A grey and rather dull evening with a challenging NE wind as the crews boarded the launch to prepare for the start of the first september race of 2021. It only seems such a short while ago that we were getting back on the water!
The September race starts are, as with every season, at 18:00 rather than 18:30 to ensure that the contestants are back before the light fades. This earlier start seems to shorten the period the yachts have for preparation with some crew not arriving at their yachts until just seconds before the 5 minute warning signal.
The line was all clear at the start with a good close windward start, in the NNE winds, except for Flair IV trailing the rest of the fleet with 3 visiting crew members.
Pastime tacked back onto starboard and called Flair IV so she had to tack and this put her very close to the end of the breakwater. These two yachts then battled it out up to Meath, the first mark of the course while Jaydreamer, and Houdini headed the fleet remaining on port tack along with Ninja and Carpe Diem. Flair IV reefed her main on the leg to Clipera and this delayed her again allowing Pastime to get ahead once again but Flair managed to squeeze past Clipera while Pastime had to put in an extra tack. ￼
The downwind leg to Penrhos allowed Ninja, Jaydreamer and Houdini to pull out a considerable lead Ninja and Houdini leading Jaydreameron the approach to Penrhos mark.
Carpe Diem, Flair IV and Pastime were still on their spinnaker leg to Penrhos as the 3 leading yachts were well on their way back to CLipera before heading back onto a close spinnaker leg back to the finish line. Flair IV had to slew to starboard to go to leeward of both Houdini and Ninja. At Penrhos Flair IV had another spinnaker drop issue and lost time trying to avoid the shallow waters and clear the partially dropped spinnaker. Once resolved she was shadowed by Carpe Diem back up to Clipera.
Flair IV’s track (Note the wiggle at Penrhos!)
As usual thanks to Dawn for her work on the quarterdeck and to Richard from Jaydrewamer for some of the photos. The Google Album is on this link: Photos from September Racing 2021
These results are with the NHC handicaps as set at the end of the May Race series.
In trying to organise a regatta type event for one day over the weekend it became apparent that it was unlikely that we would have many entries. On the day Jaydreamer joined Flair IV for an interesting race in the morning and then Pastime joined Flair for the afternoon race. Both races were round the cans in Holyhead Bay, not as we had hoped for the afternoon race to be ‘Round the Skerries and back’, as due to the ferry departures not being as scheduled the afternoon race start was delayed until after the second outbound ferry had left the Port entrance.
The morning race between Jaydreamer and Flair Iv was also delayed at the start with the ferry movements making starting from inside the New Harbour a difficult challenge. The winds at the start were very fickle north easterly. Jaydreamer had the better start and led out of the New Harbour clearing the TSZ before the arrival of the second ferry. Flair IV decided to alter course early to demonstrate her intentions and headed on starboard tack to the end of the breakwater then tacked to pass around the stern of the incoming ferry. Jaydreamer had continued on port tack and ended up in some very light winds somewhat to the south and east of Clierpa while Flair held her course on port almost to the coastline to get a good angle to Bolivar.
A much diminished fleet for the race with just Ninja, Jaydreamer, Carpe Diem and Flair IV preparing for the challenge of the Cruise ship anchored across the New Harbour entrance.
It was very disappointing that the tenders from the Cruise liner were cutting through the moorings area with significant wake as Ninja and Flair IV, both on the western extreme of the sailing club moorings area. were loading sails and getting ready for the start. This issue has been raised on a number of occasions with the Port Authorities yet the information doesn;t seem to get through to the pilots of these vessels let alone the other motorised craft making passage to what remains of the marina.
The course for this evening’s race was set by OOD Paul Humphreys as follows:
With the Cruise ship scheduled to leave at 19:00 the OOD confirmed the start arrangements with Port Control with agreement to start as normal at 18:30.
At the start Jaydreamer and Flair ran side by side over the start line with Flair holding her ground very close to the IDM and then managed to gain the advantage of the fickle winds under the breakwater to establish a small lead. Ninja followed these two and Carpe Diem bringing up the rear of the fleet.
Flair sailed sufficiently close to wind to manage to pass the cruise ship to windward whereas the others all had to tack onto starboard towards the breakwater light.
Wind Forecast: 7kt gusting 10kt Northerly
Race Start 11:00
Due to the large Cruise ship anchored at the entrance to the New Harbour and the ferry schedule it was decided to move the start from inside the New Harbour to the Extended Transit from Breakwater lighthouse through Clipera leaving Clipera to port.
The start was therefore delayed with the warning signal at 11:30 and the start at 11:35. As race officer I was in touch with Port Control to establish the proposed passage for the Ferry and to notify that the yachts were sheltering beside the Cruise Liner until the ferry had passed to the east.
What a change of circumstances! We actually had some wind both forecast and actual for the race on Wednesday 28th July. As the 7 entries lined up for the start the clouds were booking ominous over Holyhead Mountain as they edged nearer to the New Harbour. Even so a couple of the yachts chanced it hoisting their spinnakers as they crossed the start line.
The course for the evening event was chosen by the Race Office Paul Humphries who set Start, Clipera (P), Bolivar (P), Meath (P), Clipera (S) and Finish. This proved an interesting and lively course with the two spinnaker boats charging off towards the Orthios Jetty before, in Redeye’s case she ripped her spinnaker and in Houdini’s case was simply overpowered.
So as they streamed out of the harbour Flair IV going goose winged made good ground on the approach to Clipera and rounded the mark in 3rd place with Jaydreamer and Wild Haggis just ahead.
Ninja and Houdini battled it out on the leg to Bolivar:
A distance of around 18 Nm.
Low water Holyhead 12:44
Wind Current at 09:25
Holyhead Port F4 F5 Direction 203°
Windy 10Kt. 12kt At 12:00 S off the stacks
AutoHoot still not functioning [connection failure in the wooden box Trevor created, too many screws to remove for access, will do at home] so Start will be over VHF Ch 17 Warning Signal at 10:55. Start at 11:00 Self timing over the finish line.
Light winds forecast but enough to get things going. A good start by Pastime and Wild Haggis left Flair slightly behind over the start line.
At the end of the breakwater Wild Haggis had forged a good lead with the normal duel between Flair and Pastime as they headed out to North Stack following the Irish ferries ferry as she headed out to Dublin
The seas were calm as the yachts sailed along towards the stacks with the remaining ebbing tide with Flair IV passing Pastime before the Western end of the breakwater. As they approached North Stack the tidal currents started to ramp up the sea conditions with the wind dropping under the influence of the headland. With sails flagging under these light winds with the tide racing south some tactical tacking kept the same order but with the distances between the competitors constantly changing.
Surprisingly the wind direction backed and spinnakers were deployed on Wild Haggis and Pastime with Flair IV running her code 0 all the way to the zone we normally avoid to round Maen Piscar!
The currents change quite dramatically on the route from South Stack down towards Mean Piscar and the key was to ensure that the VGM to the waypoint didn’t fall off too quickly.
As Flair approached Maen Piscar, Wild Haggis was on her way back and allerted Flair and Pastime to the strong currents flowing north now towards the rock itself.
Photo from Pastime, Flair IV standing well off the rocks.
As we normally avoid this area it was really interesting to see the rock exposed at this state of the tide and the tidal effects around the rock.
Flair IV, having rounded Maen Pisca, setting her code 0 for the return leg.
Phew! Phil’s relief as they leave Maen Piscar behind. As we progressed towards South Stack the winds became very fickle one again and it took lots of concentration to keep good settings on the sheets controlling the foresails.
The odd job for the crew! Not enough wind to overcome the now 4 to 5 knots of tide pushing us north.
The progress for Flair and Pastime was very slow over the water as they navigated round South Stack and on towards North Stack where the find finally increased to around 15kt. The last leg was very enjoyable with the great views of the Anglesey coastline and the awesome breakwater, which we all take too much for granted. That was until the rain started as Flair rounded the end of the breakwater and crossed the finish line. Wild Haggis was already well established on her mooring. Congratulations to the crew on Wild Haggis and to Phil for sticking at it even if the temptation to retire had been seriously contemplated.