Whilst there was not enough solid breeze to start the second day’s racing on time, the competitors for day 2 of the Red Funnel Easter Challenge were treated to bright sunshine and clear skies.
After a long delay to the start of today’s racing it was easy for the crews to switch off during the postponement. Even with hours to prepare, crews can get caught unawares when it is time to get into race mode. Switch off and the result can be a poor start and that is something that is difficult to recover from, even more important in light winds.
The race committee was left with a difficult decision, as the predicted south-easterly refused to settle into the race area. However, as with the previous day the RORC race committee decided to get a race off as best they could, setting a tight windward leeward course. The decision was to keep the racing in an area where the wind direction was stable, but this meant there was a lot of traffic in the race area with the larger boats having to mix it with the smaller yachts in other classes. There was plenty of tacking and gybing for the yachts in order to keep clear of boats with right of way.
Jamie Boag, tactician on board Keith Miller’s Crackerjack, the Swan 45 who are currently lying second overall in IRCSZ commented after today’s racing: “We decided to be a big more punchy at the start after the previous day’s racing. We had been a little too conservative so we thought we’d step it up a bit. Keith did a great job at working the wind and managed to get us a good start three boats from the pin end. We went all the way left working with two of the Farr 45’s. We had really good speed and kept working with those two guys. We thought there was better pressure on the left hand end and possibly the tide gradient was more favourable on that side. We got away well and didn’t have the problem of the traffic. It was dream. The second race there was a recall which put us at the back of the sequence so we had to get through all the little boats and 85% of the fleet were on port tack at the top mark then bearing away onto starboard and hoisting their chutes. It was a job for an air controller! Will Best did a top job as navigator as there was confusion as to which was the top mark but he was adamant that he had got it right and he was.”
Peter Morton’s Farr 45 Atomic had a cracking start to the day winning the first race and is currently lying second overall in IRM1 despite an OCS in race 4. Jonathan ‘Boycey’ Taylor mainsheet trimmer onboard commented: “We got off the line very well in the first race in front of all the other Farr 45s. We stayed with the DK 46s along the first beat and then we went away pretty much on the layline. We got round clear and sailed on from there. In the second race we were very tight on the line and close to being over but I think we were alright. We were pretty happy with the transit and we kept a clear lane through as well towards the pin which is what we wanted to win. I think it was very important to win the starts today. There were big holes in the breeze in the first race so there were places where it was quite soft, so if you didn’t get clear air you really suffered. The day has been very low stress and good fun.”
Jerry Otter’s IMX40, Exabyte 2 currently third in IRC1 was in good spirits dockside: “We had a good start for the first time in three races and led from the start. We always knew that if we got a good start, especially in 10-12 knots of wind that we would always beat the Mumms who are our big threat. The start was good because we thought about where we wanted to be on the line and watched the class zeros go and realised it was going to be pin end biased. After the long wait the guys had their heads in the boat and got the result we were after.”
In IRC2 Graeme Brookes entry the J/109, Hi-tension is second overall, Volvo Ocean Race sailing manager Jeremy Troughton is trimming mainsheet and is enjoying the weekend to the full, he commented: “We had two pretty good starts and we were off the line in the right place with height and speed and there weren’t many other boats around us, probably because they were not being too aggressive rather than being in the wrong place. In a relatively short race this afternoon you needed to get off the start line quickly to get yourself in the right position for the first beat. Flair IV had a cracking race with great boat speed and deserved their win.”
In IRC3 there are only two points separating the top three boats overall with X-To-Sea owned by Steve and Jody Maine slipping back to third place after a solid first day, the current leader Skywave crewed by the Royal Signals Yacht Club are just one point ahead of Robert McLeod’s Westerly Fulmar Sareema, so there is everything to play for going into the last day today.
Series Provisional Results (after 4 races)
IRCSZ & Z
1. Flying Glove, Ker 39 – Colm Barrington
2. Crackerjack, Swan 45 – Keith Miller
3. Patches – Team Tonic, Farr 52 – Eamon Conneely
IRM 1 & 2
1. Too Steamy, Farr 40 – Nick & Annie Haigh
2. Atomic, Farr 45 – Peter Morton
3. Creative Play, Farr 40 – H20 Yachting
1. Salvo, Mumm 30 – Peter Morton
2. Mankie, IMX 40 – Jack Pringle
3. Exabyte 2, IMX 40 – Jerry Otter
1. Quokka, Elan 37 – Peter Rutter
2. High Tension, J/109, Graeme Brooks
3. Flair IV, Eln 40 – Nicola Macgregor
1. Skywave, Elan 333 – Royal Signals YC
2. Sareema, Westerly Fulmar – Robert McLeod
3. X-To-Sea, X332 – Steve & Jody Maine