The popularity of Pacer Team Racing held on Saturday afternoons continues to grow with a number of new faces participating in Match 5. It is wonderful to see regular Ladies Sailing participant Cindy Trathen bringing Greg Donkin and Gordon Reid from Alkistis down as crew to join the Team Racing, also William Siddall and Dylan Allegaert joined for another afternoon of fun while enthusiastic and regular Nimrod crewmember Dylan McGovern joined the team for his first Pacer outing.
Initially the breeze presented a nice light north easterly but with the south westerly predicted to arrive at 17h00 the Bridge Crew wasted no time laying a windward course in the deep water channel off Pier number 2 and preparing for the scheduled 14h00 start. Moments before the Warning Signal the breeze started to swing around to the SW so a quick adjustment was needed to the start line and this was perfectly executed by the mark layer Scorpio with Moses Cele and Victor Cele onboard. Although far from being a perfect start line due to the oscillating and building breeze the Bridge Crew commenced the 3 minute start sequence sending the Pacers off first.
The only dinghies brave enough to join the afternoon sailing activities were a number of Darts and a Halcat whose race started 5 minutes later. No sooner had the catamarans started when 3 Sail Africa L26’s arrived and asked if they have a race which the Bridge Crew happily obliged sending the boats off a further 5 minutes after the catamarans. By this stage the south westerly was firmly establishing itself with some ever increasing gusts which made for some interesting mark roundings at the weather mark with the Pacers engaged in their Team Racing tactics the catamarans enjoying some high speed fleet racing and a bunch of L26’s bearing down.
A titanic battle ensued on the downwind leg between the Yellow team consisting of helmsman Michael Boorman and his crew of Chris Coxen and Eli Brophy Tintinger aboard Pacer 1, helmsman Brad Rayson and crew of Patricia Kilburn, Dylan McGovern and Margie Harris on Pacer 4, the Blue team consisting of helmsman Greg Donkin and crew of Cindy Trathen and Gordon Reid aboard Pacer 2 and helmsman Coert Grobelaar on Pacer 3 together with crew William Siddall and Dylan Allegaert.
Unfortunately Pacer 3 could not seem to get going and the young crew battled to tack in the steadily increasing wind. The catamaran sailors became confused in the blustery conditions and thought they only had to complete one lap instead of the standard 3 lap course. After being reminded a few boats continued racing while the remainder of the catamaran fleet took fright at the strengthening breeze and seized the opportunity to run home.
The L26’s could only manage 2 laps before deciding they too should retire leaving only a handful of Darts and the Pacers out on the race course. Pacer 4 nearly lead the Yellow team down to the weather mark for an extra lap however their teammates on Pacer 1 together with Pacer 2 realised the error and Pacer 2 bravely held Pacer 1 off at the finish line while Pacer 3 was still batting to round the leeward mark. With one member of the Yellow team at the windward mark and one member of the Blue team at the leeward mark it was a real battle at the finish line between the other Yellow and Blue teams. Eventually Pacer 2 crossed the line closely followed by Pacer 1 leaving the other boats time barred as they could not reach the line within the 3 minute time limit. The Bridge Crew quickly commenced the start sequence for a second race but Pacer 3 and Pacer 1 decided to retire leaving the Blue team of Greg Donkin on Pacer 2 to battle it out with the remaining Yellow team of Brad Rayson on Pacer 4. Brad enjoyed a clean start with Greg following in hot pursuit while the Bridge Crew anxiously monitored the wind speed. It was not long before the wind peaked at 26 knots and the Bridge Crew were forced to abandon the race in line the Club’s Pacer 27 Usage Policy.
Unfortunately by 15h00 all the boats were back on their moorings and racing for the day was concluded although this did not seem to dampen the participant’s enthusiasm all of whom enjoyed the usual after sailing camaraderie.
Those members who have not yet enjoyed the thrill and fun of Team Racing aboard the Pacer 27 fleet should contact Margie Harris in the Sailing Office to reserve a place so as to enjoy some of the action and get your name on the Leader Board. After 5 matches Rowan Price still leads the league separated from young Taine Steytler in second place by only one point. A total of 41 participants are already on the league table.