First two races of Cork Week yesterday (Monday). There are about 10 boats in our class, which is pretty small compared to pre-GFC Cork Weeks, but the quality is high. Every day of Cork Week has different courses, and today was the 'Trapezoid Course' - a beat, then a pretty tight reach, then 2.5 sausages followed by a short reach to the finish.
Race 1: Breeze was offshore, NW 8-11kn; we came off the boat end in good shape and as the breeze phased left we flipped and led the pack out to the right where the pressure looked better. This was our first chance to pace against Antix and Tokoloshe in a real race, and so it was great to find we were going much as expected, and moved out nicely from our ahead/leeward position.
The breeze filled a bit better down the middle of the course as it turned out, so that Tonnerre (Ker 46) and Brevity (Swan 42) came out nicely at the top mark, and we rounded fourth just behind Toko. Along the reach we took the high road and with the A1 up we blew nicely over the top of Toko and Brevity into a clear second by Mark 2. Down the run we had our first chance to see how the pole went, and it gave us nice options as the pressure became patchy, so we extended decently on the pack. Tonnerre was flying away ahead in clear air (that's likely to be the case all week!).
Up the second beat and down the second run we caught some nice shifts and extended significantly, and although there wasn't anything major in terms of breeze we felt we had done well. Gloves Off (Corby 38) was having a great race, but Antix in particular was very deep, so there were definitely some snakes out there along with the ladders. In the end on corrected it was Tonnerre from Gloves from Toko and then us.
Race 2: The forecast was for the breeze to fade and veer over the course of the day, with rain coming in. We came off the line two up from the pin with Tonnerre and Antix below us, and carried on out to the left because there was a rainstorm on the edge of the land which seemed to be sucking away some of the wind over there.
Sure enough the boats that went right had a horrid time, and we rounded a clear second behind Tonnerre. The breeze had also swung a bit left, and the reach was tight, so we held a little high before hoisting the A1 but then carried it nicely pressed into Mark 2, before turning downwind for the run to Mark 3. The breeze was definitely fading now, and we used the pole but very close to the forestay, and really went away down the run.
We were in great shape at the bottom mark, and headed out right on the beat before deciding to flick back to the middle left about half way up, which turned out to be a poor decision as the raincloud out the right this time brought pressure and a veer, and Toko and Brevity made decent gains on us. But we were still in good nick, and as the breeze faded we went better and better and eventually crossed in a clear second on the water only to be pipped by Gloves who had another blinder and TIE with Toko to the exact second!
So like we expected, in 7-11 it's tough, but we're putting in scores that keep us in the hunt. Tonnerre looks amazing and obviously as they are deep into their fourth season they have really got her modes sorted. Today's forecast is for slightly stronger winds, and it's supposed to get really peppy on Thursday.
Heading off to Club now in fleece and salopettes, just as a HK Observatory text comes through on my phone alerting me to the Very Hot Weather Warning just posted in Hong Kong. The search for the happy medium continues...
by Jamie McWilliam
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7:16 AM Tue 10 Jul 2012GMT
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