Report on the Jervis Bay Regatta
5/6 November 2011
- The big conditions on Saturday’s Round the Bay Race were a rigorous test of the square top mains –18 kt NE at the start that built to 25+kts and big seas at the Creswell end of the Bay, increasing during the course of the Race;
- <em>P-Plater</em> didn’t seem to lose any boatspeed with their pin top main;
- Difference between the two sail plans is, once again, confirmed to be controllability;
- Good test for Woof’s re-cut pin top main – they had good boat speed
- Sunday racing in 12 to 15 kt NE and flat water;
- Close and challenging – illustrated by dead heat for 4th between Escapade and Huntress that had to be broken by a count back;
Places changing throughout the four heats.
- A well run series and good social time on Saturday night.
The 2011 Jervis Bay Challenge started in 15+ Knot North Easterly. Escapade had 5 on the rail and had good speed carrying our new Hood square top mainsail and matching jib. We were pacing Evergreen to the first mark off Callala when we were both forced to evade a skipperless P-Plater on port tack. P-Plater’s crew hauled Aaron back on board, took a penalty and headed off to the far right hand side of the course.
The long beat to the top mark gave us time to fine tune our sail trim and to find some boat speed over Evergreen and confidence that we would be first to round the first mark. P-Plater recovered well from their man overboard incident. Banging the layline paid off for them and saw the Kiwi boys hit the lead and set their kite in the now around 20-knots of breeze.
Escapade rounded second with Evergreen hot on our tail. When our kite went up we broached and Evergreen had to take evasive action before setting off at speed after P-Plater. We regained composure and set off going deep to keep the boat upright. Escapade was heading straight for a large P&O Cruise ship moored in the bay when we dropped our spinnaker and two-sailed up to the mark off Honeymoon Bay. After gybing round the SE mark we again set spinnaker and set off square running across to Creswell a long way behind Evergreen and P-Plater. We rounded the Creswell buoy around 5-minutes behind the leaders on the long beat up to Plantation Point. The wind strength and chop had built considerably and we were somewhat overpowered in the now 20+ knots. Rounding Plantation Point we dropped off a large wave to see the tack pull out of our new jib. We were able continue sailing on main only for 5 to 10 minutes while our crew changed to our number two jib. The smaller jib was the better choice in the now very heavy conditions.
This senior citizen was feeling the strain and not looking forward to the 2 windward leeward laps. It was heavy going but the combination of the smaller jib and square top main was much more controllable than the pin top on P-Plater.
We watched Evergreen set a spinnaker and blast downwind. P-Plater followed suit and got into difficulty before dropping their kite. We decided on survival mode as our place was not under threat and we thought not we were likely to make up a place.
Another lap and another upwind slog. We were gaining on the P-Plater and close enough to see them broach on gybing the top mark for the last time. We did a granny at the top mark and set off on the last downwind run again without a kite. No idea what the wind strength was, but whitecaps everywhere.
The final upwind beat saw us finish third only 1-minute behind the Kiwis. Maybe we should have risked that spinnaker.
Racing in the 4 windward leeward’s on the Sunday was very frustrating for us in having to use a small headsail in only 12-knots of breeze.
Lessons learned -
- Get some downwind sailing lessons from Mike Green.
- Rather than a press in ring on the jib tack, have a solid stainless steel ring fixed securely with webbing. (Hoods happily repaired and reinforced the sail free of charge)
- Take a spare number one jib to regattas.
Following from Huntress
Huntress had great boat speed in the opening windward legs of the course. Dicing with P-Plater which was generally sailing higher, and crossing constantly.
Rounding the Callala mark, Huntress opted to reach high for better angle on the leg to Honeymoon Point and cracking 18 kts of boatspeed while two sail reaching. Thrills galore, but those who went low, set kites and survived the ride did better.
Great three quarter ride on the leg to Creswell, surfing the big waves from the Heads. Huntress broached to windward, which got a bit exciting, but got everyone back on board to continue. Last around the Creswell mark. Held onto No. 1 headsail for the work back to Hutchison and got smashed with the full sized jib. Ended up getting exhausted and giving it away after amazing rides, survival and huge admiration for the new shape main. Suspect, because we were well behind the others after our gybe, we had the worst of the bottom end of the Bay as the breeze and waves built.
Lessons to learn about when to change down to smaller headsail. Too much power into the waves with the big jib and green water over the bow.
Close competition in all four races. What class racing is all about. Huntress had blinding boat speed at times and great when we picked the right breeze. Generally sailing lower and faster for good VMG, but able to outpoint when needed. Lots of lifts and shifts.
Huntress leading the fleet on occasions in a couple of the races and down the back at others. Several interesting tactical battles. Boats finishing within boat-lengths of one another.
Lessons learnt - The position of the jib fairleads seems to have a big effect and the right combination of rig tension and vang pressure for the square top main needs further exploring.
Having to retire a crew member below from injuries of the previous day didn’t help, but illustrates the challenges of this Regatta.
We’ll be back for the next Jervis Bay Challenge.
Thanks to Neil Primrose and Peter Barter...