Wednesday evening 2019-05-15
A very light wind and brilliant sunshine welcomed the 6 yachts assembling for the 3rd Wednesday evening race. The light winds were northerly variable from 0 to 6kt with large holes in the wind pattern as could be seen on the surface of the harbour.
The higher level of race entry caused a problem for the launch service with some delays to getting crews onboard for the necessary preparation and I would propose that we have an online entry for these races as this not only affects the launch but Spinnakers too for meals in the club house after these events. Please let me have your comments.
A tricky decision on which head sail to use confronted the skippers as it was hard to tell where there was wind, would it fill a spinnaker or code 0 or compromise on a large jib. Houdini and Carpe Diem set off with their spinnaker option while Jetstream and Flair deployed their code 0 to head out for the end of the Aluminium Jetty. Thanks to Jim the new start line had been painted immediately prior to the race so the start was now much further away from the Porth Y Felin moorings now with a significant bias!
With speeds through the water varying between 0.5 and 4kt Wendy (OOD) selected course 1 using the new start line even so it took a very long time to get the the first mark Meath. Flair IV tacking down the triangle to Meath with Houdini and Jetstream attempting to overtake by making fewer tacks.
By Meath Houdini had taken the lead by just managing to turn back to the mark after Flair had called starboard on her. From Meath it was more or less a dead run to Penrhos with Houdini and Flair deploying spinnakers while Jetstream went with her code 0 and sailed off at different angles but made good progress with all three leading yachts rounding Penrhos in very close order, Houdini, Flair and then Jetstream.
Wendy called over VHF to shorten the course by removing Clipera from the course even so Houdini sailed back out into bay while Flair and Jetstream sailed in close to the loading ferries where the water surface indicated a few patches of wind. This resulted in a tight tacking contest between Flair and Jetstream who gained the advantage at the end of the jetty. This was then the order at the finish, using the new start line; it was noted that the sound signal from the Quarterdeck was not audible at the finish so the yachts were not sure if they had actually finished!
One more fantastic evening of highly technical sailing and then a social gathering in the clubhouse. Thanks to Wendy for her services on the Quarterdeck yet again.
Many thanks for the photos from David Geary and Harry Tugwell now added to an album on this link
2019-05-08 Race 2
The second of the Wednesday evening race series was in complete contrast to the first with winds forecast at 17kt gusting 26kt northeasterly. The Holyhead Port weather station dissuaded a few of our competitors from travelling to join in so it was down to 3 of our regulars to challenge the newly arrived J109 Jetstream.
The NE wind informed Wendy’s choice of course out to Clipera, Bolivar, Clipera, Meath and finish and the yachts prepared in some gusty winds around the breakwater to get to the start line in good order. The new start line is still not painted and so the 4 yachts struggled to find space to get to a suitable starting point.
Surprisingly the start saw the yachts in very close order with Flair IV leading the field over the line and Jetstream almost attached to her transom! Houdini and Incantation were a little further off the wall attempting to avoid the turbulence around the knuckle. Jetstream then had to fall to leeward of Flair IV and headed for the two channel markers at the eastern end of the new harbour.
Flair and Jetstream tacked onto starboard close to Northwestern buoy and tacked back onto port close to the breakwater giving them a reasonable heading out towards Clipera. Houdini and Incantation remained on a lower course managing to avoid the end of the jetty. Flair IV had two reefs and her no.4 headsail and was just a little underpowered compared to Jetstream who eased ahead as they approached Clipera, Flair further to the east then made the leg to Bolivar on one single tack by heading slightly above her most efficient heading. Jetstream had tacked before the mark but still maintained a lead, Flair IV second, Houdini third and Incantation in fourth.
The downwind leg from Bolivar to Clipera was a dead run so Jetstream flying her asymmetric spinnaker headed in a more southerly direction while the other 3 yachts just sailed goose-winged toward the mark. From Clipera the yachts headed on a fetch up towards Meath and then back downwind into the harbour to the finish.
Over the line Jetstream had a clear 2 minute 33 second lead with Houdini 2 minutes and 11 seconds behind Flair on elapsed time. The NHC handicap puts the corrected times slightly differently as this is a variable handicap. The IRC class results will be resolved when we get the IRC Certificate for Houdini.
2019-05-01 Race 1
Many thanks to Ashley for this photo from the 1st May race.
There was almost no wind as the yachts prepared for the race on Wednesday 1st of May but gradually, as per the forecast light breezes started to fill in.
With the low wind conditions Wendy, OOD, set a very short course out to Clipera and back.
Four yacht entered the race still using the old start line, although we now have permission to set up the new line which is being organised soon.
As the wind was from the WSW it was a broad reach to start with Houdini getting over the line first Flair IV incantation and Shearwater in close pursuit. Houdini had hoisted her spinnaker at the start but short handed Flair started on her no 2 jib changing to her code zero before the knuckle which helped her to catch Houdini. She then changed to her spinnaker as they left the harbour. Wind conditions were variable along the wall and into the bay so a great deal of concentration was required on helm and trimming. Incantation, at times goose-winging, was doing well in the 4to 6kt winds battling for 3rd place with Shearwater who was trying out a different headsail.
With so may sail changes Flair slipped back and was just beaten by Houdini to the buoy at Clipera and then with a slow rounding up to wind after the buoy she slipped further behind. With the wind now 8 - 12kt from the WSW Houdini with her very large foresail maintained her lead through to the finish with just the one tack for both the leading yachts.
Another fantastic evening of highly technical sailing where concentration and sail trim were of significant importance.
As we were short handed on Flair I do not have any pictures of this race.