Saturday afternoon provided sailors with yet another wonderful Durban winter’s day with ideal sailing conditions. With no prospect of shipping movements the racing was undertaken in the deepwater channel off Pier Number Two with a light southerly breeze blowing. The, by now usual, team racing format was followed with 3 windward leeward races of approximately 30 minutes duration each and consisting of 3 laps per race sailed back to back to with a 3 minute start sequence which ensures competitors and the bridge crew alike are kept on their toes for the whole afternoon with no time for sitting back. With a large number of new crew members joining the fleet for some afternoon fun the crew selection required some careful balancing between experience and novices, following the juggling the crews were as usual allocated their teams and boats for the afternoon by random selection resulting in the following interesting pairings:
|Team||Yellow Team||Blue Team||Yellow Team||Blue Team|
|Boat||Pacer One||Pacer Two||Pacer Three||Pacer Four|
|Helmsman||Chris Coxen||Rowan Price||Michael Boorman||Greg Donkin|
|Crew||Spamandla Msomi||Jason van Onselen||Vanessa Mills||Cindy Trathen|
|Crew||Kathy Van Onselen||Dario Ferraro||Alex Andreone||Mark Futcher|
|Crew||Noel Van Onselen||Jarryn Van Onselen||David Andreone||Hannah Donkin|
It is always wonderful to see so many family members participating in the afternoon Team Racing and enjoying the fresh air together with some good fun. With the light breeze the afternoon provided a perfect introduction to sailing for those participants joining the fleet for the first time.
Race one saw Pacer Four taking an early lead at the first windward buoy followed by Pacer One and Pacer Three with Pacer Four taking up the rear. This provided the first opportunity for Pacer Four to come to the aid of their teammate with some great duelling and tactics between the teams. The Team Racing format always provides much excitement for spectators and the Bridge Crew with the constant changing of positions. This week the yacht Magenta anchored just off the centre sandbank at the end of the channel taking advantage of the afternoon’s good weather were treated to some spectacular views of the yacht racing.
The strategy of Pacer Four covering the Yellow Team proved successful with Pacer Two edging ahead and by the end of the downwind leg Pacer Two managed to lead the fleet although Pacer Four was by now at the back of the fleet with the blue team of Pacer one and Pacer Three determined to hold her at the back of the fleet. Unfortunately the blue team were out manoeuvred and by the end of the race Pacer Two crossed the line first followed 4 seconds later by teammate Pacer Four and then Pacer Three and Pacer One.
With the score at 1-0 to the Blue Team the start of Race Two saw a determined effort by the teams however Pacer Two’s win boosted their morale and there was no holding them back. After two laps the Blue Team had consolidated their lead and the with a dying breeze the Bridge Crew decided to shorten the race and provide a third race before the light started to fade. With no break between races the third race of the afternoon started promptly after Pacer Three crossed the finish line. The confidence of the Blue Team was visibly high and they put up a determined fight in the dying breeze which proved testing especially at the weather mark. Pacer Three fell into a hole in the breeze and were left struggling to round the mark while their teammates on Pacer One were in a titanic duel with Pacer Two and Pacer Four. By the final beat to the fishlike Pacer Four had again secured her lead finishing one and a half minutes ahead of Pacer Two who was followed home by Pacer One and Pacer Three who both enjoyed their own race to the line finishing just 4 seconds apart.
The final score for the afternoon of 3-0 to the Blue Team saw some expressions of justified pleasure back at the Clubhouse and helped to secure the positions on the leader board with Rowan Price now 3 points ahead of Brad Rayson and Rob Le Roux. On the Team Racing skipper’s leader board Brad Rayson still enjoys a 5 point lead over Rowan Price with Greg Donkin and Anthony Macmillan both 5 points behind him. Andrew Dollaway’s recent absence from the Team Racing series has seen him slip into 5th place on the skipper’s leader board with “hotshot” Flying Fifteen helmsman Patrick Harris at 7th place. So far the Pacer Team Racing series has attracted 96 participants in the 42 individual races sailed in the 15 match series. If you have not yet taken the opportunity to participate in this exciting and fun racing format you should contact Margie Harris in the Sailing Office to secure your berth.