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The First International Catamaran Regatta

May 5, 2012

The weather was shite.  High thirties (or thereabouts) and blue sunshine all day.  In fact, the weather couldn’t have been worse for a Regatta.  For starters, the two day event had turned into a one day event because of the introduction of Ladies Day on Saturday, since it had just turned May!  Not unexpected, since it happens every year, which does lead me to wonder why the race hadn’t been organised for the last weekend in April, rather.

Edit: James is our main man, who has put a huge effort into developing the club, and most recently rebuilt some older boats, which I had thought were beyond hope, and making them look new.  He said, on Facebook,  in response to my opening paragraph: “If the regatta were any sooner me and nick wouldn’t have had the boats ready in time, we only just managed to do it in the time we had, and everyone including the kuwaitees forgot about ladies day.”

My response is: “It was rude of me not to say that in the first place, cos I did know those reasons. Sorry 🙂 And yes, it was a great day, thank you so much for putting such whopping effort into developing the club. You rock!”

Thanks very much to James, Nick, Donna and Emma who put in a huge amount of work for the regatta; and to John and Vicky who also do valuable work.  It is going so well now, and is a wonderful place to be 🙂

Photo: James Laken

Enthusiasm levels were high, much higher than the wind levels; and Race One got off to a fantastic start.  I can’t really remember much about it, except that the winds were light, and we only started about fourth over the line… a minute and a half after the horn (Marc and I have horrendous disputes about where to place ourselves at the start line… In light winds I want to be close, in anticipation of having difficulties even getting to the line, but he wants to be far away in order to get momentum.  He always wins these disputes – since I allow him to be Skipper, I have to respect his decisions.  Hmph)!

We were blessed as we hardened up around a downwind mark, and James and Emma luffed up.  Our hearts went out to them, but it meant we could shoot past.  Meantime, the Kuwaiti team (who haven’t raced cats before – they’re experience is mostly on lasers) were neck and neck with us; as were the Bahraini team who came up especially for the event.  And there my memory blurs again, the next recollection I have is of us crossing the line first, due to the Kuwaitis having taken the tack for the finish too early I seem to recall.

Fast forward to Race 2.  The winds disappointed us by easing up even more, but we had a fantastic start.  Although we were a little late over the line again, we caught up well, and by the time we were round the first triangle, had secured first position again, with room to spare.  And the we hit the downwind mark, and Marc hardened up as we went around.  And hardened up some more, and some more, and went into a luff, and got stuck.  Exactly as James had done in Race 1.  Bugger.  We lost three places there.  Now it’s my turn to share the blame.  In order to get out of our luff, we tacked.  Since we had tacked anyway I suggested we stayed on this tack.  The tide was with us, and theoretically pushing us back towards the mark.  That was mistake no.2.  Those who stayed on the port tack had more wind as they got out to sea faster… which simply widened the gap before we hit the mark, and with only two legs remaining we didn’t have time to catch up.  So we crossed the line fourth.  Devastating.  That gave us a cumulative score of 5 (since we had a 1 and a 4); the same as James and Emma, who managed to pip the Kuwaitis at the line which they ran straight to, whereas the Kuwaitis tend to do two broad reaches (that takes them over a greater distance, but sailing faster).  The Kuwaitis had two seconds, giving them a score of 4.  Damn, they were in the lead.

11pm, and break time, so the moslems could go and pray.  Whoppers and Chicken fillet on the beach, and then a kip on the trampoline, cos boy was that a long, still break.  Three hours of break.  A light breeze.  A Race Organiser who sat with a deadpan face and told us to chill and wait for the postponement flag to come down. Revolt on the beach.  Nick (a support boat handler on this day) removing the postponement flag.  Boats back to the sea.  A first leg set about 50% further away than it had been on the first races.  Many comments to that effect.  Race started.  17 minutes in, race abandoned.  Victory to the Kuwaitis.

How annoying is that?  Very, cos Marc and I were clearly in the lead on that third race, with James and Emma off to our leeward, and the Kuwaiti boat hard behind us.  That one race could have changed the entire standings.  So personally, I am unhappy with the results.  But that is why regattas are normally held over several days, with at least six races. But it was all clean sport, and completely within the rules, so we simply skulked back to the beach, growled at the poor organiser (OK, I accept it wasn’t his fault), stuck our tails between our legs and went home for a shower; ready to return fresh faced for the awards ceremony later that evening.

Hopefully there will be more photos appearing on Facebook, and I’ll pinch them as they do appear and add them here (with full credit, if that’s OK) since I didn’t have my camera, since we were so busy concentrating on winning!

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