Day four of the 24th Marmaris International Race Week and the pressure was mounting as the regatta nears it’s end. After a challenging day offshore yesterday with tricky wind shifts and an unpredictable breeze, today’s inshore race was bound to offer it’s own set of challenges for the teams to overcome.
24th Marmaris International Race Week 2013 fleet in action.
The racing was set on a triangular course inside the gulf of Marmaris and everyone was ready for an action packed day.
The starting sequence was slightly different today with the bigger boats starting first. The IRC Charter class, division one, kicked off the racing followed by the smaller boats in the first division of the IRC class. Unlike the last few days where teams have favoured the pin end of the start line, today saw most of the fleet opting for the committee boat end, starting on leeward. Many jumped the gun as they vied for position meaning they had to turn back and recover from their mistakes.
In comparison to the open sea, the compact course being used today meant that the racing was much closer and full of action. The boats were forced to sail extremely close to one another, allowing teams to show off their skills as they tried to keep clear and get ahead. It’s these sorts of conditions that make sailing such a great spectator sport with onlookers watching as the crews battle it out to make those all important gains on the course; that and the stunning scenery that played backdrop as the teams sailed the first upwind leg, towards the southeast side of the Marmaris gulf.
Once the first of the boats rounded the windward mark they headed for the second mark that was located to the south of the gulf. Yet another display of deft crew work as the teams hoisted their Spinnakers and filled the racecourse with an array of colourful sails. It was an impressive sight to behold but for the competitors it was a crucial stage of the race.
As the teams were reaching the second mark, the pressure started to die as the wind tried to fill in from the south side, slowing up the racing and calling on the tacticians of the team for their valuable input. This lack of pressure brought the fleet even closer together, tightening up the competition and making every move count. A big wind shift to the right, saw a flurry of action as numerous sail changes were made in the fleet, adding to the physical demands of the race and requiring lots of hard work from the crews.
After finishing one round of the triangle course the fleet had to sail upwind to the leeward mark and do another windward/leeward loop before finishing upwind and close to the windward mark. Boreas a Farr 40 was led the pack throughout most of the race followed by the Melges 32 Uka Uka who has done well to feature amongst the top performers in most of the races so far. Meanwhile in the IRC Charter one class the Ukrainian ‘Naughty Gull’, a Salona 41 was in the in the lead. A feature of this boats design is it’s easily adjustable genoa and mainsheet - something that will have been useful in these conditions and had obviously paid dividends today.
Finally it was Boreas that crossed the line first followed by Uka Uka in second and Naughty Gull in third, all having maintained their positions to the finish line.
Tomorrow sees the final day of racing for the 24th Marmaris International Race week, a last chance for participants to pull out all the stops and go for a win before the week Is over. Another inshore race is scheduled for tomorrow so once again there’s plenty of action expected and perhaps some risk taking as the teams go for an all or nothing day.