by Alex Webster
Close racing in the Etchells World Championship Sydney Australia 2012.
Flight 3 of the Auckland Etchells Tuesday Night Season were sailed on Tuesday November 20, Fleet Captain Alex Webster reports:
Some have suggested that it is windage, resulting from your correspondent’s massive bulk, others have speculated, more tactfully perhaps, that the back of the fleet offers a better vantage point for these reports, but whatever the reason, Waiwera (1240) has, rather depressingly, secured a slot in economy class, quite near the loos, over the last two outings.
What is worse, due to a phenomenon that astronomers refer to as Doppler shift, it is surprisingly difficult to distinguish the relative positions of distant objects that are moving away from you, rapidly, so I hope that you will forgive me if this report more than usually subjective and lacking in factual detail.
It was a beautiful spring evening that saw a fleet of 12 Etchells beat into a stable northerly that gave every appearance of building. But it was all a horrible, fickle pretence and by sunset, the self-same fleet was beating home into a freshening southerly with two, shifty, patchy and (for some) maddening races in the bag – bringing the series total to eight, with Valsheda (950) leading overall, from Feng Shui (1348) and Upfront (814).
Briefly then, Race 1 started off the Viaduct Basin into a tentative breeze and ebbing tide and ended in a bun fight as an ascendant southerly competed fitfully with a dying northerly - with boats crossing the finish line on virtually every point of sail.
It was good to see Bobby’s Girl (1058) competing for line honours after Johnny Melville’s long spell on the beach (and, paradoxically, Bobby’s Girl’s brief, unplanned, sojourn in the drink).
The start of Race 2 was quickly and efficiently re-positioned off Bayswater by the excellent Race Committee, as the wind completed its about-face - and proved to be a contest far more suited to those who prefer their windward-leewards to occur on alternating legs of the race.
Waiwera (1240) squandered a near-perfect start, failing to maintain momentum through a treacherous minefield of lulls and shifts. Steadier heads and hands capitalised and Bobby’s Girl (1058) ultimately triumphed.
Many thanks to the race committee for its swift decisiveness in trying conditions.
Racing an Etchells in Auckland could not be any easier. Leave work and get to Westhaven Marina around 5 o'clock, your boat's already in the water. Only about 5 minutes' sail from the dock and you're in the racing area - just off the Viaduct Basin between Prince's Wharf and Wynyard Quarter.
A lively, competitive fleet enjoys 3 or 4 closely-fought races, before returning to dock to de-brief and tell lies over a couple of drinks at Swashbucklers Bar and Grill. You can leave the boat in the water - she'll be hauled out for you in the morning.
To find out how to join the fleet, or register as a crew click here