After the ‘Groundhog Day’ results of Flight Nine last week (where Valsheda, Feng Shui and Foundation to 1,2 and 3 respectively in each race), Flight Ten of the Tuesday Night Series saw some hotter competition and greater variety.
JK made a welcome return on Unfinished Business – albeit at the bow, with Chris at the helm and ‘The Butcher’ in the middle.
The breeze was in for Race 1 and prompted a few hurried sail-changes – although not aboard Feng Shui (a decision that was to be lamented on the first beat). As usual, Valsheda was quick out of the blocks, while a naively optimistic starting strategy on Feng Shui saw her squeezed out of the back on the long first beat.
A persistently shifty top mark added to the drama, but on each downwind leg the right held more breeze and saw Feng Shui stage an unlikely comeback, just pipping Scott Kennedy’s Upfront to second place from Valsheda.
A far better start propelled Feng Shui to an early lead in Race 2. Valsheda clawed back in to the lead by holding the starboard tack to the layline, but the wind had diminished for the first downhill leg and Feng Shui passed her to leeward. Unfinished Business managed a credible third – not bad for a bunch of novices.
Race 3 witnessed the most drama – and not necessarily in a good way. Feng Shui fouled foundation in the pre-start and, having completed her turns, struck left and made up several places from those who had taken the lighter left side. Near the top mark, Windward saw off her pursuers by holding on port tack. Some aggressive luffing on the first downhill allowed Feng Shui to clear her air, but ultimately manage only fifth place.
A quick word about the rules. As someone who has spent the best part of this season with a Etrchells on his tow bar and who has been at the wrong end of a port/starboard collision, I can tell you that the Etchells is no dinghy: she is a heavy boat that can cause serious (and expensive) damage.
The port/starboard rules and the windward-boat rules are not just rules of racing, they are navigational rules of the road, to which we are all subject at all times. Mea culpa, of course: Feng Shui fouled another boat before the start of race 3, but she paid her penalty.
Series results here
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.