2012 Series 1, Race 5 – Commentary

With a fresh southwesterly wind, a scenic course around the islands off Chalong Bay marked the start of Race 5 of the Irish Times Race Series.

Five monohulls and two catamarans participated. In the catamaran division were Niña and Sidewinder; in the cruising monohulls, Astraeus and Uravai; and in the racing division, Linda, Windstar and Moya Hin.

As usual, there was plenty of action at the start line. Jack Christenson’s Linda broke the start by about three boat lengths, and by the time they realised they had to restart they were at least a mile down the course.

Meanwhile, Moya Hin, owned and helmed by Peter Jones, managed to run aground on a sand bank before the start, freeing herself just in time.

Other starters were all on time with new owner John Punch’s Sidewinder leading the pack, followed by Grenville Fordham and Bob Mott on Nina.

Sidewinder cleared out well ahead, while Niña – sailing conservatively under headsail and mainsail – slowly lost touch with the leader.

As the fleet pressed their way down the bay, Niña continued to keep Moya Hin at bay while her crew were entertained by some very interesting spinnaker gymnastics on Moya Hin, who perhaps had too many skippers aboard.

Uruvai and Bill Sax’s Astraeus held to the cruisers’ course, which didn’t include Koh Hae or the Ao Makham Safe Water Mark, giving them a chance of finishing close to the racing divisions.

Winds remained brisk over the complete course and actually increased on the last windward leg to the finish line. Some boats clocked 22 knots over the deck, others up to 28.

Word has it that crew dropped the mainsail on Peter Wood’s Windstar rather than the issued command to drop the spinnaker before the windward leg – they shall remain anonymous to protect the innocent.

All won a bottle of wine for their efforts.