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Top of the Gulf 2011 – under grey skies

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia on 2 May 2011
Top of the Gulf Regatta 2011 - a little local colour on the racecourse Guy Nowell/Top of the Gulf
Top of the Gulf 2011 - Hey, what happened to all the sunshine? Who turned the lights out? It was a grey and muggy scene for the start of today’s racing, with rain squalls passing along the shoreline to the south of the race course, playing havoc with the breeze. RO Simon James AP’d the starts until almost 1200 hrs while as it settled down (a bit), and then sent all six divisions away in 8-10 kts on a windward-leeward course.

It was the best breeze of the day – and there was a short spell of rain, too – and as the race progressed the wind gradually eased until by 1330 and then 1400 it was a fitful, shifty affair that was quite literally dying on the water. The IRC 1 division came home in the last stages of the puff, as well as the IRC 3, Cruising and Platu classes, but the Ocean Multihulls and IRC 2 fleets were given a shortened course.





With no sign of a sea breeze on the water, and puffs coming from anywhere between 125° to 180°, the Race Officer waited until 1430 before raising N over A and letting everyone go home for a cold beer. There were no complaints.

The racing in IRC 1 has turned into a 3-boat derby between HiFi (Neil Pryde), Team Premier (Johannes Waimer) and Evolution Racing (Ray Roberts). Today’s single race went to HiFi, but not before a visit to the Protest Room on account of ‘contact’ between HiFi and Team Premier at the first top-mark rounding, and a claim of obstruction from Evolution Racing while HiFi was competing penalty turns. At least - that’s the short version as close as we can call it. Protests were dismissed, and HiFi took the honours to make make the current overall scoring Team Premier – 5, Evolution Racing – 6, HiFi -7. Clearly, everything to play for over the next two days.



Matt Allen’s Ichiban took the IRC 2 race to make it three out of three, but this time - instead of rolling home at the front of the fleet – had to rely on corrected time for their win, having been beaten across the line by both Ben Copley’s Club Swan 42, Katsu, and the J/130 Jing Jing (Rick Pointon, Beijing Sailing Centre). On corrected time the finishing order was reversed, with Ichiban squeezing into first place by a mere 20 seconds after a 90-minute race.

There was nothing to disturb the nice neat results in IRC 3, with Thai Navy 1 adding another win for a 1, 1, 1 scoresheet from three races, followed by Hi Jinks on 2, 2, 2 and Magic on 3, 3, 3.

Maybe Magic Dragon had a hiccup in the Platu fleet yesterday afternoon, but they were back on form today in the exceptionally shifty conditions (one Platu sailor described the course as 'a minefield') for another win to make it 1, 4, 1 and lead the Coronation Cup division from Naiad (3, 1, 4) and Scott Duncanson’s The Ferret on 5, 2, 2.

Statistically, they say, the most accurate weather forecast is 'same as today'. However, we are rolling the dice and asking for more of yesterday and less of today. Photographers are fussy animals, and they always demand wind, waves and sunshine. Two of the above will suffice, but one is not enough and ‘none of the above’ just doesn’t register on The F-stop Scale. Bring back the sunshine, please.

Racing resumes tomorrow at 1100 hrs.





Short results
IRC 1
1 Team Premier 1,2,2 (5)
2 Evolution Racing 2,1,3 (6)
3 HiFi 3,3,1 (7)
IRC 2
1 Ichiban 1,1,1 (3)
2 Jing Jing 2,2,2 (6)
3 Katsu 3,4,3 (10)
IRC 3
1 Thai Navy 1 1,1,1 (3)
2 Hi Jinks 2,2,2 (6)
3 Magic 3,3,3 (9)
IRC Cruising
1 Amanda 1,2 (3)
2 San Sanook 4,1 (5)
3 Free Wind 2,4 (6)
Platu (Coronation Cup)
1 Magic Dragon 1,4,1 (6)
2 Naiad 3,1,4 (8)
3 The Ferret 5,2,2 (9)
Ocean Multihulls
1 Bladerunner 1,3,2 (6)
2 The Sting 2,4,1 (7)
3 Cedar Swan 3,1,3 (7)

Full Results: www.topofthegulfregatta.com/results.shtml



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