Difficult day for Simon Ludlow in choosing a course for the 2015 Bart Bash as the wind decided to be absent for the first part of the morning which gave rise to thoughts about a shortened course.
Finally, with about an hour to the start the wind came in from the South, all be it at just above 5 knots with an accelerated flow thru the gap between Peng Chau and Nim She Wan of about 8 knots.
The start was staggered so as to cater for congestion at the top mark and to allow the big boats from DBYC to get away before the Fast Cats that were to follow.
The two front runners (Tom Nunan/Gabriel Kicks on the Viper and Steve Devlin/Sam Frank on the Nacra F18) battled over the entire 14 Km course with the lead changing on 4 occasions in the closest racing we have seen this season, with the Viper over the line first followed by the Nacra F18 only 3 seconds behind, and then a further 8+ minutes to the 3rd place boat of Cindy Chung and Andy Perret on Nacra F16.
… and a report from the mid fleet….
Having taken a strategic decision to stay mid fleet (for reporting purposes you understand) the Barts Bash round the islands race was an intriguing affair. Having allowed those who wanted to race ahead, we were able to pass gently by the vintage Dartosaurusi and have a pleasant Sunday chat with fellow sailors (Jo and Mike). What was noticeable was that the three Darts were sailing well in the conditions.
We also had a number of agreeable discussions with most of the Big Boats from DBYC as we experimented with an exciting new theory that suggested a leeward overtaking manoeuvre would give a tactical advantage. I can safely conclude, after a number of attempts – all in the name of scientific breakthrough – that it is a really stupid thing to do.
OK – now for the synopsis of our race.
Good start, good to top mark, nice run to Datum Rock, in a good position for a blistering kite leg to Siu Kau Yi Chau when we made up a lot of ground. Our decision to stay deep behind the islands to keep clear of the wind shadow paid off initially as we clawed Cathy Lam in her Shadow but she, and Aaron Metz’s Infusion F18 seemed to find a wind shear close and snuck past us due to the shorter distance.
Tack to Datum Rock and the choice was to stay close – everyone, or tack wide – us. Good for us as we made some ground and hauled over the remaining big yachts and caught up with Cathy and Aaron at the rock. Another good run downwind and we were then in a race home but again Cathy’s ability to sail 5 points higher meant she again took a shorter route home. At this stage we gallantly decided to take a round-about route to the finish line just so we could ensure that the Darts and Hobies made it safely home which they did; so it was a good thing what we did.
All the cats in our section of the race seemed to be having a good time and the course was certainly tactically challenging with the added complications of the big boat getting in the way but it was a great deal of fun.