, Colin maintains his lead and when he and Byrne cross tacks late in the leg he is still ahead. But when Byrne tacks onto starboard to make the final approach to the finish line he is ahead of Colin and maintains that position over the short distance to the finish. McKenna closes again, but not enough to deprive Colin of second place.

*This results table is my own assessment of the overall situation and is at odds with what is currently on the DBSC website (10:45pm). It also assumes no discard is in place yet.