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No Racing On Day Two Of Gazprom International Dragon World Championship
Sadly the wind gods refused to cooperate on day two.. of the Gazprom International Dragon World Championship 2013 in Weymouth and despite the fleet being on the water for over six hours and the race committee’s best efforts no racing was possible.
Day broke with steel grey skies, poor visibility and a light but sailable south easterly wind. The weather forecast was for it to hold until around lunchtime, then drop off and veer before filling in again from the north north west later in the afternoon. The Race Committee sent the teams afloat on time for the scheduled 1055 first warning signal in the hope that the south easterly would stay in long enough to get a race in. Sadly it didn’t and as the wind died off completely the crews settled in for a long wait.
It was a somewhat surreal sight to see the 77 strong fleet with their sails down all bobbing up and down on the big swell rolling into Weymouth Bay. Naturally it wasn’t long before the sailors were looking for ways to entertain themselves, and various fun and games ensued.
Jono Ratnage, Ross McKissock and Guy Clarabut aboard Fit Chick decided to abandon ship for the comfort of their support RIB and set off to visit friends. All was going well until they realised another team was mounting a pirate attack on Fit Chick with the intention of claiming “salvage”. They immediately abandoned their social calls and rushed back to defend her from the marauders.
For siblings Mark and Selina Dicker, their cousin James Campbell and Katie Barr aboard Rackham the delay provided the perfect opportunity for a bit of fishing and the line went over the side (we’re not entirely sure if a fishing line is standard issue on all Dragons but Rackham certainly has one). Before long they had three tasty mackerel on the hook so there’s a fish supper in their house tonight!
Australia’s Sandy Anderson was probably the only person hoping the wind wouldn’t fill in too quickly as their main halyard had broken on the way out to the race course and they were forced to return to the dock and drop the rig to replace it. They made the swop in double quick time and were heading back out to the race course when the call to abandon came in.
After a long delay the sun broke through and the new breeze finally began to fill in rapidly building to 8 knots. But the wind direction refused to stabilise, flicking back and forth through up to 50 degrees. Eventually Race Officer Tim Hancock was able to get a course in and a start sequence underway. The wind direction held but the teams yet again miss judged the tide taking them over the line and forced a general recall. A second attempt under black flag was thwarted by a 20 degree shift so the AP went up. After resetting the course the third attempt was looking great at around 280 degrees but in the closing moments of the sequence it shot round to 300 and then 310 and once again the AP was put to good use. The breeze then went back and appeared to finally settle at 280 and attempt four was put into motion. This time the fleet behaved itself and got away cleanly much to everyone’s relief.
Gavia Wilkinson-Cox definitely got the best start, so close to the committee boat that they must have worried they would need a new paint job. She shot out above the fleet looking very good indeed. But again the wind started to clock and before long the boats were on a course of 280 degrees and those who’d started at the committee boat were pointing right at the mark. The entire fleet were holding it’s collective breath and praying that it would come back again, but instead it just kept on clocking and by the time it got to 295 Gavia was joking with her crew that they’d need the kite to lay the mark. The Race Officer made the only sensible decision left open to him and abandoned a third of the way up the first beat. He immediately went into action to move his course out into the centre of the bay to create space in case it continue to go right, but the request came from the Class Representative to call it a day and send the teams home.
After racing Race Officer Tim Hancock spoke to competitor and Dragon pundit Martin “Stavros” Payne about the thought process behind his decisions and looked ahead at the forecast for the remainder of the week. Click here to view video interview.
There may not have been any daily race prizes to present but that didn’t stop the teams enjoying a wonderful pig roast and drinks sponsored by Huguenot. The daily lucky draws went ahead as usual with the Fit Chick team winning Zhik Merino tops and Chris Hunt’s crew from Dark and Stormy all gaining Zhik ZKG shoes. Also feeling lucky today were the crews of Mark Wade’s Avalance and Walter Zuercher’s Gitane Seven who are now sporting very sexy new Maui Jim sunglasses.
Tomorrow’s forecast is for better conditions and with another two race day planned everyone is very much hoping that both races can be completed. You can keep up with the latest from the race course via the Pantaenius Live Tracking, where you can also replay past races. News, results and further information will be posted at the event website. The regatta will continue until Friday 13 September with a maximum of eight races scheduled and a single discard coming into play after the completion of race six.
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