The seven Fireballs who raced in the DBSC Tuesday series last night were treated to near champagne sailing conditions. Boats launched in a good breeze in warm balmy conditions with the first sightings of shortie wetsuits evident. Wind was a very solid NNE reinforced by a sea breeze established over the course of a beautiful sunny day. After a bit of hopping around the race committee set a W-L course with three rounds of the "X3"-course, a teaser course really as that X effectively adds an extra round with a downwind finish. By the time the race was set up the wind had softened somewhat but was still a decent 8knots gusting up to 15. The boats got cleanly away off the line with Butler/Oram, the Clancys and Smyth/Fischer opting to head in initially for a short hitch towards the harbour wall before taking the longer port tackup towards the windward with a filling tide helping them towards the mark. This paid off against those who went out immediately off the start line. The tricky bit out to sea was judging the starboard layline as the tide was pushing boats below the layline ever so slightly. Miller/Donnelly fell victim to this, having to gybe away at the mark behind the chasing boats losing several places. The placings of Butler/Oram, Clancys, Smyth/Fischer didn't appear to change through the legs. On subsequent beats the majority went straight out to sea and although there sometimes appeared to be better wind in towards the harbour those who went out always retained their lead.
Race 2 was set in similar conditions, a bonus of the long summer evenings. In fact if anything the wind improved for the first part of the race. By now the tidal flow was slack or even starting to ebb and there was little difference evident between those who went in our out to see. The Clancys took the former course as did Miller/Donnelly while Butler/Oram and most of the pack went straight out to sea. The three boats were very close together by the windward mark with Butler leading the Clancys and Miller, with the rest of the bunch close enough behind. The order remained the same almost throughout the 2X (ie really three round) race. The main tactical decision was the timing of the gybe on the downwind, not an easy call in the lightening breeze and on a leg with other classes sailing different angles. Several times boats found themselves blushing and sailing by the lee in the slop as they approached the leeward mark, clinging on to the all important inside berth. It was not a soldiers race however as the Clancys managed to punch through Butler's lead on the final beat and held him off to take the race. This was a most pleasant evening's racing.
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