Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lawson Reef Race Report...

The 2008 Lawson Reef Race started on time at 0930 with approximately 12 boats in attendance. The wind at the start was from the south at around 12 knots, but was constantly shifting. The start was extremely tricky as the current was running approximately 3.5 knots toward the line, making is very easy to be over early.

Both Syndicat and Night Runner were nearly over early, but wisely tacked around to stall for time. Night Runner won the start followed by the entire fleet. Nearly all boats went outside the Shannon Point mark (avoiding the big back eddy) and then started beating south down Rosario Strait.

The winds in Rosario Strait were from the SE at ~25 knots with the seas relatively lumpy given the strong ebb current. During the upwind beat many boats downshifted to smaller head sails and/or reefed their main. At one point Night Runner went headless, costing them a couple of places. Hesitation Zero retired at this stage - probably due to the building conditions.

The first boat to the Lawson Reef buoy was Kinetic Ki, followed by Celebration, Schussboomer (start boat), then Night Runner and finally Thumper and the rest of the pack. All boats ran northwest to the #2 buoy and then jibed for the northeast run home. Given the strong winds and fast passage times, the sea was quite lumpy northbound with Schussboomer surfing to 11-12 knots at times on the big waves.

Northbound in Rosario many boats were faced with the tough decision about whether to fly their kites or not. Schussboomer was the first to try and spectacularly wiped out when their pole downhaul slipped aft sending their pole to the moon - they did however manage to keep the boat moving while performing a panic leeward recovery of their kite (the video of this hopefully will be posted later courtesy of Celebration). Night Runner was the next to try, and managed to create a total cluster which took a considerable amount of time to sort out until they gave up. Next was Celebration who managed to pull off a relatively clean set - even though the wind shifted around forcing them to take it down quickly. This whole time Kinetic Ki was screaming along at 18-20 knots smoking the rest of the fleet without a kite!

The first mono-hulls reached the Shannon Point mark at around 1210 with Schussboomer in the lead, followed by Celebration and Night Runner. Night Runner shifted gears to a larger headsail and made a run on Schussboomer. Schussboomer stayed with their #2 genoa and elected to play the puffs to the finish. By working hard, Schussboomer managed to hold off Night Runner who managed to slip by Celebration in the process.

Kinetic Ki was the first the finish, followed by Schussboomer, Night Runner, Celebration and then Thumper. The balance of the fleet was over the horizon and finished much later. All things considered, a great morning on the water in some moderately challenging conditions. Results are up with Kinetic Ki being the overall winner and Celebration a close second. Great job racers!

Celebration in the Reach Home

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