Pudz and Ruth worked the deck of RW for race 2 of the Summer Series. The breeze was forecast to be a 25 knot stiff southerly, so we reefed the main from the get go and ran with the full #2 genoa (135%). Our start was reasonable and we were quickly amongst the leaders on the way to Salamander Mark. It was great racing as 5 or 6 boats all converged and rounded the mark within just a couple of boat lengths. Hasn't been any racing like that for a long while. We gained a few places upwind keeping ahead of Tanami only to lose ground to them on the broad reach/run back to Middle Island when they launched their spinnaker.
I opted not to use the 0.75 oz symmetrical spinnaker as the breeze was gusting above its limit of around 22-25 knots and my preference was for my crew to spectate broaches and round-ups instead of be participants!! The 1.5oz Assy spinnaker limit is 15 knots on the tack without a pole and the upper limit is scary pants stuff when used with the spinnaker pole, so next race in a breeze the Assy will fly and we 'manage' the broaches. Apart from being a stronger material, it is also a tad smaller in size with a wider wind angle range. The tactics combined with use of the correct sails can be the difference between 1st and 6th. For the trip behind the island we kept wide and on the breeze whilst others floundered in the wind shadow. Fortunately we picked up some of our lost ground.
Back on the beat to Salamander Mark we pegged back Anneliese, Tangier and Young Pretender. Meanwhile, Chilli and Watch Me were having their own high speed duel way out ahead and were most likely already at the bar!! Rounding the mark to port we eased sail for the run down to Wedding Cake with the headsail poled to starboard. Good speed of 7.2 knots kept us in the game although once again, those with spinnakers gained good ground....in dramatic style! A wide rounding by Tanami, with spinnaker still flapping, left RW with a nice inside line close to the mark to execute a slam dunk and regain the advantage. On the reach to Middle island we edged back into the game.
Back on the breeze for the final beat back to Salamander and Ruth and Pudz had RW humming. We caught and overtook Anneliese and Tangier all the time stretching the lead over Tanami and gaining on Young Pretender. After rounding the mark the breeze looked good for a beam reach and a good race to the finish. Kites went up and we struggled to keep up with only our whites. On the final dash for the line we held off Anneliese and Tanami, but Tangier slipped across the line half a boat length and 4 secs ahead of RW!
Ist on handicap were Doug and Dim who sailed a great race in the Nolex 30 Tangier, followed by Ken on his Northshore 33 Anneliese and Gerard had a great day on the big Pacific 39 Distant Drums to come away with 3rd place. Rogue Wave slipped into 4th with only 2min 45 secs separating 1st and 4th on corrected time.
Follow the link to Race 2 Summer Series Results