One Summer Saturday race completed

A Peroni-sponsored beer was a welcome reward for the race management team and sailors who made it back to the Garden Bar at Hebe Haven Yacht Club on Saturday, the 27th of June 2020, after a trying and testing Day 2 (Race 3) in the Peroni Saturday Summer Series.

After the abandonment of racing on Day 1, the grey clouds and 12- to 14-knot southerly at least looked promising as race officer Nigel Slattery, assisted by Eric Tomter and volunteers from Temujin,dropped anchor on the committee boat off Shelter Island.

However, once the grey clouds and shower had passed and the sky cleared, the breeze swung to 40 degrees and dropped to barely four knots. Oh dear.

With the time for the first warning signal fast approaching, Slattery had little option than to raise the postponement flag and rethink the courses. Originally a 21-nautical-mile course had been selected for IRC, which was then reduced by five nautical miles. HKPN, Sportsboats and the J-80s, if any showed up, were also scheduled for a 21-miler, which was reduced by six nautical miles, while the Dragons had their 15nm course shortened by seven nautical miles.

By 1400, the wind was at 120 degrees but less than one knot. Fifteen minutes later it was back to 190-210 degrees at 3.9 knots. Sensibly, it was decided to dispense with a windward mark, the postponement flag was lowered and, at 1435, the eight boats in IRC set off for Steep (p), Bluff (p), Trio (s), Table (p), finishing at Little Palm Beach.

Given the considerable bias the pin-end was the favoured end and the impressive TP52, Alpha+ (ex-Luna Rossa), was first across, chased by Kingsman and Rampage,in the six-knot breeze from 164 degrees.

The Sportsboats were out in force with 10 on the line for their start at 1440, still in a six-knot breeze that had swung 30 degrees to the east. No Rush got the better of Ricochet over the line . . . but only just.

The breeze was back to 140 and eight knots for the HKPN start with 11 boats. Bits & Pieces was fortunate to be there since, despite probably having the most experienced crew on board, all familiar with the waters of Port Shelter, they managed to hit the rocks while leaving Hebe Haven.

Both Sportsboats and HKPN headed for Steep (p), Port Shelter Mark (p), Trio (s), Table (p), also finishing at Little Palm Beach.

The 10 Dragons were last off at 1450 with the wind back at 134 degrees but holding at seven knots. Celineswas first away overhauling the tailenders of the HKPN fleet – Authority and Mystique. Their short 8nm course comprised Table (s), Steep (s), Trio(p), Table (p), finish at Little Palm Beach.

Unfortunately, conditions in the vicinity of Steep Island were like a mill pond with barely two knots. Still, Alpha+ coped well with the conditions and was first to round the mark, hoist its kite and head for Bluff, followed by Kingsman and Rampage.

Havoc was the first Sportsboat to the Steep mark, hoisting its kite and heading for the Port Shelter mark chased by Gnarwhal, which then struggled to get its kite flying.

Bits & Pieces was sailing well and was the first HKPN boat at Steep, having overhauled several of the IRC boats including Arcturus and Moll.

Celinesappeared to be leading the Dragon fleet, heading for Steep.

Given the conditions, the race officer chose to shorten the course, setting up the finish line at Table where there appeared a relatively constant four to five knots.

Alpha+ was first home at 16:44:25 for line and handicap honours in IRC. Kingsman finished 2nd and Rampage 3rd, with positions reversed on handicap. Unfortunately Moll missed the 1830 cut off and, for the second weekend in a row, and much to the anger of the skipper, finished with another DNF.

Havoc took line and handicap honours in Sportsboats with Red Herring II2nd and Fly By Wire 3rd.

Bits & Pieces had a comfortable lead in HKPN to claim the daily double over H3O with Bucephalus 3rd. However, H3O faces a protest by Bits & Piecesfor not sailing the course, to be heard on Wednesday. Ichiban was sailing well until a mess-up with its kite on the downwind leg to Trio took some five minutes to untangle, costing them several places. Both Mystique and Fuzzy Duck missed the 1830 cut-off.

Despite leading the Dragons early on, Celines slipped back to 7th with Mei Fei taking the honours ahead of Eaux Vives and Elfje, while Phyloongretired.

Pleased to have at least got one race in the series completed, the Peroni came as a welcome reward.

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