A day at the races
Article and photos submitted by RMYS Member Steve Thompson
Well, three days actually but who’s counting.
A 16 -strong fleet of identical S80’s headed to Sandringham Yacht Club on Friday 11th January for three days of intense, nail biting close racing that is the State Titles.
RMYS was represented by Take One (Kellie Knowles), Rock ‘n’ Roll (Stephen Barker) and Espresso (Rebecca Irwin and Steve Thompson).
Unfortunately the RMYS Mood Indigo entry was a scratch due to Keith Chatto still recovering from knee surgery (although I was wondering if they had thrown in a face lift while they were on the table?)
The first race, held in blazing sunshine, was set to start at noon but the wind had contrary ideas. By 12:30 we were underway in a 5 knot breeze from the south’ish.
With a fairly short start line there is always plenty of argy bargy but all got away nicely when the hooter sounded.
By the end of the first beat the usual suspects had arrived at the front and rear of the fleet. The race continued over the next hour with some very close photo finishes including Espresso beating Escape for 10th place by 2 seconds. It is quite common in the S80 races for the entire fleet to be halfway down the last leg as the winning boat crosses the line. Oh the joys of one design racing where catching a lift can put you up five places and fluffing a jibe and put you back five places.
The next race was around the SYC cans and was deliberately long at 13.5 nm in a breeze that started at about 8 knots and finished at about 15 knots with a big swing from SE to Southerly over that time.
Alas the RYMS boats adopted the position of shepherding the fleet home from the rear (to ensure there were no strays being left on the bay). This strategy was adopted for the entire regatta.
Saturday was once again glorious sunshine but with significantly more wind. The first race started at 10 am with winds of around 18 knots. This is where the skills of the top boats really come into their own, somewhat assisted by heavy crews, they appear to have a knack of steering these little boats through the chop to keep them moving but still point high (with a skill that the author has found to be somewhat elusive).
Shortly after the start of the race we hear on the VHF that there is a “Man Overboard” from Intrusion with Imaginer standing by to render assistance. The SYC rib was there in a jiffy and the sodden Intrusionite returned to his rightful place on the boat which subsequently retired from the race. It turns out that three actually went overboard when a welded loop on the pulpit failed causing the safety line to fail. One hapless soul could not hang on but the other two managed to get back on board. Note to self, remember to tie on a bit of rope from the safety line around the pulpit and pushpit bars in case this happens.
This bit of bad luck as glorious news to Moonraker who pressed on to win the race and take over the leader board.
The second race was a debacle at the start line (of course I got my best start of the regatta going full tilt at the boat end) resulting in the one and only general recall.
The U flag was announced and raised (U meaning “U will be disqualified” if you are OCS which I discovered to my detriment in the 2018 States) but all boats took a sensible tablet with boats hurtling up the first part of the beat at 5.5.to 6 knots.
By the third race of the day winds were 20 to 25 knots with knotted kites and rounds ups plaguing some of the fleet with Stephen Barker from Rock n Roll losing an argument with the boom resulting in a cut and swollen cheek.
Mercifully the races were kept short as more wind was filling in from the south so we were all ensconced in the safety of the marina by 2pm.
Kellie then discovered a broken inner stay turnbuckle mount which was very lucky not to have resulted in a broken mast in those conditions. Bas Huibers from Merak was able to lend a hand and more importantly a replacement for the offending part and Kellie was all good to go for the final day.
Two races starting at 10 am would then determine the victor with it all coming down to the last race (this also occurred in the 2018 State Titles).
A delightful 12 to 15 knot breeze greeted the fleet and once again close racing was the order of the day with Intrusion prevailing over Moonraker to take the title for the 11th time in 22 years with Imaginer taking the last place on the podium.
Unfortunately, another battle with a boom was lost by Katrina from Take One in the last race resulting in a precautionary trip to the hospital but all is well that ends well.
Thanks to SYC this was a great event, very well run and organised and we look forward to RYMS doing likewise in 2020.
RMYS Member Steve Thompson