The weather forecast was for snow approaching but I woke up to a sunny day with hardly any wind. We have seen quite a bit of that in the winter series till the Rum Race gave us some real wind.
Well, race 4 didn’t disappoint, the wind grew in strength and by the time we started it was 20 knots NE with gusts. Not everyone was convinced to race in this bitterly cold wind. In the end Andrew Hewitt and Chris Baker joined forces on Andrew’s new purchase the Laser Strator previously crewed by world champion Scott Wilkinson and owned by his father Jonathan. Mark and Phil Whiteman were present for the 4th race in a run in their Scorpion.
I was competing in my Laser 1 with full sail and managed to capsize 90 seconds before the start, get it back up and was on my way for a perfect start when the wind died behind the harbour office and I inverted (backward capsize). Good start for Mark with Andrew in pursuit and me capsizing my way around the course.
We started going upriver with a gybe around the buoy in Rock Channel and back all the way down river with a port hand buoy almost at the harbour mouth. Mark and Andrew both managed to go around the course without capsizing with some frantic hiking and broaching in the gusts followed by the wind disappearing or being rather fluky at times as well.
Going downriver especially passing the clubhouse was sensational with the boats flying along. I managed to overtake Andrew just before the buoy but going to windward Andrew and Chris passed me again and were gaining on Mark. Mark and Phil managed to hold on however and came over the finish line first in 38 minutes 55 seconds with Andrew and Chris following in 39 mins and 3 seconds and me 32 seconds later. On handicap Andrew came first, I was second and Mark and Phil third.
The next race is on March 4 with a start at 12:16pm. Clubhouse and bar are open with warm food, cold beer and warming rum so please come along. Now we have opened up the course to go to the harbour mouth (if in river) it can be a great spectacle.
Many thanks to OOD Simon Marsh and Mike Winiberg and Clive Doyle on the safety boat for running and assisting at this race.