Team Bluefin, recent 1720 Round the Island race winner is, like all the fleets at Cork Week, suffering with the tricky light conditions. She’s currently fifth overall but anything could happen going in to today’s last races
Events so far in the Cork 1720 fleet at this year’s Ford Cork Week have been entirely governed by the light and changeable wind conditions, and some highly competitive racing writes Alastair Walton from the 1720 Bluefin.
Having won some of the warm-up events during the Spring and early summer, most recently the Round the Island Race, Team Bluefin travelled to Cork expecting a tough time against the some of the fleet’s usual turn-out of world class sailors and the local experts such as two-times winner Anthony O’Leary on Ford Racing.
Considered by some to be the de facto world championship, Ford Cork Week has attracted over 35 Cork 1720s to this event, but found the variable conditions more of a challenge. With the gradient breeze competing with the sea breeze on most days so far, the Race Committee have come up against some interesting challenges when laying start lines and courses. The highly popular format of windward/leeward courses has seen a different winner every day, and few points covering the top 10 boats.
Team Bluefin is currently lying in fifth place overall, subject to the results of a protest hearing. Steering ‘Babbalaas Bach’, it is Rob Larke of North Sails who is making the running with a clear lead over Mike Riley’s ‘La Bouchon’ and Colin Bishop’s ‘O’Fiver’. There is then a group of boats including ‘Flamboyant’, ‘Skullduggery’, ‘Aquatack’, ‘King Louie’ and ourselves that have only a few points separating them, and with two races left on the final day today, there is all to play for.
These Tony Castro-designed asymmetric sportsboats require high levels of experience and concentration to make them perform at their highest, and the slightest mistake in a fleet of this calibre is quickly penalised by other boats close by. However, with occasional 90 degree windshifts making heroes of some and villains of others, achieving any degree of consistency this week is proving difficult. Indeed, as we stand at the bar with Guinness in hand each evening studying the day’s results, we wonder what we have to do reach the same levels of performance we achieve on a regular basis on the Solent – perhaps less Guinness should do the trick!