Saturday 18th May Race report.

Saturday 18th May started off dull, cloudy and despite thermostats confirming temperatures of 16degrees + it still felt cool. A full crew was expected with all 4 boats racing with 19 crew taking to the water. Winds were initially N 10kts gusting 14Kts but as the race progressed veered to NE dropping to 5kts at race end. A low neap tide at 15.03 made for a light wind fetch against a strengthening tide at the finish.

An A6 course (Saoirse, Molly, Asgard, Boyd, Middle, Turning,) yellow line hut start. The following fleet, squibs, Mermaids and Glens were given an A7 course which may have caused some confusion – more anon.

Some skippers elected to helm the start while others handed the stick to a member of crew. Course and wind direction to first mark Saoirse meant that pin in start was favoured and that was the option Estelle and Garavogue took. Naneen and Geraldine on the other hand started in close to the hut. Naneen had windward advantage alongside Geraldine at the start signal and briefly smugly held lead position however Geraldine managed to nose ahead to leeward and, having established a lee bow position on light winds, soon powered away.  

After ceding to Geraldine Naneen began to lose height falling under Geraldine’s line giving the white boat further advantage of weather positioning on the fleet who were all on starboard tack. Shortly after, Estelle, followed by Garavogue, tacked out to sea crossing clear ahead of Geraldine with Naneen in last position. Geraldine and Naneen held on starboard heading towards the lay line which was in the vicinity of the course area being used by the Dun Laoghaire Cup event hosted by the RIYC. As luck would have it the fleet were between races and Geraldine navigated a clean path to the lay line. Naneen following on a lower line were not as fortunate having to tack before the lay line to avoid interfering with the fleet who were just starting. Meanwhile Estelle and Garavogue coming on the opposite tack seem to have lost out a little with Geraldine reaching Saoirse Mark first, followed by Garavugue who had overtaken Estelle while Naneen was a little way behind having had to do a few extra tacks to round.

After rounding Saoirse in 2nd place Garavogue headed in towards Scotsman Bay while the other three Twentyones headed directly east searching for Molly. As the fleet approached Molly Garavogue appeared to realise their track error and, with a significant course change, was soon charging back to the fleet but with a lot of ground to make up from 4th place.

After rounding Molly, Geraldine led Estelle back to Asgard with Naneen doing all to catch up. There was no change in positions around Asgard and Boyd marks and a good gap was maintained between the two leaders and Naneen and from Naneen to Garavogue. On the long beat to Middle however a mistake by Estelle saw them change course away from beating to Middle. Later it was revealed that there was confusion on board as to the course with Merrion being promoted instead of Middle. When they saw that they were on their own with that choice they turned back again however in doing so lost further to Geraldine and ceded some ground to Naneen. Geraldine rounded Middle in the lead with Estelle, Naneen and Garavogue following. At this point the latter 3 boats were much closer, and optimism rose in the latter two with the possibility of improved finishing positions.

Tide was now a factor to consider as the flood tide was firmly established and with a softening breeze, tactics to deal with both simultaneously was required. Geraldine was soon slowly passing Turning and heading to the finish on a fetch against the tide. Estelle, leading the rest of the fleet was on starboard run, and aiming more towards Turning mark. Naneen remained on port tack and kept a higher line to Turning using the tide to crab to Turning mark and avoid overshooting. Garavogue initially followed Naneen on port tack but then gybed and in doing so sailed a lower line losing any chance of position improvement.  

 Estelle held on to 2nd position followed by Naneen close behind with Garavogue, still fighting hard to shorten the distance, remained in final position.

Final DBSC result

1.     Geraldine

2.     Estelle

3.     Naneen

4.     Garavogue


Key takeaways from the race

1.     A good start is half the battle. Geraldine won the battle with Naneen at the start and soon powered away.

2.     There was a significant starboard tack bias to Saoirse and Geraldine staying on starboard out to the lay line, even managing to find a path in front of the sports boat fleet, achieved the reward of 1st at Saoirse.

3.     Knowing the course at the start and setting a navigational track accordingly is critical. Garavogue went from 2nd to last with this error. Estelle also lost ground on similar basis but having had a strong lead and recovering quickly were able to hold 2nd position.


Ashore the usual après sail banter and refreshments made for a lovely end to a good day on the water – Summer is settling in at last ! ????