The Saturday afternoon Pacer Team Racing Match 9 was contested in stark contrast to the previous week’s match. After a week of persistently strong south westerly winds this Saturday afternoon turned out to provide a wonderful north easterly of 8 to 10 knots with a clear blue sky. While members enjoyed the live music on the Ndongeni Lawns a large contingent of sailors turned out to participate in Match 9 of the Pacer Team Racing series. It was wonderful to see so many youngsters participating in the event. The Team Racing format is growing in popularity and is set to become a permanent feature in our racing calendar. After 9 matches a total of 58 sailors have participated and it was pleasing to see young member Taine Steytler back on the water after a few weeks break. This week our youngest crew member was enthusiastic Gabriel Pennels, it was also pleasing to welcome a group of youngsters from Gelofte Skool in Pinetown who also joined in the fun for the first time.
With a shortage of experience the light conditions provided an ideal opportunity for the young crews to familiarise themselves with sport boats and the team racing concept. In order to fairly distribute the talent pool the crew members were left to choose their skipper for the afternoon and it was interesting to see that Eli Brophy-Tintinger managed to attract an all girl crew of Chandra Swart and Kaylee while the “old bullets” of Brad Rayson and Rob le Roux managed to recruit youngsters Taine Steytler and Edward Swart leaving Rowan Price to recruit Tricha Gouws and Gabriel Pennels while Chris Coxen enrolled his crew of Rikus Adendorff and Pieter Du Plessis. With the crews settled the girls were allowed to draw the teams from the “hat” and they selected the Blue team comprising of Brad and Eli while the Yellow team comprised Rowan and Chris. As usual the skippers then selected their boat for the afternoon by random selection leaving Pacer 3 and Pacer 4 in the Yellow team with Brad and Eli at the helm while the Blue team consisted of Pacer 1 and Pacer 2 with Chris and Rowan at the helm of each.
Following a short briefing on the lawns the excited crews proceeded down to the moorings and began rigging the boats, leaving the Bridge Crew to set out and lay the course. With the wonderful sailing conditions the deepwater channel off Pier 2 was selected for the afternoon’s race course and it provided an afternoon of uninterrupted racing free from shipping movements while two large vessels occupying the berths at Pier 2 and busy discharging their cargo. The Bridge Crew managed to arrange 3 windward leeward races each of approximately 40 minutes duration, run back to back with no breaks in between and using the 3 minute start sequence to ensure the racing format remained brisk and interesting with the minimum of down time.
Race one was won convincingly by Pacer 4 followed by Pacer 3 providing the Blue Team with their first win for the afternoon while the Yellow team of Pacer 2 and Pacer 1 finished shortly behind. Pacer 4 missed the start of race two after experiencing a problem with their jib halyard which necessitated a crew member taking to the bosun’s chair and being hoisted aloft to solve the problem. Pacer 3 managed to snag a large plastic bag around their keel at the end of the first run forcing them to retire while a crew member dived overboard to free the debris putting an end to the Blue team’s hopes of another win and the Bridge Crew used the opportunity to shorten the race leaving Pacer 2 and Pacer 1 to finish the race levelling the score at 1 – 1. Race 3 started promptly with a dying breeze and the Bridge Crew took the decision to shorten the race after 2 laps and finish the boats at the leeward mark allowing them to retrieve all the marks and follow the fleet home. Pacer 4 was the first to finish followed by Pacer 2 with Pacer 3 hot on her heels while Pacer 1 was forced to retire as the breeze died away completely leaving her stranded some distance away from the finish line and allowing the Blue team to win the afternoon’s match 2 -1. Another magnificent afternoon’s sailing enjoyed by those onboard and those ashore who were able to enjoy the music on the lawns and witness the racing across the bay. If you would like to join the fun and participate in match 10 please contact Margie Harris in the Sailing Office to reserve your berth for next week.