Yesterday (5th May) was by far and away the warmest day so far this year for WS Racers sailing at Chipstead and we had sufficient wind for 12 entrants in Race # 2 to cover 6 laps of the course. The Start Line was between the Committee Boat and Mark C with the first leg being a beat into the SW breeze to the windward Mark K, which had been moved out into the lake to mitigate the effect of a possible wind shadow formed by the Clubhouse and high ground beside it. Mark K was to be rounded to Starboard before starting the second leg which was a run to the downwind Mark B which was also to be rounded to Starboard. After gybing round Mark B, there was a reach across to complete the lap by tacking round Mark C.
Being only the second race of the 2016 season, it is not surprising that the procedure to START the Race still seemed to take many of the 303 and Liberty helms by surprise. Well done to the 2.4s and Martin helms who were quickly over the start line, despite having to contend with the early leaders bearing down upon Mark C on a starboard tack.
Ed. We are planning to find time for a briefing before races to CONFIRM helms’ knowledge of the course (which will have been put up of the Clubhouse Race Board by 1030) and to answer any other questions about the Race, including the Starting Procedure. Also, this week the Race Control Boat was not stationary and this made matters difficult for all the helms to judge exactly the position of the Start Line. We plan to rectify this by either anchoring the Race Control Boat or using a clearly visible buoy as a Distance Marker .
KEY LEARNING POINT #1: The first fleet class (303 Double Handed) to start are told by a WHISTLE BLAST EXACTLY 5,4 and 1 minutes before their start time. Therefore the helms should use that time to work out how long it will take them to sail the last, say, 50 meters to the START LINE and use that information to decide how many seconds BEFORE their KNOWN start time to start sailing along their chosen tack up to the Start Line. The wind will change in strength and direction during those 5 minutes and that is part of the challenge. Ed. Next week please experiment. Give it a go, instead of hanging back away from the Start Line and waiting for the boat in front of or beside you to make a move which you then follow.
KEY LEARNING POINT #2: For fleet classes 303 Single Handed and Liberty, all the helms need to REMEMBER (and then countdown) is the DELAY after the 303 Double Handed have started. That is 1 minute for 303 Single Handed and 2 minutes (or 3 mins for 40 minute races) for Liberty .
KEY LEARNING POINT #3: The 2.4 and Martin Classes should stay well clear of the Start Line whilst the 303s and Liberty fleets start since 2.4 and Martin Classes, being delayed 7 and 8 mins after the Liberty start, have their own 5-4-1 countdown.
Once all the boats got away, the course provided a tough sailing challenge, especially with the high number of boats racing and trying to round Marks at the same time, and also with the variable wind – both its direction, swinging between SE and SW, and its strength, from a lull to 15 knot squalls. And, as can be seen from the schematic below, there was lots of catching up, overtaking and then being overtaken, going on throughout the 40 minute race. All in all everybody had a good day on the water and the standards already being set bode well for the season.
1. Peter G 2. Mike B 3. David 4.Kim 5. Ann 6. Paul 7. Fay 8. Peter W 9. Mark 10. Bob 11. Brian 12. Steve