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Top of the Gulf 2014 – ‘A very trying day’ (Denis Thompson)

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia on 5 May 2014
TOP OF THE GULF REGATTA 2014 - and this was what arrived on the way home. Apocalypse Now, Thai-style © Guy Nowell/Top of the Gulf
Today was a day that no Race Officer or sailor would want to repeat. Let’s put it into perspective – nobody died, no boats sank and Ocean Marina did not catch fire. However, the main topic on conversation after a day on the water was the weather, with a little bit of ‘what might have been’ thrown in.

Here’s the spoiler: dodgy weather, consisting of thunder cells and rain squalls appeared (and in some cases parked for a long time) at various places all around the race course. All 360 degrees of it. The disruptive nature of these systems meant that – although there was often lots of sunshine all around and over the boats – there was only intermittent feeble breeze, which disappeared as soon as any racing got under way.

RO Denis Thompson certainly tried his best, setting 3-sausage 0.9nm courses to allow the option of shortening if necessary, but nothing got beyond the second windward mark rounding before glassing out. Two races were started, and two races were abandoned, leaving IRC 1, 2, 3 and the Platu fleet with a perfect Eurovision score for the day - ‘nul point’ from the Norwegian judge.

If you are interested in meteorology (and what sailor isn’t, one way or the other?) then today offered the chance to get terminally soaked and comprehensively toasted, while watching the weather gyrate around the patch of water that desperately needed breeze. ‘Unsettled’ desperately needs a new dictionary definition.

Small glimmer of optimism: the IRC 4 Cruiser and Multihull divisions got a result, having been sent off northwards on a passage race, but even that was at a very much shortened finish.

After three days of a four day regatta the Platus have completed a total of five races, and the IRC 1 fleet can count three results in total. If anyone reading this has Hughie’s number, please call him and make a special request for some manageable racing weather for the last day of the regatta, tomorrow.

Short results (inevitably): www.topofthegulfregatta.com










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