February 2015

Good day all;

On the 21st Feb a race to Christmas and back was undertaken, due to high winds only three boats participated but with crews from the smaller boats that did not sail. Average wind speed was 16 knots and gusts of high 20’s were recorded. Star Spirit sailed a very good race and utilized the conditions the best and was rewarded with line honours and overall first place (Congratulations to Willie and his crew).

I believe that our system of corrected time did justice to all participants in this race.

I would like to offer some insight into the current projects that we are busy with:

Wikus to place two 750 kg mooring blocks at the front end of the jetty to relieve the strain on the lamppost (very loose).

The leaking drums on the jetty will also be replaced, and worn out sections supported.

Willie will begin purchasing I beams and weld mounting flanges on.MacSteel will deliver. They will be protected with epoxy tar. Wikus will be asked to assist with labour. Noel will be asked to assist with drilling the concrete. The installation will be done in stages according to water level. This will be coordinated by Willie and 3 beams will be in place with the next race weekend on 21 March 2015.
Club house project:This project will be completed by the next race weekend on 21 March 2015. With the exception of smaller finishes. The Club would like to thank Wickus for his tireless effort and personal sacrifice in this regard.
Mooring blocks:Jorrie to follow up with Gerrie with regards the delivery of new blocks.
Finances:Membership fees are due 1st January. Rather than wait to sort out queries, members should be encouraged to pay whatever they thought was correct, and sort the account out later.
Club Boat: The club boat will be available for the race weekend in March 2015.
ITEC: We would like to thank Werner for organizing an R 5 000, 00 contribution from the said Company. They will provide us with a professional main basis image in the form of a whiteboard to be used during our skipper’s briefs before races. In return all they want is some advertisement space on the said aid.
Membership cards:All the cards for paid up members has been delivered to Cheryl our boson, we would like to thank Anton and Marlene for their work in this regard.
Finally a report and our hearty congratulations to Peter How on his prize during the Round the Island race at the Vaal
I trailed my Farrier F22R to Vaal Dam early the Wednesday before the race weekend, rigged and launched the same day and went for a short shake down sail, racing against Lady Bird, a hot F32 from Durban and an F27 from StillBaai YC. The Durban guys had provided me a crew member, as my own had cancelled at the last minute.

The next day we cruised up the lake, visiting various marinas and had a braai on a lonely beach. That night, anchored in the shallows just off the LDYC lawn, I had my first taste of a buster which pushed Wild Thing and Lady Bird aground as anchors dragged.

The first official tune-up race was on Friday afternoon, but it was abandoned due to lack of wind. Then on Saturday morning, the mealie fields again approached with a vengeance at 100ft and we abandoned and dropped all sail just in time. With black clouds and lightning to the west again in the afternoon, I decided not to venture out for the afternoon race. But in the end nothing happened!

The main Round the Island Race first start was scheduled for 08:10 Sunday morning. There were 242 entrants, split over about 4 starts, our being the Ultra Class with about 80 boats. The Ultra Class was for boats with a handicap better than 1.1, which applied to all the fast two man cats, trimerans and sports boats. Our start was first, but with light winds almost everyone was fairly close to the line, so it was pretty hectic. A radio helped.

The line was laid fairly square to the wind. It was long, but pinging the ends allowed me to judge its position quite well, so I just sailed towards the pin end on starboard about 30m from the line, and was able to tack onto a port 20 seconds before the gun, clear of everyone else and hit the line spot on. This clear start enabled us to get clear of the mayhem and we were pointing directly towards the south end of the island at the far side of the lake. Behind us was a couple of Dragon Fly’s and Farriers. Lady Bird was a few hundred meters to the lee of us and at that stage the Nacras, Hobie Tigers and M23 were behind us. Although the port tack in the direction of the first buoy looked to be the best, quite a few boats went off towards Manten Marina, along the west shore, which had paid off the year before. It didn’t this year! We led the fleet for most of the way towards the island, pacing the F32 pretty well, but slowly the super-fast Nacra 20 and M23 caught us up. The wind was only a few knots most of the time and towards the island you had to tack on each header. If you didn’t the losses were high.

We were 3rd around the first buoy.

I tried a short tacking duel against the M23 around the back of the island. But this lightweight all carbon race horse was just too nimble for us and soon a Nacra 20 crept past us on a huge lift. We rounded the next buoy at the north end of the island in 4th place. So far we had been beating the whole way and as we came out from around the island it turned into a beat again. Actually, this was good because it did not allow Lady Bird to use their HUGE mast head asymmetrical spinnaker. We followed the locally based M23 up towards the north shore, whilst Lady Bird kept getting headed up the middle of the lake. By now it was mid-day and the wind had settled in from the west and thermals were forming under small clouds over the lake. Getting the tacking sequence on the shifts right was now imperative. My poor crew was racing back and forth from one lee bow to the next, as I tacked at short notice.

We were halfway back from the island when the next boats appeared from around the island, so we felt quite safe. The keelboats and dinghies, which started 20 min after us, were still on a dead run sailing down to the first buoy.

Eventually we crossed the line in 4th place. A carbon Nacra20 was first, followed by the M23 and then Lady Bird. Our time was almost spot on 4 hours. A Hobbie Tiger appeared suddenly out of nowhere and finished 9 minutes after us and I subsequently discovered that they had started 10 minutes later, so in fact we were delegated to 5th fastest time.

In anticipation of huge groups finishing at once, each boat is given an electronic tag, with the signal being picked up by the committee boat at the finish line, so scoring is spot on. There were a huge number of prizes for different classes. Wild Thing was awarded 2nd place on handicap in the Ultra Class.

This was my third attempt at RTIR. This year I had a lot of luck. Last year I was about 20th and the first attempt, 45 years ago, I was wiped out in a huge storm on my Contender dinghy. It is a fantastic fun event, with a couple of great parties, good food and live music. Andrew Donnoway’s F32 group from Durban were great fun and taught me how to sail faster, by swapping out different highly experienced multihull crews up to the main race.

FSYC has a number of trailer able boats. I strongly recommend that a group of us enter from Gariep next year. LDYC is super venue.