BIG TUESDAY - Day 2 - 2010 F11 Nationals

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1355 Ninja Nina Long & Pia Doyle B16'SC
1355 Ninja Nina Long & Pia Doyle B16'SC
David Price, TYC Beauty Pt TAS, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The overcast conditions of race day no.2 of the 2010 F11 Nationals in the morning of a a tranquil glass finish to the river surface did not show any signs of what was to come on BIG TUESDAY......

Tuesday 12th January 2010, Tamar Yacht Club, Beauty Point, Tasmania

 The overcast conditions of race day no.2 of the 2010 F11 Nationals in the morning began with a tranquil glass finish to the river surface, and a protest to be heard from the previous day. The boat park slowly filled with sailors and fathers tinkering about with their rigging, and with various discussions on a rather interesting first race the day before.

By 1130 hours, nearly all crews were at the club and the chairman of the Race Committee Iain Murray began the official activities by conducting an informative analysis of the various racing start flags and options available to a race committee.  Obviously, there was a good deal of interest leading from Sunday and Monday’s Black Flag starts, as well as the introduction to many young sailors of the Z Flag and Rule 30.2. This was also an opportunity to present the winning crews of the first two day’s racing with their individual race prizes and a lucky dip of four Gill gift vouchers which went down rather well with the successful recipients.

As the time to hit the water approached, the breeze began to fill in nicely, indicating we would be likely to conduct two races in the afternoon with a bit of luck, unlike the previous day where the second race attempt had to be scrubbed.

The start boat was recording a true and building breeze at 320deg consistently for an hour prior to the scheduled start at 1330 hours, and all looked very promising for sailors and officials alike.

Perhaps we should never feel too snug about such things as by the time the scheduled start time had arrived, things inevitably began to change and the committee start boats up-anchored to comply with the now shifting wind and a rapidly increasing intensity. It would tease the RO Hugh Leicester and his team for over half an hour. A quick call to the local weather monitors at BOM also relayed a wind warning for damaging winds was headed our way. All fun stuff when you are trying to get a good start away – on time, and a true and fair line.

After much adjustment to the conditions, the RO was ready to go when the first wave of pressure arrived, white caps and spray immediately the meal of the day for the young fleet. Big smiles emerged on the faces of the majority of crews, adjusting to the new conditions with great zeal.

An attempt to get the fleet off before the line before the pressure arrive was not to be with a big shift in wind direction resulting in a postponement signal from the committee start boat. The subsequent start of race 2 at 1412 hours in an average 22kts was spectacular, speed and spray creating an electrifying show for the many spectator craft assembled at the pin end of the start line. The breeze kept building as the initial minutes sped by, water now lifting off the rapidly increasing turmoil atop the big river’s surface.

The fleet split to both sides of the course up the first work, most able to accommodate the increasing wind and seaway with the current running hard out to seas forcing a very short and sharp chop to deal with. There were a number of capsizes from a few of the more inexperienced crews and by the time the boats from both sides came together, 1336 Hydromatic Matt Stenta and Bradley Leicester M16’SSC had a five boat length lead from 1355 Ninja Nina Long and Pia Doyle B16’SC, 1340 Xlr8 Murray Jones and Harry Morton B16’SC, 1378 Slick Nick Williams and Chris Holmes M16’SSC, 1305 Lethal Blonde Chris Faye and Emma Knighton B16’SC and 1364 A Little Psycho Angela Bates and Simon Boardman CSC.

1336 Hydromatic were able to set their spinnaker where others were unable to due to the 24 knot winds coupled with a very turbulent wave pattern. Unfortunately for Matt and Chris, they headed off to the leeward mark instead of the wing mark, leading a number of boats down  with them until they realised their error and turned for the correct mark way off to the right.

The rest of the fleet were absolutely screaming out to the wing mark riding sizable waves, albeit most without spinnakers on a very high reach. Down the second reach, a number of crews braved the rough conditions and managed to set their spinnakers, but inevitably came unstuck at various stages before washing down to the leeward mark. No position was safe or held for long and anything was achievable if they could just ride it out.

After some very quick recoveries, the fleet battled their way back up to the top mark again with 1305 Lethal Blonde now leading the pack with many changes to positions from the previous rounding.

Again 1336 Hydromatic had their kite up for most of the downwind leg until a capsize near the bottom rule out their sniff back at the lead. 1305 Lethal Blonde rounded the leeward mark first, followed by 1355 Ninja then 1374 Fired Up Nat Greentree and Harry Price M16’SSC who had managed to fly downwind without too many hiccups. However, they turned back uphill where Mr Tangles pulled them up with kite sheets and bailer lines wrapping around the jib sheets. Nothing was certain in this race, the share of good and bad luck equally served up to all competitors.

With the imposing breeze set to increase even further, the RO shortened the course with the finish line now set at the top mark. It was 1305 Lethal Blonde who received the gun ahead of the “great escape” artists 1366 Protagonist Declan Reilly and Ira Dubrey M16’SSC (who had had capsized on the start line previously) and the tough All-Girl crew 1355 Ninja taking third place after a very exhausting but exhilarating race number 2.

There were thirteen retirements during the afternoon’s fun and games, notably participants from every club entered making it an even attrition factor for all teams visiting the regatta. Nearly all the spare parts brought down from NSW by various boat builders, riggers and repairers were used up in the subsequent wash-up back at the beach. One mast, a tiller extension, spinnaker pole and a couple of spreaders later, all was good with the world at Tamar Yacht Club boat-park.

It was a day to remember and with the promise of even larger breezes predicted for Wednesday, the world of the Flying 11s retired for the evening with no-doubt some great stories being replayed during dinner.

The RO also changed the Sailing Instructions to suit the predicted dying breezes later in the week by signalling the scheduled reserve day for Wednesday be substituted with a race day.

What we will be naming our Wednesday’s races is now anyone’s guess, but it is sure to have a good story attached to it.

Pricey

Other Links
 Photos Race 2
 Races Inv & #1 Presentations



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