Top of the Gulf 2012 – Day 2 Not so much breeze as yesterday, but brief bursts of sunshine to make everything look that much more sparkly. RO Jerry Rollin summed up the day as 'challenging for the competitors, and challenging for the race management.' The wind had died off a little overnight, but still blew a good 10kts all day with enthusiastic gusts of over 16kts, all out of 240? - give or take 30? of swing which prompted the RO to put the change marks in the water right from the get-go. Particularly in the second race of the day, gains made upwind evaporated in big shifts on the downwind leg, turning a tactical run into a long curve to the finish on one gybe – always assuming you were on the right side of the shift. The race programme was two windward/leeward courses for IRC 1, 2 3, Sportsboats, Ocean Multihulls and Cruisers, and three for the Platu division contesting the Coronation Cup.
The start was slightly delayed for IRC 1, with two boats detained in the marina waiting for the tide to bring in a little more water. One of them was Hi Fi, who missed the first race of the day as a result, leaving the door wide open for the pack of 40-footers. Yasoro Nanamori and the crew of Karasu seized their chance, and recorded a bullet, followed by Rick Pointon’s Jing Jing and then Foxy Lady 6 (Bill Bremner). Won Marang (Kevin Whitcraft, GP42) rounded the top mark in first place and looked to have found her dancing shoes, but only managed eighth, and after yesterday’s 2,1 performance, Kukukerchu was definitely ‘moving slowly’ for a sixth place finish. The Overall order took a bit of a shaking (unless potential discards are counted).
Karasu went on to repeat the performance in the second race of the day, and Walawala filled in second place. Hi Fi was back on the course, and celebrated with a third. Neil Pryde had to fly out today, and has left the boat in charge of the regulars, with carefully-worded instructions about staying out of trouble. The afternoon race was particularly kind to the boats that bore away from the top mark towards the east and found themselves on a long lift all the way to the finish, while those that had gybed early ended up only making the line under white sails.
10kts is definitely good Platu weather, but for Nataya (Rolf Heemskerk) to build on their lead from the first day, first they had to find the correct windward mark… 'The left was favoured for the beat,' said Heemskerk, 'but there were two windward marks – one black, the other black with a white stripe. We didn’t see our mark against the light, and were happily sailed on towards the further one, with about two thirds of the fleet ‘following-the-leader.’ The boats that had gone right, early, were behind, and saw the mark against the land. They tacked on the correct layline, and all of a sudden the back portion of the fleet was in the lead.' That shook up the order a little, with Shaun Toh’s SMU crew on Magic Dragon stepping up to enjoy a win, and Chris Weiguo’s Naiad taking second place.
Newcomer to the Platu class, Simon Piff (One Two Two) scored 12,8,11 in today’s three races, but declared himself delighted to be 'a little less last. But I wasn’t expecting to be playing dodgem cars on the race track – the mark roundings were all incredibly congested. Yes, we are having fun!' Chris Way’s Australian ‘Easy Tiger’ team on The Ferret, which includes Tom Spithill, made good today to take over the series lead.
Once again Sweet Chariot, John Higham’s Sea Cart 26, left everyone else in their wake off the start line, and scored 2, 1 for the day. Next at the top mark in the first race was Andrew Stransky (Fantasia), but they missed the pin and had to tack in foul tide to make the mark. 15m cruising catamarans do not turn on a sixpence, and Fantasia got caught in irons and had to watch all the smaller multis come from behind and sail straight across her bows. The other Big Cat in the division, Khun Nim’s Crowther 42, Sonic, scored an unexpected win in the first race of the day.
The three Shaw 650s look to have the Sportsboats class stitched up only halfway through the regatta. Crime Scene scored 1,1 today, Porn Star came in 2,2 and Hello Kitty followed on 3,3. Scott Duncanson’s Phuket 8, Quantum, is out of the picture after her capsize and rescue yesterday, but was floated and then lifted out of the water today. 'At least we know that a Phuket 8 still floats when completely full of water,' said Duncanson. 'She’s in the yard behind OMYC now. We’ve removed all the fish, frogs and seaweed, and cleaned her down. She’ll be back in the water very soon – but not this week.'
Halfway through the regatta, and the racing is on schedule. The weather forecast indicates continuing unsettled weather – with wind – but probably with recurring small systems that play havoc with the RO’s best laid plans, much like today.
Full Results: www.topofthegulfregatta.com
1 Karasu 3,5,1,1(10)
2= Walawala 6,4,5,2 (17)
2= Kukukerchu 2,1,6,8 (17)
1 Magic 1,2,1 (4)
2 El Coyote 3,1,2 (6)
3 Dynamite 2,4,3 (9)
1 Navy 1 1,1,2 (4)
2 Hi Jinks 3,4,1 (8)
3 Navy 2 2,3,3 (8)
1 Fantasia 2,1,5,2 (10)
2 Sweet Chariot 1,9,2,1 (13)
3 Free Wheeler 3,2,3,6 (14)
1 Crime Scene 1,1,1,1 (4)
2 Porn Star 2,2,2,2 (8)
3 Hello Kitty 3,7,3,3 (16)
by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia
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2:42 PM Sun 6 May 2012GMT
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2012 Top of the Gulf Regatta and Coronation Cup
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