A beautiful day but not quite so good for sailing… The squib fleet had been out in the morning and some of the sailors moved swiftly onto the offshore fleet to take part in the race in some very fickle NW winds in the harbour.
There was so little wind at the start that navigation round the start line pin end was a little difficult but the 3 yachts got away with Rhumbull and Jetstream leading off with Flair struggling to get some way on as she tried out her lightweight spinnaker.
The course selected was Bolivar, Penrhos and finish and the start was delayed until 14:10 to avoid the two ferry departures at 13:50 and 14:10; however it took some time for the leading yacht to get anywhere near to the harbour entrance!
As they sailed across the bay out of the harbour there were patches where there was almost no wind and both Jetstream and Rhumbull pretty much stopped. Flair sailing from a long way behind Rhumbull and a little to leeward started to overhaul her but at they approached Bolivar and had to tack they were still behind by the time they rounded the mark.
Photo courtesy Mark Rosenthal
With the now NNW wind the broad reach favoured the two asymmetric yachts and Flair tried sailing with just her spinnaker but this left her further behind and after rounding Clipera and watching the Irish Ferry enter the harbour with 5 loud blasts warning Rhumbull to clear her path, Flair retired and headed back to the harbour.
Photo courtesy Mark Rosenthal
By this time Jetstream was already finished…
Link to Photo album for Sunday Racing 2018 courtesy of Cpt. Simon.
Being father’s day the fleet turnout was again diminished with just two yachts competing, Rhumbull and Flair IV. The course set for this blustery SSW wind gusting from 18kt to 25kt was Bolivar, Penrhos, Clipera and finish all marks to port. [Note again Clipera must be passed to seaward if not specifically a mark of the course]
As the yachts set off the and raced towards the harbour entrance we checked with Port control but were not given clearance to pass across the TSS. The 14:00 start was therefore cancelled and we agreed a side by side re-start at the Aluminium Jetty; where there was a large cruise ship.
From the restart it was a dead run up to Bolivar but with the tide on the ebb it was better to head on a bearing well south of the mark. Flair stayed on a very broad reach with her, as yet, untested No 4 headsail while Rhumbull took a more direct approach flying her spinnaker which gave her a considerable downwind advantage. At the mark Rhumbull had a significant lead but the crew on Flair were confident in these windy conditions that she would gain the advantage on the upwind leg.
Both Rhumbull and Flair stayed on port tack as they beat back towards Clipera but Rhumbull tacked early leaving Flair on a longer port tack.
After tacking onto the layline to pass Clipera to starboard, i.e. seaward, Flair had passed Rhumbull as they tacked several times on the upwind leg. Flair had a good line down towards Penrhos and tacked again to starboard in good time to pass Penrhos to port; now with a good lead over Rhumbull. The return to Clipera was again almost a dead run during which Rhumbull started to claw back some of the gap to Flair. However Flair maintained a good lead at Clipera and with just two tacks back to the finish line had a well earned first win over the water.
OK so this wasn’t quite a Holymed day but a really REALLY good sail… As can be seen from the results Flair just piped it over both the NHC and the IRC class handicaps on this race. In the IRC it was a mere 1 minute and 18 seconds...
Photos courtesy Rebbeca Warren.
The Sunday race didn’t look like it was going to happen with a thick sea mist and very little wind in the harbour. However the sun was breaking through as we prepared for the 14:00 start and we confidently agreed a course of Bolivar, Meath, Bolivar, Penrhos, Clipera and finish as the forecast was for a steady 10kt Northerly winds out in the bay.
4 yachts lined up for the start with Rhumbull getting a good start in the fickle light airs, confirmed by the Port Control calls to the ferries. Hydrology in second place stayed windward of Flair as they headed out into the mist with Vision following. The visibility was around 2 cables so the fog horns were blasting accompanied by the horns on the ferry leaving port. The ghostly images of Northwestern buoy then the Aluminum Jetty appeared out of the mist and the competitors were clear to cross out of the harbour. Now there was no sign, from Flair, of Rhumbull and Hydrology was also slowly disappearing into the mist.
On the beat up to Bolivar the winds strengthened to the forecast 10kt and the sun shone down through the mist making the sailing experience on a beat quite spectacular! We caught a glimpse of Hydrology as we made for Bolivar and then there was Bolivar almost on the bow before we had spotted it. We assume everyone made it round the mark returning to Meath on a broad reach with spinnakers up, very challenging for Flair with only 3 crew and discharged batteries again causing all the nav gear to stop!
Vision appeared out of the mist as we headed down to Meath and we saw her and Hydrology again on the repeat leg to Bolivar. The return to Bolivar allows the crew on Flair to enjoy a cuppa and a bit of late lunch before setting the spinnaker for the second time to return to Clipera. As we crossed the TSS back into the harbour the winds slackened again and it became a bit of a challenge to keep the spinnaker flying on a beam reach.
Yet again a fantastic day’s sailing at Holymed!
With a late start set for 14:00 to allow for hull cleaning on Flair IV just 2 yachts turned out on this beautiful day again here in Holyhead. With a bit of a rush start Flair IV arrived at the line and organised the start countdown, having mastered how to use the racing screen on the chart-plotter.
The light Northerly winds again favoured Rhumbull but Flair was much quicker than she had been with a feeling that if the rest of the hull was cleaned she might actually perform to handicap. The course was Bolivar (s), Clipera (p), Penrhos (p) and finish and as the two boats left the harbour Rhumbull was to windward but not much ahead of Flair this remained the pattern all the way up to Bolivar where, as can be seen from Flair’s track, there was keen competition on the tacking to the mark.
As Rhumbull rounded first she got a rapid set of her asymmetric spinnaker and shot off towards Clipera, Flair on the other hand had to drop the jib before setting her pole, as in the rush to get to the start the pole and the genoa were entangled at the clew…[the break in the track was due to the service batteries running too low on Flair and the instruments stopping.... Re-started after running the battery charging! ]
By Clipera Rhumbull had a significant lead which she maintained to the finish but it was such a great day on the water that neither crew was overly bothered about the race, just good to be out there again enjoying the fantastic views and sailing area that is Holymed!
Here is a video of the problem which has dogged Flair IV since her arrival at Holyhead