Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.
It has been a petulant week of hissy fits and righteous fury - and your correspondent cannot shirk his share of the blame following a slightly intemperate email to the owners.
And then last night it seemed that a final straw had broken a cameline back and got everyone's knickers in a bunch. That straw, not to put too fine a pint on it, is poor sportsmanship and as its weight impacted the collective spine of the fleet, an unnamed sailor was moved to put it thus:
"Don't any of you f$%#ers do your f%*&@ing turns!?!"
Following a series of conversations on the water, on the dock and at the bar I surmise that the problem is a classic case of Kant's categorical imperative (or at least, it's inverse), viz: If no one else does their turns, then why should I?
Well the simple answer is that, if we all chose to ignore the rules we could avoid the trouble of unrolling our sails and simply have a dust-up in the car park. Rules are rules and if you chose to compete, you don't get to chose which rules apply to you and which don't.
Yadda, yadda, yadda. I would like to make three practical suggestions:
1. Read the rules - in particular read the rules concerning mark rounding. A cursory study of rule 18.3 will reveal that those of you approaching the top mark on port have virtually no rights - and my advice is to cut it out before somebody gets hurt.
2. The race committee really needs to set an offset mark.
3. Do your turns: you may not win the race, but you will in the respect of your peers.
In case you do not feel sufficiently chastened, I would also like to re-state the purpose of the recently-instigated roster system.
As previously stated, if your boat is rostered to provide race management then it is your responsibility to provide or procure race-management. That responsibility cannot be abdicated and does not revert to me (or anyone else). I will send out a reminder before the start of the next season.
We are just finalising the NOR and sailing instructions with RNZYS and these will be circulated as soon as possible.
Final Flight Next Week
Let's make it a good one.
O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring.
Cripes, it was tricky out there. After a slight delay to allow the wind to clock through 270 degrees and back 90, the fleet enjoyed 2 and a half races across an ebbing tide, threading the needle through the RNZYS Ladies fleet. It was harrowing stuff and the outcome was never certain (at least towards the top of the fleet).
But the night, it seems, belonged to Anne Marie and Captain Pete (716) who weathered all to post a respectable 2nd overall - held out by a dominant performance by Feng Shui (1348) and just keeping out Affinty (1059).
There are three more flights in the regular season before the Nationals on 5th and 6th April. A formal NOR wll follow - together with a brief schedule of events over the weekend. If, as is hoped, the RNZYS manages the regatta, it is proposed to enjoy a swift sharpener on the dock following racing on Saturday and thence to the Squadron Bar. On Sunday after racing, a brief (but important) prize-giving will then take place at Swashies over a few drinks and some F & Cs.
Results here (Series) and here (Flight).
High winds were forecast for Flight 5 and the fleet was slightly smaller than usual - although looking back only a couple of seasons for some perspective, 7 is a reasonably-sized fleet, particularly when it is charging about a short start line in lively conditions. The experience was heightened further still for your correspondent who had nervously passed the con to guest-helm Zane Gifford.
Perhaps unused to the sportier conditions, the fleet crowded the line for Race 1 and a bun-fight ensued with 5 over the line (of whom only 2 returned). The beat into a relatively slack tide was close, but most of the front-runners cautiously over-stood, allowing Tortuga (779) and Sticky Fingers (1240) to make up some of the deficit incurred at the start.
Your correspondent regretted the gloves he had leant to guest bowman, Alex, on a surging downhill plummet, which brought the bottom mark up all to quickly. Willzy recommends a hotter angle in the gusts in these conditions, which seems counter-intuitive, but would certainly help arrest the Etchells' tendency to U-boat when going DDW.
Affinity (1059) took Race 1 from Upfront (814) leaving Tortuga (779) in a gratifying 3rd place.
Race 2 saw a clean start with almost every boat timing a good run to the line and exploding from the blocks in even fresher conditions. However, by now the waves had increased and served to separate wheat from chaff on both beats.
Vasheda II took Race 2 from a resurgent Affinity (1059) and Feng Shui (1348).
Results are here (Series) and here (Flights).
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.