Commodores day turned out sunny - that's a change. We were very lucky after all the rain in Saturday and the forecast for Monday. Not particularly hot, but nicely warm with a gentle westerly varying between NW and W. Starting near mark three before the start I was finding starboard tack varied between pointing at five or at eight. That's a good 45 degree variation. When the Topper started it was definitely port end - almost a beat down the line - but by the time we started the wind had come round so much that it was starboard biased. I went for a fairly safe start going to leeward of anyone who looked like they might be able to close the door on the committee boat. On the gun I was just a shade down from the committee boat and on the line. I wasn't going as fast as I'd have liked but I was in the right place. Peter C was a bit further down the line moving nicely. Chris in the Streaker was just behind me but to windward. I suspect he was a couple of seconds late but going faster - I'd say he possibly had marginally the better start but we both started in clear air. In front we had the Topper, Feva and Magno to catch. Up the first beat Gareth powered away but Chris had a great leg pulling clear of the rest of the Solo fleet. By mid race Gareth had overhauled the Feva, the Feva had taken the Topper, Chris was closing in on the Feva but behind the N12 was starting to work through the rest of the Solos. Peter and Mervyn as usual were having a really close race with Peter ahead early but Mervyn slipping by on a tricky beat. As the clock ran down Gareth had established a good lead and the N12 had worked past everyone else. Behind the N12 it was really close with the Rooster just ahead of the Phantom and Streaker and the fleet really coming together.
A word here about the slight unfairness intrinsic in a pursuit race. Normally we have handicaps - like ours at 1150 so the accuracy (one handicap point) is about 3 seconds an hour or 4.5 seconds in a 90 minute race. For a pursuit though we start on the nearest minute - that means an accuracy of 60 seconds in 90 minutes. we calculate the exact timing relative to the Topper but then round to the nearest minute so a start of15 could be anything from really 14.50 though 15.49. Some classes gain from a round down, others lose from a round up but it's the best we can do. Fortunately the Topper handicap seems to change from year to year so the winners and losers change. Also by having 60 minute pursuits in the winter, 75 normally in the summer and 90 for Commodores day we spread out the winners and loser in the rounding. That's why Chris started with us although the Streaker's handicap suggests it is slightly slower than a solo. Both our start times rounded to the same minute.
30 boats in the pursuit - and the first eight places went to different classes - so despite the rounding errors it can't have worked out too badly. If I recall it right we had Solo, N12, Rooster, Phantom, Streaker, RS200, Laser, RS300
(not necessarily in that order) though the first three are correct.
On TUESDAY we would like to introduce the Trysail fleet to SOLOs. They have been sailing the club boats but i'd like to show them what a modern Solo looks like. I will of course be making my boat available but would it be possible for a few more members to make their boats available (obviously only if conditions are suitable). The more we can encourage people to join our fleet the better it is for everyone.
Many of you probably remember Mike Barnard - long time Solo member and one of the architects of Try-sail - sadly his wife passed away last week. For those at Commodores day a card was signed by many long time members which the club will be posting to Mike.
SATURDAY is SAIL FOR GOLD.
We're looking for a mass participation for the round the island race. This will operate like a Grand Prix qualification - no fioxed start time, just a lap timed from when you cross the grid and complete a lap. The course is very simple - round every mark in order. (Unless the wind dictates otherwise).
See you Saturday