Monday, July 30, 2007
Tough RORC Channel Race With More Success
With gale force winds expected in the early hours of Sunday morning this year's Channel Race was promising to be a tough one. RORC gave out the course at 16h00 on Friday and we were all very relieved that the course was 140nm which would hopefully see the boats finishing between 0300 and 0400 on Sunday morning.
With the exception of Puma Logic all the other Sailing Logic boats had excellent starts. Puma was one second early for the start and had to return to the start area and started nearly five minutes late!
The course took all the teams West out of the Solent in a steadily building Westerly breeze. Bongani led class 2 out of the Solent and were looking very good. Lion was the first of the sailing Logic boats out of the Solent in class 1 closely followed by Puma Logic who did well to claw back the lost time.
There was a long hard beat in 18 to 20 knots of breeze to Weymouth followed by a down wind sleigh ride to a mark due south of Selsy Bill. Pink Panther reported speeds of sixteen knots and all the boats had an awesome kite run with consistently good boat speeds in double figures.
Bongani led the Sailing Logic Armada around the first mark with a comfortable lead in class 2 closely followed Puma Logic who were the 2nd boat around in class 1. The other Sailing Logic teams were in hot pursuit and very close behind.
The wind increased to over thirty knots for the final thirty mile beat to the finish. Code 3 jibs and reefed mains in very cold conditions was the order of the day. Most of the teams had not slept as they kept focused on boat speed and sail changes. Exhaustion set in for many as everyone pushed to their limits and beyond. It was a very tough race and really separated the men from the boys. Indeed, rumour has it that some of the other boats have now pulled out of the Fastnet as a result of the challenging conditions!!
At 0340 Puma Logic was the first Sailing Logic boat to finish with a superb 2nd place in class 1 which now puts them in a comfortable 2nd place in the championships. Even better was to follow as Bongani came in just over thirty minutes later to receive the news from the race officer that they were the fist boat to finish in class 2. A tense time followed as the team awaited the official results. Bongani needed to beat the slower boats in class by 45 minutes to still beat them on corrected time!
Pink Panther then finished just before 0630 in a superb 8th place followed by Lion one minute later in 9th place. Jaguar finished in a very credible 14th place just half an hour later.
Just after 1100 the results were published! Bongani had done it, with a massive lead of nearly 45 minutes on corrected time. What a result! Well done guys. Keep it up and we now look forward to continued success on the Fastnet.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Preparations underway for Channel Race.
After Puma, Jags and Lion were out yesterday on a corporate day, it is all change today as the corporate sails are taken off along with corporate kit and replaced with the racing sails and the refined, weight saving necessities in preparation of this weekend's Channel Race!
At the moment, the weather looks set to be typical of this summer... 15-20 knots of Westerly then dropping right off overnight and picking back up on Sunday, with, no doubt, plenty of rain!!!
The Channel Race starts off Cowes on the Squadron start line, as usual, then takes us out into the Channel and is effectively a giant 'round the cans' race!! The course should take between 24 and 36 hours to complete and will be set by the RORC commitee tomorrow afternoon... all will be revealed at four o'clock tomorrow!
The race begins Saturday morning and know doubt Shamrock Quay will become a hive of activity of grey jackets tomorrow afternoon.
Good luck to all the teams, have a great race!!!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Puma Wins St Malo Malo Race in Class 1!!
With almost 200 boats racing, the St Malo race is one of the most popular channel races of the RORC calendar, and certainly the start area beside the Squadron was very busy. The first starters began in a SW F3, just as the mist was clearing. Puma, Jaguar and Lion all had great starts, with Puma and Jags, once again neck and neck on the long fetch down the solent. Puma edged ahead towards the Needles, but lost a bit back to Jags after their first headsail peel... They did manage to stay just in front though!! The southerly wind was due to build a bit and swing round to the left later in the day... so, tactically, the trick was to head out on port tack and time the tack south hopefully with the wind shift!! As always, though, sailing is never that easy and the crews were worn out with headsail peels as the wind went up and down.
Eventually though, the wind did build a little and swing round as forecasted, and one by one the fleet tacked off towards Les Hanois. After turning the corner here, it was a cracking reach all the way to the finish line. It was a nerve-wracking night for all the yachts, as all that could be seen was a sea of glowing green and red lights in the pitch black night, all converging on Les Hanois. It wasn't until dawn that it was possible to identify any of the boats nearby!
Puma's crew's hard work paid off and they were the first sailing logic boat to finish at one minute to seven on Saturday morning, followed closely by Jaguar, Sidney, Bongani, Lion and Pink Panther and headed into St Malo for Bastille day celebrations.
It wasn't until later in the day that Puma Logic discovered the fantastic news that they had come first in class. Jag's took 5th place, with only 8 minutes between the first and fifth place!! Bongani also came fifth, in class 2, and there was celebrations all round in St Malo for all the crews!!
With a few medallions to collect (!!) it looks likely that there might be one or two Sailing Logic T-shirts at RORC this evening. The prize giving is at 7.30 at RORC and everyone is welcome! And well done to Puma's team for a brilliant result.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Preparations for This Weekend St Malo Race
Once again the Fastnet Teams are trickling in to Shamrock and the marina is a hive of activity with grey and orange shirts carting trolley loads of food and sails and spares down to the boats. The skippers are watching eagle eyed to make sure that we don't carry on anything more than what we really need, in order to keep weight down!!
It looks like it will be a great race, starting off, fairly similarly to the Jersey race a few weekends ago, with 20 knots of Southerly breeze forecast... Once again a beat to windward. Hopefully the wind will swing round to the SW and then W later on and we should have a great reach down to St Malo from Les Hanois. There might even be a little sunshine too!!
The teams are examining the tides and working out their tactics and with some great results behind us so far, once again it is all to play for!!
Good luck to all the teams. It's now time for me to start getting very excited!!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Training Weekend Complete...
...and now everyone is raring to go for the race this weekend!!
The Fastnet Teams enjoyed some unusually superb weather last weekend for their training. Indeed the rain stopped for the best part of two whole days for us and we were able to get lots of practise in the blazing sun and perfect breeze. All the yachts could be seeing charging up and down Southampton Water and the Solent practising kite hoists and drops and gybes, headsail peels and reefing the mains. There was also some evidence of bright orange storm jibs and trisails- not due to the wind!! but a sensible idea to ensure everyone knows exactly how they go up, should we need to use them in anger!! Fenders were thrown over the side for man overboard practise (fortunately, all of them were rescued!!) and the crews headed into Cowes late Saturday afternoon for a fantastic barbeque at Tiffin's in the haven, overlooking the yachts. Those of us, who weren't too worn out by the day on the water even made their way to the Pier View for a night cap...
Hopefully everyone had a great weekend and is looking forward to this weekend's race to St Malo as much as I am!!