After a one week break in the series the enthusiastic Pacer sailors once again returned to the water on Saturday afternoon for Match 7 of the Team Racing series. This week the teams were joined by Andrew Dollaway and the crew from Ladybird who bravely exchanged their super quick trimaran for a slightly less stable monohull. Andrew and crew arrived early for the briefing and were all immaculately turned out in their sailing attire with Andrew even wearing his port ad starboard socks for good measure. The afternoon was a dull overcast day with the thick smoke from the great Bayhead fire hanging ominously overhead and making for a dramatic backdrop. With the 12 knot south-westerly and intermittent rain squalls the Bridge Crew set a course in the deep water channel off Pier 2 after consulting with Port control and, as is usual practice, ensuring there were no scheduled shipping movements in that part of the Bay for the duration of the racing.
The fleet of Pacers were joined by a number of Flying Fifteens who participated in some fleet racing and Sail Africa L26 putting in some extra practice. Across the Bay the catamaran fleet put on an impressive show of colour while enjoying racing in the Seaport Supplies Waterfront Series which took place right in front of the Clubhouse over the sand bank taking advantage of the high tide.
The Pacer Team Racing started promptly at 14h00 with the blue team comprising of the Price family of Gary, Thyrza, Rowan and Amy on board Pacer 1, the younger members entry including Michael Boorman, Chris Coxen, Eli Tintinger and Daniel Els on board Pacer 4 while the yellow team consisted of the Flyer crew of Brad Rayson, Rob Le Roux joined by Patricia Kilburn on Pacer 2 together with the Ladybird crew of Andrew Dollaway, CJ Despy, Ian Bell and Mario de Silva on board Pacer 3.
The racing for the day consisted of 3 races, the first and second race being shortened after 2 laps as the positions became static and the racing of very little tactical excitement once the yellow team established themselves in first and second position with the blue team unable to dislodge Pacer 2 and Pacer 3. The final race of the day ran for the full three laps with a stiff breeze at the start, followed by a rain shower which left the Bridge crew enjoying the racing from the comfort of the cabin on board the R B Townsend and then a dying breeze by the end of the race. The teams were all anxious for another race but in view of the fading light the Bridge Crew sent the sailors back to moorings. Pacer 4 enjoyed a good start in the final race and managed to lead the fleet around the course until the final beat when after performing a penalty turn Pacer 2 and 3 once again finished ahead.
Unfortunately the Price family did not have it their way on the day, perhaps being thrown off their game a bit after becoming lodged on the sandbank at the start of race 1 after having followed the trimaran sailors into the shallows. While the Ladybird crew may not be used to a keel below them they managed to very elegantly dislodge themselves keeping their dignity intact although they all looked a little surprised. Notwithstanding the gloomy conditions, intermittent rain and wind squalls all the crews enjoyed the afternoon and there was much fun on the moorings while packing the boats away in the middle of a solid rain shower. Poor Moses spent his Monday drying out the boats and sails! The final score for Match 7 was 3-0 to the yellow team.
After sailing the crews returned to Clubhouse to enjoy a Club curry and the usual after sailing camaraderie. It was such a pleasure to see all the young members gathered together regaling each other with the day’s exploits while slightly older members enthused about the amount of fun and quality racing they enjoyed. A special feature of the Team Racing format is the 30 minute race duration, back to back racing with a 3 minute start sequence which ensures the adrenaline is always flowing. The Ladybird crew were undeterred by the heeling nature of the Pacers and promised to return to the Team Racing series to defend their position. Both Flyer and Ladybird are now firmly established at the top of the separate Pacer Challenge Leaderboard located in the Lowerdeck Bar waiting for other keelboat teams to challenge them and topple them from their position of dominance. There is certainly a good spirit prevailing among the sailors at the moment so if you have not yet joined the fun, you should contact Margie Harris in the Sailing Office to reserve your spot for Match 8.