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Spring Series 2011 - "Where was the wind?!"

 

Despite breezes of upto 35kts mid-week the Wasash Spring Series 2011 was characterised by an unprecedented 6 weekends of light wind racing. Never in the history of the Spring series have we seen anything like it – not one windy race!

The first weekend saw VisitMaltaPuma out training under the watchful eye of Finbar as Philippe Falle was still in the Caribbean after his successful St Maarten’s regatta! Jaguar Logic had a totally new crew of mixed ability under the guidance of James Allen. And Lion Logic was entered with a team of complete racing novices on their first ever racing experience with Peter Burwood.

Philippe was back on board for the race start on the Sunday, and VisitMaltaPuma were keen to do well. So keen unfortunately that they were OCS (over the start line) and had to dip back again losing valuable time. Jaguar and Lion both fought hard in the windless conditions and finished mid-fleet – especially impressive for the team of novices!

Week 2 and Philippe took a tough training stance on his crew on the Saturday (the videos of his long gybing runs are on u-tube as evidence)!  Another OCS left them with much to do, but they fought back to finish 3rd– great team work and almost faultless racing led to a fantastic recovery, and their best result of the series!

Jaguar Logic were the victims of some harsh decisions, when after we informed the race committee one of our sails had the wrong number on,  they protested us and the jury awarded a crippling 4% time penalty – leaving Jaguar finishing nearly last on corrected time. Ouch!

Light wind sailing is one of the most frustrating conditions and the most difficult to do well in. One of the key challenges is maintaining boat speed – so the slightest delay in getting the jib over on a tack means the boat loses momentum and can take several minutes to recover, losing valuable places in the process.

This happened to Jaguar on the start on Race 4 – despite having a great position on the front row of the start line, the slow jib trim resulted in a slow crawl across the startline watching the rest of the fleet accelerate past. How frustrating!

Week 4 also had an unusual number of starboard roundings, and by the third gear switch of the course, boat after boat rounded the top mark to launch their spinnakers – each with a twist in them!

Tim Thubron took over skippering VisitMaltaPuma but even his infamous lightwinds skills wasn’t enough to keep Playing Around at bay, and after an impressive series they took 1st place overall. Very well deserved by Pete Robson and his crew.

Another element of light wind sailing is the greater effect of the tide, and knowing where the strongest flows are is crucial to the race strategy, so the navigator needs to be on the ball! 

At the end of the series VisitMaltaPuma secured an honourable 3rd place, and Jaguar Logic finished a respectable 10th (out of 21).

11 individuals came back for more racing with us, 5 people brought a friend down with them so they could join the Sailing Logic gang and 23 people joined us for their first ever yacht racing experience!

So the wind wasn’t great, but the racing was competitive, the sun was out and the scenery was – as always – stunning. Is there a better way to spend a few Sundays?!

 

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