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Shifty Force Three Provides Plenty of Sport for DBSC SB20s

8th September 2014
Shifty Force Three Provides Plenty of Sport for DBSC SB20s

Eight SB20s were treated to glorious sunshine and great racing on Dublin Bay yesterday in a shifty force 2-3 north-easterly.

In a departure from the regular format of three WL races per day, the organisers had decided to run four races for the last two Sundays of series three. By doing so, the fleet would hopefully be able to make up two of the three races lost due to a cancellation earlier in the season and have an eight race, two discard series to finish off the season.

Race 1 saw an individual recall with Venuesworld (Ger, Chris and Rory et al) and Should Be... (Michael, Dave and Gavan) over the line early and having to go back and restart. Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet raced up the first beat with Manamana (Graham, Ronan et al) and Alert Packaging (Justin, Bob et al) leading the charge out to the left side of the course while Seriously Bonkers (Peter, Michael et al) and Smoke on the Water (Bob et al) led the charge out to the right side of the course. As the boats converged at the weather mark, Alert Packaging and Manamana had managed to eke out a small lead and they were followed closely by Should Be..., Venuesworld and Smoke on the Water.

In the light breeze, the boats were in soak mode which meant greater opportunity to cause havoc with your wind shadow on the boats ahead and the fleet stayed closely bunched together down the run with several place changes occurring. At the leeward gate, the fleet favoured the port hand leeward mark and Manamana rounded first followed by Should Be... and Venuesworld. The fleet played the shifts up the second beat and down the second run and Should Be... managed to close the gap on leaders Manamana to just a couple of boatlengths at the second leeward mark. With only a short beat to go to the finish, Should Be... attempted to engage Manamana in a tacking duel up the last beat. Should Be... tacked onto starboard a couple of boatlengths after rounding the leeward gate and they were quickly covered by Manamana, only for Should Be... to tack back onto port a few boatlengths later. Manamana crossed and tacked back onto port in a very close cover however Should Be... flicked back onto starboard immediately as Manamana were completing their tack. Cleverly refusing to be drawn in, Manamana continued on port and picked up speed before tacking back onto starboard into a loose cover on Should Be... the boats were now both on starboard tack in a sprint to the finish with Should Be... to leeward but closer to the favoured pin end. At the finish, Manamana held on to win by 1/2 boatlength and both crews collapsed into their boats in an emotional heap! Venuesworld finished in third ahead of Smoke on the Water who had a storming race to finish in 4th ahead of Seriously Bonkers in a very creditable 5th place.

Race 2 also saw an individual recall with Rubadubdub (Nick, Caroline et al) the unlucky culprit this time. Unfortunately for them, they were stuck in the middle of a fleet charging to windward with no way to get back quickly other than to let their sails flap and let the fleet sail by around them before making their way back to restart. Odin (James, Ted et al) made a great start at the committee boat while the rest of the fleet were spread out down along a relatively square line. The majority of the fleet drag raced out to the left side of the course with Venuesworld, Manamana and Should Be... leading the charge out left. Venuesworld were the first to tack back towards the right followed shortly afterwards by Manamana and Should Be... A left hand shift coming up towards the weather mark gave Should Be... a lead over Manamana and Venuesworld. Again, the fleet stayed tightly bunched down the run and up the following beat but there were less place changes amongst the leaders this time around and it finished Should Be... in first followed by Manamana in second, Venuesworld in third, Alert Packaging in fourth and Odin in fifth.

Race 3 saw the (whole!) fleet get away at the first time of asking in a lighter breeze. This time, many of the boats attempted to play the shifts up the beat as the wind was shifting regularly through 20 degrees. Alert Packaging, Manamana and Venuesworld had favoured the left side of the course while others including Should Be... went up the middle-right side of the course. When the boats converged at the top of the beat, it was very even and Alert Packaging crossed the fleet on port tack including Should Be... by no more than 12 inches! At the weather mark, Alert Packaging rounded in first followed close behind by Odin, Should Be..., Manamana and then Venuesworld. Alert Packaging gybed off early into a rich vein of pressure and held their lead down the run followed closely out left by Odin and Manamana while Venuesworld and Should Be... continued out right down the run.

As the boats came towards the leeward gate, the wind shifted towards the right, favouring Venuesworld and Should Be... who were coming in hotter than the boats that had gone left down the run. Venuesworld was the biggest mover and had made great gains down the run, getting up from fifth at the weather mark into a very close second a couple of feet behind Alert Packaging as the boats approached the leeward gate. There was plenty of action at the leeward gate as Venuesworld attempted to get a late overlap inside Alert Packaging but Justin Burke on Alert Packaging has been around too long to let that happen and expertly shut the door on Venuesworld. Venuesworld, having taken evasive manoeuvres to avoid Alert Packaging, rounded inside but slower than Should Be... who was able to sail around the outside of Venuesworld and up into second place. Up the second beat, Venuesworld, Should Be... and Alert Packaging all tacked off onto the lifted starboard tack. When the expected header came, Should Be... were a little further left than their closest competitors and they were able to tack and cross Alert Packaging to take the lead. Should Be... held onto that lead all the way to the finish. Behind them, Manamana recovered after the run to round the second weather mark in third place, sandwiched between Odin and Alert Packaging. Manamana managed to squeeze their way ahead of Odin down the run picking a very nice line to gybe in to the leeward mark and finished second while Alert Packaging also managed to get by Odin to finish third, one ahead of Odin in fourth with Venuesworld rounding off the top five, having surrendered their previous gains.

Race 4 started with another clear start with the fleet spread out along the line. The majority of the fleet once again favoured the left hand side of the course up the beat with Venuesworld, Manamana and Should Be... leading the fleet out to the left side of the course. Venuesworld was the first of that bunch to head back towards the middle with Manamana and Should Be... continuing on to close to the port tack layline. Alert Packaging, having been forced to tack onto port shortly after the start, made a great recovery up the first beat and came right back into the thick of things as the boat approached the weather mark. Alert Packaging crossed Manamana and tacked to weather of Manamana just before Should Be... could duck them. However a slow tack on Alert Packaging allowed both Should Be... and Manamana to get bow out and squeeze Alert Packaging out before the mark. Manamana expertly went into point mode and squeezed Should Be... out before the windward mark. Rounding in first was Manamana, followed by Should Be... in second, Alert Packaging in third, Venuesworld in fourth and Odin in fifth at a very tightly bunched fleet at the weather mark (see photo attached). Down the run, Venuesworld were the first to gybe onto port followed by Manamana and Alert Packaging. Should Be... stayed on a bit longer and gybed outside and to the right of the other boats on the way down the run.

At the leeward gate, Should Be... had snuck into the lead from Manamana and rounded the right hand gate as Manamana took the left gate a couple of boathlengths later. Alert Packaging and Venuesworld followed Should Be... around the right hand gate with others including Seriously Bonkers and Rubadubdub choosing the left hand gate. Shortly after rounding the leeward gate, the wind gradually began to veer from the previous high heading on starboard tack of 20 degrees up to 50 degrees, leaving those boats that had rounded the right hand gate in a spot of (ahem) trouble. Manamana regained the lead and extended on the fleet while the rest of the boats were embroiled in a dog fight behind. The boats that had taken the left hand gate made large gains while the boats that had chosen the right hand gate continued on and prayed for a left shift. The left shift (taking the wind back to a heading of 30 degrees - still a big 10 degree lift relative the days previously high heading) arrived just in time close to the end of the beat allowing those boats out left to stay in the running. At the weather mark, Manamana led by 8 boatlengths from Rubadubdub in second overlapped to weather by Should Be... in third. A kite snag on Rubadubdub at the weather mark allowed Should Be... and Seriously Bonkers to sneak past them down the run and it finished Manamana in first, Should Be... in second, Seriously Bonkers in third, Rubadubdub in fourth and Alert Packaging in fifth.

Class Notices:

Next weekend (14th September 2014) sees the final SB Sunday of the season with four more races to look forward to. I would strongly encourage you all to get out there and make it a send off to remember.

We are short one pair of hands for the committee boat next Sunday and would be grateful for a volunteer. If anyone needs any encouragement all I will say is that this weekends team are all in work this morning sporting a healthy tanned glow after the sunshine yesterday and the initial forecast is for more of the same next weekend. If you are able to help out, please get in contact with me directly.

I look forward to seeing you all next weekend for SB Sunday No. 10 and four more great races – Michael O'Connor

Published in SB20 Team

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