In comparison to the prospect of an evening of office-based toil, a fresh north easterly breeze with lots of sunshine and a decent swell for SB20 based surfing had the makings of a far more enjoyable latter portion of a Thursday writes Dave Sweeney. That said, there was some niggling doubt in this author’s mind as to whether racing was going to go ahead, as the Dublin bay buoy had been posting gusts the other side of mid 20’s pretty much all day. After checking ahead with the skipper who was already down by the waterside, all looked good and the usual scramble to get out of town and down to the pontoon by 6PM was on.
We launched the good ship venuesworld.com and made our way out into the bay where the NE breeze had whipped up a fairly lumpy sea state and the OOD had set course D2 which was duly noted (for the time being). There were two other vessels in the SB20 fleet this evening, Alert Packaging and Defiant and the small but competitive fleet were bunched at the committee boat end as the gun went with Alert just nudging ahead and forcing venuesworld.com to tack off her lee bow shortly after the start and split off to the right.
This initial split proved favourable to venuesworld.com and as the tide inshore was slightly less foul, and resulted in a narrow lead as the boats converged half way up the first beat with this lead maintained around the first windward, closely followed by Alert and Defiant. Kites went up and off we tore down the bay, spray flying everywhere – the breeze was somewhat slacker as we approached the next mark compressing the fleet somewhat.
There was some place changing on the second upwind leg with Defiant and venuesworld hooking into a right-hand shift which swapped 2nd and 3rd place and this order was maintained as we slogged to windward in the heavy air and lumpy sea, and after some slogging we rounded East, undertook a short two sail jaunt to Molly and popped the kites again headed back towards the shore. This time the wind had picked up a bit more again and the speedo on venuesworld topped out down a wave at 18 knots, great craic altogether.
The rear quarter of an SB20 screaming across the bay in these conditions proved to be a less than optimal place with which to dwell on the finer points of navigation and the intrepid crew of venuesworld chose to aim the bows at Battery instead of Bay (as per the course card, which actually blew away in a subsequent attempt to check it), only coming to the realisation of our error as we were on our side after broaching near the (wrong) mark while attempting to drop the kite. Defiant and Alert Packaging had chosen to follow Venuesworld and by the time all was under control in the leading boat, the chasing pair were also bearing down fast towards the wrong mark.
With the kite dropped and feeling somewhat humbled, the crew of Venuesworld made our way to and rounded the correct leeward mark with the chasing pair also enduring a period of head scratching until the error was realised and the whole fleet corrected their course and continued on with the finishing order being venuesworld.com in the lead followed by AlertPackaging.com & Defiant
With the wind whistling in the shrouds on the pontoon and an even lumpier sea state setting in as the tide was turning, the après sail pints were tasting good.