Shifty Saturday

Giles Peckham reports from the Daring class at the Red Funnel Championships

Tuesday September 17th 2002, Author: Giles Peckham, Location: United Kingdom
On Saturday a fresh northerly breeze gradually became rather patchy as the day wore on and the first race became a game of anticipating the shifts and the puffs. Off the start line, the right hand side paid with the more favourable tide but then the boats that had plugged it out to the left came back ahead with a good breeze.

Devius and Double Knot reached the windward mark first and managed to maintain their lead down the run, despite very fickle winds. Both chose the right hand side of the beat and were lifted up towards the finish line as the wind backed.

Decanter and Streak picked up a lift at the leeward mark and were able to sail up on the inside of the lift, threatening the leaders. However, a handy knock at the end of the beat ensured Devius the win, with Double Knot second and Decanter third.

Decoy got away from the start line with good speed in the second race and picked the shifts well to reach the windward mark with a good lead. Double Knot rounded second and the rest of the pack followed. It was largely a port gybe to the leeward mark and those who gybed early pulled ahead.

Doublet lost her spinnaker halyard up the mast and had to swap halyards with the jib at every mark.

At the leeward mark it was Decoy first, Double Knot second and Dauntless just ahead of Defiant in third place. The race was shortened after one more lap and the top four were in the same order at the finish.

Sunday's wind was still from the north and still shifting in a range of 30 degrees. In the first race, Dauntless took the committee boat end and headed left while Dynamite took the pin end and hit the left hand shift first.

As Dynamite tacked across to the right she seemed to have taken the lead but she then tacked back over to the left and badly overstood the windward mark. Dauntless arrived first with Decanter second. After the dead run the fleet rounded the leeward mark in much the same places. Dauntless then lead the fleet off to the right, and found a favourable shift to bring her in to the mark with a good lead. Meanwhile, Dynamite had worked her way up through the fleet into second place, with Audax in third and Decanter had suffered badly in the shifts and dropped three places.

At the end of the run Dauntless finished first with Dynamite second. Audax had tried to sail around Dynamite by going left but still ended up third.

In the second race, Dynamite was looking good for a start near the favoured committee boat end but her mainsheet car broke as the gun went and she spent the rest of the race struggling to get upwind speed.

Dauntless took the start and when she found the left hand shift in the stronger breeze on the left she managed to tack across the fleet. Medina II had gone right and found a lifting breeze over there too but was headed on the way back in to the mark. At the mark it was Dauntless ahead of Medina II, with Decanter in third place.

On the run, Medina II gybed over to the left but it was not necessary and cost her second place. Audax rounded the leeward mark and found a lift which enabled
her to gain some ground on Dauntless but further up the beat Dauntless found the lifting breeze on the left and extended her lead again.

With no place changes on the run to the finish, Dauntless finished first with Audax second and Medina II third.

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