by Alex Webster
Close racing in the Etchells World Championship Sydney Australia 2012.
Flight 2 of the Auckland Etchells Tuesday Night Season were sailed on Tuesday November 13, Fleet Captain Alex Webster reports:
Well, what a difference a week makes. Or not, as the case may be: After last week’s drifter, conditions for flight 2 were near-perfect with around 12 knots of cross-tide breeze and a fleet of 10 making the most of it. At the business end of the fleet, after six races, the top four remain unchanged, albeit re-ordered, with Valsheda II (950) now in pole position.
Further down the table, however, there is still everything to play for, with a few snakes and ladders having shaken up the order a little. This is where those DNCs start to add up, so, please take advantage of an excellent pool of available crew if short-handedness is keeping you on the beach (please just email me if you need crew).
In Race 1 ‘Team GTR’ (1379) had picked a slight bias at the pin and crossed the whole fleet on port Gangham Style, before inexplicably capitulating to Valsheda II (950) in a closely fought beat. To be honest, I don’t know what ‘GTR’ stands for, but my guess is ‘Guess Tactics Randomly’. Clearly this is the fault of the alleged tactician, Al Gwyer, rather than the excellent (and very welcome) helm.
Those who stayed left on the first work regretted the ebbing tide at the top mark, where starboard-tackers were neatly lee-bowed to the lay-line. The first run split the fleet – again the tide beguiling many to the left - and producing an orderly log-jam at the downhill mark. Your correspondent, on Waiwera (1240), entered too fine and exited too wide, executing a ‘Tokyo drift’ from third to something-that-looked-a-looked- like-last, as better men rounded inside.
The second work was more closely fought and it was gratifying to witness some tactical engagements that saw several boats pick their way through the fleet.
On the final run, most were wise to the effect of the tide and fought at close-quarters to protect their breeze. Valsheda II (950) crossed the line first, with Echelon (1379) a deserving second.
The start in Race 2 was close, but evenly spread, and forced the entire fleet on a drag race to the left corner, where Feng Shui (1348) popped out ahead and took an impressive lead, which they held to the top mark.
On the run, the breeze seemed to fill from the left, propelling a tightly-spaced phalanx of starboard-tackers into the bottom mark, threatening those who had counted on a ferry-glide directly to the mark. Feng Shui (1348) easily rounded ahead, but Waiwera (1240) was a boat-length off the pace and went backwards around the mark. Feng Shui (1348) never lost the lead.
It was a great pleasure to see 716 (the blue boat) – a Sailability crew- enter the fray for this flight. A pleasure only slightly diminished for your correspondent by their pushing Waiwera (1240) into the committee boat (squarely, but quite fairly) at the start of Race 3. Although an habitual stoic, your corresponded was moved to mutter profanities as he circled the committee boat (jeered, mark you, jeered, by the committee itself), but I was assured by Rob (skipper of 716), when I de-briefed him at Swashbucklers, that this will prove to be a character-building experience.
Anyway, Valsheda II (950) took out Race 3, apparently. Waiwera (1240) would have totally taken it out, given another lap, judging by the awesome gains we made on the first (and only) lap of the shortened course.
Many, many thanks to Megan Kensington and Sam for running the race committee, particularly as Megan is walking wounded and Sam is young and free and cannot possibly have picked this as a Tuesday-night activity in a month of Sundays, unless, Willzy threatened him in some way.
Once again, please bear in mind that we rely entirely on the kindness of volunteers to make this happen - so please do not take them for granted.
To find out how to join the fleet, or register as a crew click here