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Queen Mary Sailing Club Spring Series Week 6

by Marcus Bird 16 Apr 04:32 PDT 14 April 2024

The QM Spring Series is now half way through and Marcus Bird returns to take 2 bullets in a display for extraordinary light wind lake racing - what did he get up to on his holiday?

Light Westerly winds - force 2 for the first race rising to 3 for the second, but its was patchy with some occasional lulls where the wind dropped on parts of the course leaving some of the fleet becalmed at times.

Race 11

The first start of the day was pin end biased, with most of the fleet stacked up towards the final 3rd of the line. Tony was in the mood for giving gifts on his birthday, leaving a gap for Markus to duck into and avoid an OCS. A number of boats tacked off straight away heading along the right hand side of the beat and were pointing not far off the windward mark.

The flag on the windward buoy was indicating the wind coming from a more southerly direction and at one stage it looked like Gary and Markus, who were leading on the right, would fetch the mark without tacking back onto starboard. Which was why it was a bit surprising that a fair number of the fleet persisted in sailing left off the line, or like Tony tacked back early onto starboard (another gift for Markus) and made their way to the left hand side. The wind eventually did fill in by the dam wall and lifted Gary and Markus on starboard into a huge lead at the windward mark which remained unchallenged. James and Andrew tussled for 3rd and 4th, with James going low on the run into the finish and edging into 3rd place.

A bit of a dispute further down the fleet about Andy not giving sufficient water for the 4 boats inside him at the final downwind mark, but he was exonerated by the class captain at the post race analysis - gift number 3 from Tony.

Race 12

A nice force 3 to start the second race. Pin end bias again, but much more of a beat, with an oscillating wind making it about picking the correct shifts rather than guessing the correct side of the beat or looking for pressure. The fleet more bunched at the windward mark as a result - led by Markus, Andrew, Daniel and James. I think Rupert would also have been in the leading bunch but for his graceful slow motion capsize to windward.

Markus just managed to retain the lead at the bottom mark. James sailed too high and lost out to Daniel and Andrew. Shifty beat again, but Daniel stayed marginally further right on the approach to the windward mark overtaking Markus. Guy making great progress as well and rounding 3rd.

Daniel and Markus failed to capitalise on their lead and at the start of the final beat it remained very close between the Daniel, Markus, Andrew and Guy. Markus and Andrew tacked off immediately - more to clear their air and not follow Daniel rather than spotting the emerging starboard lift. This paid big time and half way up the beat the wind shifted back to port leaving Guy and Daniel a bit stranded on the right. Steve and other also making big gains by going left.

Last run was nervy for Markus as Daniel and Andrew seemed to be getting through by going lower, but the wind filled in to windward and Markus was able to finish first followed by Andrew 2nd, Daniel 3rd.

I think with a light shifty Westerly breeze with the windward mark under the dam wall it's more about picking the shifts than picking a side of the beat. And when it's a light wind it's always easy to tack back quickly if you got the shift wrong.. Exception being that 9 x out of 10 there's always a nice rightly into the mark sometime in the final 3rd (something to do with the dam wall) so worth being more right than left approaching the final part of the beat.

Final gift of the day from Tony was the award to Markus and Andy of the prize for best ILCA sailors in 2021 and 2022 across all series - the lost trophy having eventually been recovered from the back of Chris's wardrobe - apparently.

Results can be found here.

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