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Henri-Lloyd - For the Obsessed

ILCAs at the Queen Mary Summer Series Week 2

by Mark Lyttle & Tony Woods 10 Jun 06:23 PDT 9 June 2024

Race 1 (by Mark Lyttle)

Doing a couple of half windward legs before the start, I felt there were frequent large shifts and gusts meaning the sides would be dangerous and the right side approaching the windward mark may have less wind in general. My warm-up involved a capsize to windward at 3 minutes to go (thanks for all the smart comments and general banter) but as I came up to the line to leeward of the bunch at the committee boat, I realised we were starting to get a big left shift, so I headed down to the pin.

I saw some nice pressure coming down on the left but also more pressure behind that on the right - did I have the timing right? I crossed the line on port in loads of wind almost on the lay line as the whole fleet tacked on the port. Then less than a minute later we all did an involuntary tack to starboard again (it must have been a 50 degree shift) with some copying my pre-start capsize routine. After a couple of minutes on starboard, there was a slight header and I tacked to port a bit below the lay line (again).

As I approached the mark, I did a couple of quick tacks to avoid the starboard lay line (as per strategy above). Orlando continued on starboard a bit longer but then had little room to take a couple of the headers approaching the mark. Tony had tacked to port under me at the same time, but ended up in a little less pressure as he approached the starboard lay line.

So it was Mark, Orlando and Tony (I think) at the mark. I got a lucky gust down the run and extended my lead and then had loads of pressure on the next beat, stayed on a port lift and then got a nice right shift still in pressure. Approaching the mark again was tricky with a trade-off between going a bit further left for more pressure with the risk of having to sail through headers on the way back. The fleet spread out a lot with the big shifts, Mark staying ahead with Orlando being chased around in second by Tony, then James and Marcus. Deciding the better part of valour is discretion, I headed ashore to protect my recovering back.

Frequent large shifts usually mean one thing - take the lift as soon as possible. If you are more to the side, you need to be lucky to get a sustained shift to get back to the centre (remember the shifts are random like a coin toss not oscillating i.e. you can get two or three heads in a row rather heads, tails, heads, tails...)

Race 2 (by Tony Woods)

Another shifty start but the fleet got away first time with the wind all over the place. James Baxter did well on the right coming into the mark but Tony Woods led followed by Orlando. The three of them had a great tussle on the next beat, Orlando and James finding the right shifts and Tony dropping to 3rd at one point, but at the next windward mark it was Orlando, Tony, James.

On the third beat Orlando made sure he covered Tony carefully, but as they approached the port lay line Orlando carried on into a big shift/pressure on the left whilst Tony tacked back towards the mark in little wind. This allowed Steve Pears to move into 2nd place and James, Guy Noble and the chasing pack to close up.

The last beat saw a massive right shift that changed the game completely with many from the chasing pack pulling through. Tony came out of this well to win the race followed by Orlando and John Curran.

Full results can be found here.

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