Racing on St. Patrick’s Day should have been a sunny green affair. The weather forecast early on Saturday was for a nice breeze, moderate temperatures and sunshine. The DMYC committee took the sensible approach of planning to race outside the harbor and to complete two races if at all possible.
Sadly, the morning of St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin had the snow and sleet and very light winds that appeared in the forecast on Saturday afternoon. Ah well…
The fleets drifted slowly towards the starting boat, which was set in a similar location to March 3rd and which was flying the postponement flag. Many boats set out to find the right tuning for the day, tacking off upwind from the boat and hunting for the right settings while the committee set up a 2-lap course.
The OK Dinghy and GP14 went furthest and were then horrified to hear the horns ending the postponement and beginning the starting sequence. The OK Dinghy was fortunate to make it back and rounded the committee boat right on the gun to get an undeservedly half decent start just behind the Ryan brothers in Richard Tate’s RS400. The GP14 was still 30-45 seconds from the line. The IDRA14s and O’Hare’s RS400 started closer to the pin end.
Up the first beat it seemed that the start and the course were reasonably fair, or possibly with a slight advantage to the right. The two RS400s led the way, with the 470 next and the OK Dinghy ahead of the IDRA14s. So far it was pretty standard stuff, but that wasn’t going to last.
The angles on the reaches suited the RS400 nicely and the Ryans disappeared into the distance really quickly, with O’Hare next. The 470 led the OK Dinghy which was struggling to keep the IDRA14s behind it on the reaches as their spinnakers paid off. Rounding the leeward mark ahead of them was vital for a decent result, particularly with the GP14 making a storming charge up the field.
The 2nd beat was where things started to get interesting. The Ryan RS400 easily made it around the windward mark and onto the reaches, but the wind started to ease for the rest of the fleet. The 470 slowed dramatically (pinching?) and the OK Dinghy started to catch up. The GP14 was still charging. It overtook the two IDRAs and seemed to be holding or even closing on the OK Dinghy until the last 100m of the beat.
Apart from the wind dropping, the tide was now starting to run upwind, adding further complication. The Ryan RS400 was nearing the leeward mark already and had thus missed most of the problem, but for the rest of the fleet the positions were won and lost on the first reach of the 2nd lap. That reach had now become a super light-wind run, into a strengthening tide….one of the hardest of all courses to sail.
O’Hare had gone left looking for breeze and didn’t seem to find it, finally reaching back to the gybe mark at a very high angle. The 470 just about kept moving with the spi filling fitfully, but the OK Dinghy was now very definitely catching up and even overtook a competitive Fireball. Sitting STILL on the foredeck of the OK Dinghy does seem to work!
Meantime, with the wind lighter and lighter, the spinnakers on the GP14 and IDRA14s were now essentially useless and the group of three 14-footers got increasingly dropped off the pace.
A handicap race in a dying wind always suits the fast boats, and that’s what we saw this week. The Ryan’s RS400 took the win by 4:48, a huge margin.
The OK Dinghy was 2nd, having somehow kept moving on the light wind reaches and finally finishing only 50 metres behind the 470 on the water. O’Hare was 3rd a further minute back on corrected time, with the 470 four minutes further back in 4th. The 14-footers finished in a tight bunch more than 11 minutes down on the leaders, with the GP14 barely but deservedly ahead of the two IDRAs.
Needless to say, there was no 2nd race and the sailors cruised home slowly.
In the overall Series 2 results the OK Dinghy is still in the lead, 6 points clear of the GP14. Pierre Long’s IDRA14 is only 2 points further back in 3rd.
Results are here.