Friday Night League – Race 13 report

Jim Buckley and his crew on Wader assumed OD duties for round 13 of Cove SC’s Friday Night League, last week. In a pleasant Northerly breeze, the mixed fleet of 10 spinnaker class boats and 5 white sail boats were started at EF2 before being sent to a weather mark at bouy number 13, off Cuskinny.  The fleet then ran to a gybe mark at bouy number 10 before reaching to an EF1 finish, via buoy numbers 11 and EF4.

The committee boat end was favoured off the line, with most of the fleet taking the gun on starboard and beating towards Cobh.  Arriving a little late, Jay snuck above Fergus Coughlan’s White Knight at the committee boat end, but had to tack quickly onto port as the Impala defended her position and came up into her preferred lane. The feet split in two, thereafter.  White Knight, for example, choose to stay on starboard as long as possible and delay her tack onto port until she was in sight of the layline for number 13. However, others, such as Bedlam and Sonar choose to tack early onto port and close with the shore before tacking again and seeking to lay the mark on starboard.  As is so often the case, this first beat proved to be decisive. At the head of the fleet, Kodachi, Bedlam, Sonar, White Knight and Jay rounded the weather mark in quick succession, a significant distance ahead of the rest of the fleet.

The run to number 10 was uneventful and passing opportunities were limited. Sonar Bedlam, White Knight and Jay all chose to sail for height in the hope of catching possibly greater pressure on the right hand side of the run. Kodachi, on the other hand, sailed a deeper line and encountered difficulties in the lee of an anchored vessel. Jay lost significantly here. Sailing a little too high, she was caught under-powered as she bore away onto the mark and lost contact with the lead group. She never re-established contact the leaders.

A tight reach was sailed between buoy number 10 and the penultimate mark at EF4. Skippers chose to employ contrasting tactics here.  Sonar dropped her spinnaker and sailed an initially high line for the mark before bearing away and soaking down onto EF4 in good style.  Bedlam and Jay, on the other hand, chose to fly their spinnakers for as long as possible, sailing a deeper line, before dropping and reaching to the mark, under headsail.  Further down the fleet, Away on Business and Gaelic Kiwi had an interesting battle. The Formula 28 came out on top on this occasion, when the GK24 was forced to sail too high in traffic, ultimately missing the mark at EF4 and loosing significant time whilst retracing her steps.

Sonar placed first in IRC with Bedlam second  and White Knight third. Jay won the Echo division, with White Knight in second and Kodachi third. Serendipity sailed well to place first in ‘white sail’.

Overall, July’s top-performers – Sonar and Bedlam, continue to pile the pressure on season-long pace setters – Gaelic Kiwi and Re Eile. Sonar and Bedlam have now placed 1st and 2nd in each of the last three races whilst Gaelic Kiwi and Re Eile’s impressive early season form has been replaced by a string of mid-fleet finishes.