Peninsula Signal 8 at Cork Week: day 2

Peninsula Signal 8 coming off the pin in race 4 - Cork Week 2012
© Brian Carlin | Cube Images
Yesterday we had the second race day at Cork Week, and for our fleet it was the good old Olympic course: triangle, sausage, triangle, sausage, small beat to the finish. The breeze was again offshore, NW around 8-12 knots, but with a forecast swing to the southwest and a good chance of freshening to about 15kn - and an equal chance of dying away... Tricky stuff.

Race 3: We started decently a couple up from the pin and held our lane well above Ntanda the X-46 until, as the fleet peeled in the first lefty, we flipped on the hip of Tonnerre and straight-lined into the top mark. The breeze swung slowly but surely left and Gloves got the best of it to almost lead Tonnerre round the top mark but not quite, and we got our weight movement really going well to round in third with Brevity. The reach was now almost too tight for a kite so we held the hoist for a while and then set and rolled up to the two boats in front, and an instant gybe at Mark 2 got us nicely into second behind Tonnerre.

The second reach was now a run, so we VMG'ed down the left side, and with a tidy enough rounding we were off up the beat in great shape. We really got into the groove for the next few legs, even though the run hurt us as the guys behind came round in much better pressure than us and we lost some time. Again, we nailed the beat but unfortunately couldn't benefit too much from the reaches as the RO couldn't shift the marks because every leg had boats on it and so the first reach remained a two-sail reach and the second reach was a run.

But we sailed well to extend away to a winning position on handicap, until a hard puff right at the bottom mark gave us a slightly exciting drop which would come back to haunt us later... We got the beat dead right again, and were well in the lead until half way down the run the twisted guys needed to be fixed by having a man go out the end of the sprit, and the next things was we had a man overboard and had to turn the boat up into the wind to retrieve him. Fortunately he did manage to hold on to a rope, but it cost us some time, and then we got cruelly punished as the pack behind rounded in the first of the building backing breeze and proceeded to straight line it to the bottom mark in pressure while we had been VMG'ing all the way down. Tonnerre also had finished before the light patch we were in, so we got carted both ways and finished sixth on corrected. Tough stuff.

Race 4: The breeze was well left now and showing signs of going even further, so we set up under the pack and came off the pin in awesome shape, and as the breeze went hard left almost immediately we flipped and laid the top mark in one. Quite why the RO at this point didn't abandon and re-start nobody will ever know, but it made the rest of the race a bit of a farce as we fetched the top mark on every beat, the first reaches were close fetches, the second reaches were one -gybe runs, and the runs were broad reaches. A tactics-free zone! Combined with the fact that the breeze built to around 15 ktn so each of the 10 legs was taking about 4-6 minutes to complete, it was more an exercise in boat handling than boat speed, and when you rate 1.194 on a 40-footer, you need a but of runway to stretch your legs and get some separation. So this one was hard, although at least we got to pop the A4 for the last run and finally experience a bit of serious pace on the boat as the breeze puffed to about 16kn and we got up and planed. But it was too little too late, and we finished fifth.

So, some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue. This day we were the statue. But tomorrow is another day, the Slalom Course which looks likely to have more short legs and multiple roundings which isn't great, but we're getting slicker and faster all the time. Forecast light and variable with rain. Woop woop!