There’s a grumbly old sailing photographer’s saying that goes, ‘For good pictures you need three things – breeze, waves, and sunshine. You can get away with only two of them, but one just isn’t enough.’ So we are rather sad to report that today Hughie provided no sunshine, no waves, and precious little breeze. 4-6kts max was reported from the Committee Boat. So if today’s pics are not up to snuff – sorry.
However, what little there was did all come consistently from 050 degrees, and RO Simon James successfully sent away two races for the IRC Racing and IRC 1 divisions, three for the Sportsboats (Platus), and one for everyone else. Windward-leeward courses for the racing fraternity, and an elongated one-lap w/l down the harbour and back for the remainder.
After yesterday’s marginally dusty opening race, Neil Pryde and the crew on HiFi clung on to the coat tails of Frank Pong’s Jelik for the first lap of the course. At the finish, and with everyone tiptoeing around like cats on custard skin, Jelik had 6½ elapsed minutes on HiFi, but HiFi had 57 corrected seconds in the bag. Yesterday’s winner, Utarid, had a shocker of a race, beaten by her sistership, Uranus, and winding up sixth overall. Utarid came back strongly in the second race of the day, scoring second place just six seconds behind HiFi as she scored her second win for the day and went straight to the top of the leaderboard. ‘It’s terribly difficult for us to hold our time against the HiFi in these super-light conditions,’ said Pong at a press conference afterwards. ‘We never get up to the sort of speeds that would allow us to exploit our waterline length. And HiFi are very seasoned and consistent performers. We’ll give them the best run for the money that we can, but it is going to be very hard indeed to beat them in the light conditions forecast for the next few days.’ HiFi has a score to settle at the RLIR, as it is the only major Asian regatta that Neil Pryde has not won.
A pecking order seems to have been established in IRC 1 division, with Phoenix (Nils Degenkolw) scoring 1,1,1 in the three races so far, followed by Nijinsky (Jeff Harris) on 2,2,2 and Skybird (John Kara) with 3,3,3. It’s the same story in Multihull Racing, with Mojo (1,1,1) ahead of Fantasia (2,2,2), Miss Saigon (3,3,3) and Andaman Cabriolet Nina bring up the rear with 4,4,4. And if that isn’t enough consistency, the scores in Multihull Premier read Prima Donna 1,1; Vertical Time 2,2; Ivory Street 3,DNS.
There was a lot more boat-on-boat action in the Sportsboat division. The boats are Platus, specifically designed for light airs racing in Asia, and of course they are One Design. A platu, for those not in the know, is the Thai name for a small fish.
If it’s a tough call trying to race the stripped-out top division boats in 2/10th of not much, it is even harder trying to keep a cruising boat on the move. So all praise to the patient sailors in the Club Class, Bareboat and White Sail divisions. Every tenth of boatspeed is precious, don’t tack too often, and don’t breathe too heavily is the order of the day. If anything, that’s even more important for the Ocean Rovers. And in case you need to be reminded how every second counts, consider that today Sirius beat Eveline over the finish line by 40 minutes – but lost on corrected time by 23 seconds.