September League – Race review 18/9

Rounds two and three of Cove SC’s September League were sailed in a blustery north-westerly breeze last Sunday. Whilst conditions were not as challenging as those experienced during the previous week’s Blackrock race, 20+ knot gusts were common and the fleet sensibly chose to sail with reduced sail plans.
Starting and finishing at EF1, race officer – Fergus Coughlan set two fine triangular courses, on the day. In race 1, Fergus first sent the fleet to a weather mark at buoy number 13, off Cuskinny before sending them out the harbour to a gybe mark at buoy number 8, off Currabinny.  The fleet then turned at beat back to 13, via buoy number 9, before running back to finish at EF1.
The pin end of the line was favoured, with most skippers choosing to take the gun on starboard and beat towards the edge of the channel before tacking onto port on the layline for number 13.  Damien Ahern’s Re Eile and Rory Allen’s Mystic both started strongly, dominating the fleet off the line. Jay started well but was forced to drop off her preferred lane by the dirty air generated by Mystic’s larger rig. Bright Wings, sailing in class three on this occasion, lead the fleet around the weather mark, closely followed by Away on Business who recovered from a quiet start to join the leaders at the end of the beat. Jay rounded in third, having finally shaken free of Mystic by calling for water at the mark. The trip out the harbour and back was largely uneventful but the strong tide running off Cuskinny caught some out.  Away on Business sailed well and allowed plenty of room at the mark.  Conversely, Jay was sailing well to maintain contact with the bigger boat, only to misjudge the run of the tide badly and lose contact with the leader.
Re Eile was to take the race on corrected time, with Away on Business in second and Jay in Third.  Brightwings claimed first in the ECHO division.  Mystic claimed first in ‘Whites’ with Wader in second and Chanteuse in third.
A broadly similar course was sailed in race 2.  Starting again at EF1, the fleet first visited EF4 before sailing on to 13 and back to a finish at EF1.  The pin end was again favoured.  Away on Business learned from their earlier slow start to time their run well and lead the fleet off the line.  Jay, on the other hand, arrived a little early at the line, losing valuable momentum correcting their approach and taking the gun a little astern of the formula 28.  Away on Business sailed well thereafter to record their first win of the season in IRC.  Re Eile placed second.  A second mistake at number 13 saw Jay loose valuable time again, to place third overall.
The breezy conditions took their toll on the day and a number of boats reported damage.  C’est la Vie, for example, limped home after breaking her tiller. Away on Business damaged their jib halyard sheave, whilst a number of blocks exploded on Jay. With three races now sailed, Re Eile tops the standings in IRC, with four points. Away on Business lies in second with eight. Bedlam and Jay share third on nine.