After having to cancel the first Rum Race on the 4 October it was great to get one away on Friday. Even better was to have fourteen boats on the line and ready to go (mostly) at the allotted 6pm start time. Everyone had obviously read their sailing instructions and remembered, “no lights, no spinnakers”. Course 23 was the call – Mark 25 (pile at the top of Evans Bay) and back.
The quality of starts was variable with the majority of the boats choosing to stay up near Centreport in a fresh NW breeze. At the bottom of the line Agilita took route one and lifted all the way to Point Jerningham. Once round the White Lady, the fleet spread out across the bay searching for the best breeze. Loco and Zimmerframe Racing II lead the pack with Airship gradually reeling them in.
More fun was being had in the middle of the fleet; Port Nic 2, Tortimony, Saucy Sausage and Sasquatch all trying to find a lane with clear air down the centre of the Bay. Nearing the pile a handful of boats soaked East and made huge gains on those who drifted into the doldrums south of Greta Point. There were no rounding issues (that I am aware of) and the challenge now was picking the shifts all the way back up the bay. In the post-race debrief in the bar the best description we had of tactics was, “sail up the left until the sun disappears, then tack out, tack back when you start knocking, and repeat”. Wise words Mr Linton.
The left (west side of Evans Bay) was definitely the place to stay. Loco held off Zimmer and Zimmer held off Airship right round the White Lady and through the reach to home. That was line honours taken care of but plenty of boats were battling for the Rum on handicap. After Midnight held out Blue Steel and Agilita but the most fun was in the convergence of four boats coming up to the White Lady. Saucy found the inside line and rounded first, following right behind was Bedouin. Port Nic 2 had picked a bad layline and Outrageous (who had been picking off boats one by one from a late start) snuck ahead.
Never let it be said that waterline is everything on the reach. It was a tense 10mins of playing the gusts in what was now a dying Northwester for three boats all less than 9m on the water. Outrageous went high, Bedouin went low, Saucy defended the centre. They all finished within 5 seconds (1 boat length).
Thanks to Kate for stepping in as RO and Sean (Prime Mover) for helping her. Massive thanks to Lola Stays for the sponsorship and provision of the Rum.
Results here (hint the photo tells you who won!)