Lucky 13 for Starflash
Thursday, 7 March 2013
The change in conditions from the previous week could not have been greater as crews took to Lough Neagh for race 13 of the Antrim Boat Club Winter Series
The strong winds had disappeared - in fact the breeze was barely enough to sail by - and flurries of light snow drifted across the bay.
It was the last race of the competition but Starflash had already put the result beyond question with only one second place among her host of red rosettes.
The race officer set a short course as slow boat speeds were expected and the crews prepared to race for pride. The fleet drifted around behind the start line, trying to keep wind in their sails, before moving away at exactly 2.30pm.
It was plain that the nimbler boats would benefit from the light winds. Jezebel pulled out an early lead of three minutes after the first lap of the triangle course but the windward leg was in towards the shore with all sorts of factors affecting the wind.
The veering and backing wind made the decision to sail the outer side of the course or towards the centre a difficult choice.
Jezebel took the outside and Starflash, far enough behind to observe any advantages or otherwise, took the centre line. Starflash back-tracked down the way she came looking for and finding steady predictable wind, as Jezebel was forced to tack numerous times to keep her sails driving towards the mark. Jezebel's advantage rapidly eroded and Starflash reeled her in at the end of the second lap.
In these light conditions Sonata was trailing even at the early stages as she and The JamieJess found it impossible to keep in contact with the main fleet.
However Tic Tac was making the most of the conditions, her weight and fine lines allowing her to maintain speed and keeping her in contention with Corinthian.
Both boats had taken a less extreme course choice and were sailing as if tied together. They realised that catching Starflash was unlikely and, relying on their handicap advantage to beat Jezebel, they knew the winner of this tussle would take second place in the second half of the series.
Starflash's crew experience was obvious with slick sail handling and good tiller work finding the impossible breeze. Demonstrating why they had won every race but one since the series started, they crossed the line first followed by Corinthian and Tic Tac.
Results: Starflash, Pat Kelly; 2, Corinthian, Andy Speedie; 3, Tic Tac, Peter Frazer; 4, Jezebel, Alfie Mayrs; 5, The JamieJess, William McIlvenna. Committee boat: Frank Hamill, Alan Reilly, Willie Creighton, Ivan Crozier.
Send to a friend
Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.