The Singapore SB3 fleet held the first of its quarterly weekend regattas over the weekend of March 12-13th at Raffles Marina.
The format of nine races over the weekend, with five on the Saturday and four on the Sunday, with a windward / leeward of two laps has worked well in the past, and was the format for the weekends racing. With nine boats entered, only seven boats made it to the water for the Saturday. The fleet was looking to get five races in on the Saturday, and with the crews getting a float at 11:30am the wind looked like it was going to play ball. Singapore has typically two seasons depending on where the monsoon is, and this tends to determine the prevailing wind direction.
The race committee got things underway at 12:15, in a very pleasant 12knots, with a little tide running, and overcast skies. The first start showed up those crews that had spent some time on the water recently, with Fabrice in Alidada (last years runner up), getting of the line in the second rank. The first beat also showed some of the rustiness in the crews with a couple of 'bangs' being heard on the race course, as port / starboard crossings were misjudged. The first beat saw Alidada round in first (despite the slow start), with the rest of the fleet, rounding the mark together. Again, practice paid off, with a few 'slow' kite hoists. Chris on Bandit, despite rounding last, picked up a number of boats on the downwind leg, to round in fourth. The second leg, saw close racing upwind, and another close mark rounding. At the close, Alidada came away in first, David in Tara second and Bandit third.
The second and third races were all sailed on the same course, with crews starting to remember what to do and when to do it. For the fourth race, the fleet started on the same course, and rounded the windward mark, but then the wind decided to have a break, and the fleet stopped! About 20mins later, a new wind line appeared from the opposite direction. The race office saw sense, and shorted the course, with all the fleet, except Bandit finishing. Bandit, eventually, more by luck than by judgment sailed through the finish line, just within the time limit, finally allowing the race officer to reset the course.
With the course now reset, the final race of the day got underway with very little wind, Fabrice showed the fleet the way home. It was a notable race, as 1) the thunder and lightning started, with many crews starting to get a little nervous about sitting in a boat with a black sky, being split by magnificent thunder bolts, and 2) Red Gum, picked up a lobster pot, which caused their retirement (and even worse did not have any lobster in!). The fleet returned in the ever increasing rain, to some cold jugs of beer. Day 2
With Alidade ( 4 bullets and a second), Glasgow Kiss and Su me second and third respectively dreaming of what could have been but wasn’t, day 2 couldn’t come quickly enough. Apart from the number one slot secured by Alidade several boats on Saturday had their moments with Tara and Redgum recording a couple of seconds.
After a night’s rest for some, drinking for others, the skipper and crews arrived at the dock to be greeted by warm sunshine and what looked liked a day of light wind, ….sound familiar? Actually turned out OK on the water with a relatively steady 5 – 10knots from the north with the odd hole here or there. Seems Glasgow Kiss was pretty good at finding them.
Katana and Scumbag joined the fray, and unfortunately Chris Holmes in Bandit couldn’t make it on Sunday. Actually any boat getting a good start and finding the right side of the course was likely to be in the running for a 1/2/3 placing finish.
Some interesting starts, the usual shouting and some dubious line timings ( perhaps missed by a kind eye on the committee boat ) meant that all four starts were clean, apart from an interesting port charge from Alidade that resulted in an almighty bang with Su Me ( $##@ me ! ) was the call I remember. Unbelievablely Alidade did their penalty and still found themselves at the front of the fleet with Scumbag managing to hold them off in the last race for a well deserved bullet. Several boats finished seconds apart, and it was good to see such closely contested racing in nearly every race. Katana had two seconds and looked good on the water but with Saturday races missed could not make up the deficit, nor could Scumbag. Tara and Dutchess struggled a bit on day two, but really for all boat placings came down to mistakes at mark roundings, gybes , and whether you chose the right side of the course, and we all managed to do that at some point in the weekend.
Apart from their port starboard /misdemeanor Alidade sailed virtually flawlessly the whole week-end to earn a well deserved fist over all with Su Me second one point ahead of Glasgow Kiss and Red Gum.
Thanks to RO, Joe Howe and his team who did a great job getting in 9 races completed, as well as coping with 180 degree wind shifts on Saturday.
Thanks to Bill and Marcus for organizing the event and Prakash for his endless work.
Special thanks to our new sponsor, Zhik Sailing Gear, for their support of the event.
See you at the next race week-end in June.