Rampant Rain Almost Ruins Yacht Races

By Bill Cox, Epoch Times
June 20, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
 Hebe Haven Quest Yachting Summer Saturday Series
'Bits & Pieces' races towards the finish line to take line honours in the IRC Division of the Hebe Haven Quest Yachting Summer Saturday Series on June 16. Sports Boat Division's 'Phoenix' is in the background. (Bill Cox/The Epoch Times)

Race day two of the Hebe Haven Quest Yachting Summer Saturday Series was marred by bad weather last Saturday June 16. It either rained very heavily with an accompanying 15 knot wind, or was dry and calm—neither conditions were conducive to good sailing, although many of the experienced crews seemed very much at home in the wet conditions.

Talking with the crew of IRC Division corrected time and line honours winner Bits & Pieces after the race, Kay Patterson said that they thought the race might be abandoned due to the conditions.

“When we got half way out [to the start] the heavens opened and it was absolutely horrendous. We had been out there about 15 minutes and everybody was completely wet through,” Kay explained to The Epoch Times.

“We thought the race might be abandoned because there [was] a front coming in, but we stuck with it.”

After some difficulties in setting the course because of the changing conditions, Race Officer Gerry Daughton did a great job of getting the Dragon boats started on time at 2:30 pm. But, it was a different matter for the bigger boats due to start five minutes later. Immediately after the Dragon Boats got on their way, a huge thunderstorm arrived, delaying the second start until 3:00 p.m. By that time, some of the boats had decided to forgo sailing and one or two others were not paying attention to the starting flags and missed the start.

Hebe Haven Quest Yachting Summer Saturday Series
'Taxi' racing in heavy rain ... A massive thunderstorm broke between division starts in the Hebe Haven Quest Yachting Summer Saturday Series on June 16. (Bill Cox/The Epoch Times)

“There was a little confusion at the beginning as to whether we were starting or not,” Patterson said of the latter race start. “Our skipper has an eagle eye and saw the AP [flag] up [on the committee boat]. We hung back, took the jenny [Genoa, foresail] down and just allowed ourselves to go round a little bit.

“We got a really good start, so we were really pleased with that.”

After the torrential thunderstorm, sailing conditions were very variable; one minute spinnakers were billowing and minutes later the boats were becalmed. Patterson from Bits & Pieces described their close finish with Stella.

“We were neck-and-neck with Stella up to the first mark and as they went round we were right behind them, and they went one way and we went the other, and we [the skipper] just made the right decision.

“Coming to the line, Stella was only two or three seconds behind us, but we just made it,” a pleased Patterson said.

“It was a shortened course and we were all very grateful for that, I must say. We were wringing gloves out and wringing our trousers out and it looked like another front was coming in, then the wind died. Had we done another one [circuit] there would have been a lot of becalmed boats. When we left the finish line it was very disorienting as the visibility had gone down and you couldn’t see any land mass, so it was a question of local knowledge and knowing where the committee boat was in relation to home.”

Two courses were set. A shorter straight up and down wind course for the HKPN, Dragon and J80 boats, and a triangular course for the IRC and SMS boats. The races were shortened to one circuit of the course instead of two. The conditions also meant that only one of the two scheduled races was held.

(The Epoch Times)

Next weekend, the Hebe Haven Nautica Typhoon Series 2012 resumes its second race day on Sunday June 24.

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