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Around the Island Race

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Hi all,

had a good turnout of catsailors at the Gippsland Lakes Y.C. today, for the Round the Island race, F16 Blade, A class Flyer, 2 x Mosquito's with spinnakers, Mosquito sloop rig and 3 x Arrows.

Wind was not up to it's usual standard for the Lakes it was mostly under 15 kts. and very patchy and shifty. With a Northerly wind fighting the seabreeze which is usualy South Easterly.

The start was very messy with a combined start with Trailerables and Keelboats all on a tight reach. I got the best of it with Tim S on the mossie threatening, then the sloop rig mossie Henry (Tim's son) and Tim W came flying up nearly taking the lead. But the wind settled a bit and it was soon a battle between the F16 and A, with the A to windward of the F16 getting a head as we went into the straits.

The A held the lead all the way along passed the Ferry to my surprise as the windward side of the straits usualy has more dead spots than where I was sailing on the leeward side. Eventualy my local knowledge payed off and the F16 pulled ahead of the A, wind around this time was gusting up to trapeze strength occasionaly on a tight reach. The A and F16 where pulling well ahead of the Mossies and Arrows with the extra mast height, helping to get clear wind above the trees.

As the straits opened into Lake King, the wind became more consistant with the A coming back at the F16 as they where both trapezing fully on a tight reach. Around the light in Lake King we now turned on to a very long one tack loose beat with the wind around 12-15kts. the A gradualy over hauled the F16. By the time they got to the Nortern most point of the island the A had a 100m lead over the F16 and the Mossies where well back. In fact when Tim rounded this point he felt the F16 and A had the edge on Yardstick.

It was finaly time to go hard on the wind into Lake Victoria and round a marker buoy to keep us away from the shallow water near the island, wind was in the 15kt range and water was getting choppy. I made a mistake and tacked early letting the A get some 200m ahead of the F16 by the buoy rounding. Then it was another tight reach, but the wind faded out ahead and the F16 caught up to the A a little, until I to hit the lighter wind, which progressivly died out eventualy leaving the A still ahead and the F16 becalmed with zephyr's of wind coming from any direction. Looking back I could see Tim and Neil on the Mossies heading well away from the island towards a wind line on the other side of the lake, I thought surely that was the breeze that was fading away from us, but no the Mossies tight reahed on trapeze right passed the A and F16 becalmed some 500m to leeward. Until they to ran out of wind.

Neil had made the most of this fading breeze and held a good lead over Tim and the A with the F16 200m behind. But finaly the gods smiled on the F16 and I found some breeze filling in from behind along the island so it was kite up and keep gybing back into the filling breeze to stay near the island, the Mossies also had there kites up but had dead wind behind them.

Soon the F16 had passed the A and Tim on the mossie who where still caught away from the island in lighter breeze. With Niel on the Mossie ahead trying desperatly to get into the pressure the F16 was in, I even had to go on trapeze in the gusts. Soon Neil on the Mossie and I where going gybe for gybe, chasing the stronger patches of breeze. Neil having a small lead as he rounded the light in Lake Victoria, at this stage the Mossies and F16 where pulling away from the A which was not enjoying the light running conditions. Spinnakers Rule :grin:.

Neil on the lead Mossie gybed back into the island straight after the light and made the most of the breeze again holding a few boat length lead on the F16 when they next crossed. But the wind was building again to around 12 knots enough for me to trap on the F16, at which point the F16 accelerated away from the Mossie cool.gif. Allowing me to have a 100m lead at the southern most point of the island, where spinnakers where dropped for the short tight reach to the finish line in the straits.

So the F16 Blade was first over the line after all, what a relief. But of course Neil on the Mossie with spinnaker cleaned up on Yardstick coming second over the line, well ahead of Tim on Mossie with spinnaker third over the line, again well ahead of the A class Flyer fourth over the line.

Special mention must also go to the first of the Arrows which finished well enough to mix it in the Yardstick results with the faster cats.

So what looked like a race where there was going to be little spinnaker work advantaging the A class, turned into something else, maybe there is a spinnaker wind god. wink.gif

Regards Gary.

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