Friday Night League – Race 2 Report

May’s cold and inclement weather continues to impact sailing in Cork Harbour and fleet numbers are down, across the board.  However, Cove SC members are made of stern stuff and four enthusiastic crews turned out to participate in round 2 of the club’s Friday Night League, last weekend.

Whilst some aboard Jay were heard to bemoan the fact that they sail in Cork and not in Sydney, the harbour is a wonderful sailing ground and the fleet enjoyed a tremendous, if occasionally chilly sail powered by a steady 5-10 knot northeasterly breeze over an ebbing tide.  This was, in no small part, due to the careful work of Bombora’s Liam Alastair and Paul Kenny, who took charge of the racing on the night and sent the fleet on two rounds of a excellent triangular course between buoy numbers 9, EF4 and 16.

A committee-boat start was favoured on this occasion with most skippers choosing to reach in to the line on starboard before hardening up and hooking the committee boat, on the gun.  Some congestion inevitably ensued, as Re Eile pushed the fast starting Away on Business off her lane and over the line early.  Jay and La Chanteuse, coming from a little deeper than the others, had untroubled starts.

The beat to buoy number EF4 was uneventful.  Jay and Re Eile sailed in reasonably lose proximity for much of this leg, ahead of La Chanteuse and Away on Business, and placings at the windward mark were uncertain until the closing stages of the beat when ReEile failed to lay the mark and had to tack away.  Jay consequently led the fleet around the mark, followed by a fast recovering Away on Business, Re Eile and La ChantueseAway on Business sailed well to come back at Jay during the off-wind legs but the J24 enjoyed a healthy lead for the rest of the first trip around and was not troubled at the head of the fleet.

Fleet tactics came into play during the second beat to buoy number EF4.  With a lead to defend, Jay chose to play it safe – simply hardening up on port and seeking to stay out of the ebbing tide whilst watching for a tactical move from behind.  Away on Business duly obliged and tacked onto starboard, presumably in search of the tidal counterflow running across the northern edge of the bank.  Jay responded quickly, only to sail into a significant wind hole, loose patience, and tack back onto port.  Away on Business made huge gains, closing to within a few boat lengths of the leader, at the windward mark.  This setback notwithstanding, Jay again rounded the mark at the head of the fleet, a position she did not relinquish for the rest of the race.

Jay placed first in both the IRC and ECHO divisions, followed by Away on Business and ReEileLa Chanteuse won the White Sail divsion.  Jay now leads the Friday Night League, overall.  Re Eile lies in second with No Half Measures third, Away on Business fourth and Bombora fifth.