Boats arriving for CYC Sunday racing at the Marina Coleraine would have been forgiven for thinking that the race would be cancelled for lack of wind.
In the last seven weeks the Club have had to cancel two races and had to abandon another for lack of wind. However as the weather forecast predicted ciphers of wind appeared on the water at around 1330 hours and by the time the boats launched we were experiencing 12 knots,an ideal breeze for river sailing.
There was a strong ebb flowing northwards and the south south west wind meant that the upriver start was challenging. Not as single boat hit the line on the gun but Alan McCann in a Laser was first to cross together with Anthony Clendinning and crew Mervyn Montgomery in the RS 400. These were closely followed by Bruce McFarlane (Laser), Russell Yates (Laser), Ivor Paul (Laser) and James Campbell (Laser).
At the windward mark on the starboard hand course The Lasers of McFarlane, McCann and Campbell rounded first and these were the positions past the wing mark and onto the leeward mark.
Past the leeward mark the kicker on Campbells Laser broke giving him little sail control in the increasing breeze and letting the rest of the fleet catch and pass him. He had to receive assistance from the safety boat leaving him out of the race.
In the meantime a clever use of the current flow by Anthony Clendinning and crew Mervyn Montgomery put the RS 400 into the lead followed by Bruce McFarlane, Alan McCann and Ivor Paul. Duncan Chapman had overtaken Russell Yates and Jimmy Dempsey to gain 5th place, Peter Rainey being the last of the Lasers.
The leading Junior was The Pico of Georgie Grossie and Alex Magee and in second place the Topper of Hanna Giletely.
On the fourth of the six laps Russell Yates broke through to third place but failed to cover the Lasers of McCann and Paul that he had just passed and in two tacks he had dropped back to sixth. It is so important in racing particularly on the river to cover your nearest opponent so that you stay in the same wind and current.
By lap five the RS400 had pulled out a commanding lead on the water over the lasers that held the next seven places and this was maintained to the finish. However on handicap the Lasers won the day relegating the RS to seventh place.
The RS 400 is better suited to racing on the sea where a spinnaker can be hoisted for reaching and downwind legs. That’s where it comes into its own and can take advantage of the handicapping system.
It was a cold day on the river and the race was shortened to fortyfive minutes. The finishing gun was a welcome sound for most of the crews.
1st Bruce McFarlane Laser; 2nd Ivor Paul Laser; 3rd Alan McCann Laser
1st Georgie Groissie/Alex Magee Pico; 2nd Hanna Giletely Topper