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Blade fist visit to Somers Y.C.

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Hi all,

Somers Y.C. is on Westernport Bay Victoria Australia. It offers challenging conditions, as it is open to ocean swells in some wind directions and very strong tides up to 6 knots.

I took the Formula Catamarans Australia Blade down to race against the local A's and Tornies and have a look at who had turned up early for the Asia Pacific Tornado Titles.

Many overseas teams where already out training the ones I saw where Danish, Greek and 2 Russians along with Bundy and Ashby but there where many more around.

Whilst the Tornado's where arriving the locals where having club racing. Saturday was planned for 2 races consisting of 4 windward leewards and 1 triangle, great F16 courses smile.gif.

First race started in a gusty North Westerly (offshore). The first beat A's and Tornies did what I expected in winds gusting to 20 kts. leaving me behind, but as I approached the windward mark the wind swung to the south, the start of the expected southerly change. The Tornies under spinnaker where caught below what was now a reach leg to the leeward mark allowing me to catch up and beat some to the mark. Around the mark for another reach and it was really starting to get wild, hanging in the back strap going flat out reaching in 25-30kt winds. The Tornies ahead where starting to slow up feathering into the gusts, but I was still going for it with one Tornie passing me below, with the crew hanging out the back in white faced Terror :shocked:. But of course it had to come to a end, the Tornie and I hit a stronger wind line 30kts plus? Capsizes followed, I remembered previous experience in these conditions and hung on to what I could the trap handle, as I dove to clear the main sail. No sooner had I hit the water than the Blade was on it's side dragging me along, the shockcord snapped of course and I was left hanging on to the trap some 8m. from the end of the mast. I was being dragged so fast that I couldn't hold the trap line at first all I could do was hold the handle, after a while the wind dropped a little slowing things down enough that I could work my way hand over hand to the mast and then down the forestay, which slowed progress as my body weight dragged the bow into the wind. By the time I got the boat up I had travelled about 1km. redface.gifoo:

The race was abandoned shortly after giving me time to get to the beach and fix things back together for the second race.

Second race Sat. Eventualy started in about 10 kts. with small sloppy waves. Giving marginal trapping for the first beat, I found myself out pointing the A's and Tornies and with a couple of lucky shifts was second to a local Tornie (06' Nat champ)and ahead of the others including the Danish Olympic team who had decided to join in for some fun. But being a lake sailor I forgot the tide and hit the mark catching the line with my long mad.gif centreboards. By the time I had sorted myself out both As and local Tornies where past. But up with the kite and sitting in and running deep I passed all but the front local Tornie who was closely followe by the Danes. The order remained the same for the rest of the race with the wind dropping at times to around 5-8 kts. so mainly sitting on side upwind but still enough to fly a hull downwind. The Danes eventualy overhauled the local Tornie to take the lead but the two where so engrossed in the match race they missed the shorten course flag, allowing me to take line honours as they went off for another lap redface.gif. I was very happy with the performance of the Formula Catamarans Australia Blade in these conditions, feeling after snagging the buoy I realy had not lost much on the front Tornies. Just to confirm my downwind speed I dropped in on the Danes on the way back to sure and was able to hold them downwind for a km. or so. :grin:

Third race Sunday, southerly 12kts. onshore, small chop and swell. Off the line trapezing, again out pointing Tornies about the same as A's. Going ok until I put in a tack and had local Tornie sail over the top, tacked away and got the beat all wrong, last around top mark, tangle made for a slow hoist, but sat on side and took off after A's, picked them up by bottom mark, but again a tangle in return chord found me with kite flogging below bottom mark mad.gif. Only one local Tornie close. Pulled my finger out and got things going properly. Made some good layline calls against the tide and gained some distance on last of local tornies, with Darwin Tornie well in the lead. Wind built just enough to trap downwind I felt as it allowed me to catch and work the swell, held distance on local Tornies and pulled away on A's lap after lap, until the triangle to the finish with the last of the local Tornies rolling me as I dropped the spinnaker on the reach to the finish. A very enjoyable sail after the first lap, finishing with a good lead over the A's and within Yardstick distance of the local Tornies. cool.gif

Suffice to say the locals and Internationals where very impressed with there first look at a Blade. :grin:

Regards Gary.

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