JOG Nab Tower - the Perfect Shakedown!
Published 10:46 on 11 Apr 2016
Saturday's JOG Nab Tower Race was the first Sigma 38 event of 2016, part of the Coastal Series that contributes to the Grand Championship. The four Sigma 38 crews entered had almost every atmospheric condition thrown at them during the 6 hours; wind of less than 5 knots for the start to broaching conditions once round the Tower, sunshine, hail, rain....the perfect shakedown! Pandanova finished first, with Rho second, Paracelsus third and Marta 4th. Pandanova did the best in IRC 3 finishing a very respectable 4th. As always we would love to have photos and details of experiences of the race. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on the Sigma 38 Facebook page.
The next two weekends see the Spring Championships, up to 6 races over the weekend
Report from Pandanova -
"Our Nab Tower race did not start in an ideal manner as the 3 alarms supposedly set for 6am were either actually set for 6.30am or slept through. Luckily we still scraped through the mud and got out of Hamble Point Marina at low water springs but then were fighting the tide all the way across to the start line so that we literally switched the engine off on the 5 minute mark and were still wondering if we had made enough distance past the line not to be OCS given the lack of wind and how hard the tide was running. We hugged the shoreline so enthusiastically as to rustle some gravel and made it far enough up tide so that when we turned around and floated rapidly back we were a whole 5s late to cross the line - however, much much better than being over given the virtual impossibility of making enough way under sail to get back against the tide.
Conditions were lighter even than forecast and the obvious tactic was to be in the best tide to drift as fast as possible in the right direction while waiting for the wind to fill in. Consequently, everyone quickly headed North into the tide. We made a call to maintain a channel of clear air even if this meant staying a little further inshore as we wanted to ensure we maintained steerage and this paid off initially as the other three Sigmas, Rho, Marta and Paracelcus bunched up and took it in turns to steal each other's air.
The next couple of hours were fairly frustrating trying to keep the boat going in virtually no breeze as the promised fill in continued not to arrive. Eventually a breath of wind arrived but from the North shore rather than the SW which was forecast to come in. Much excitement was had at finally moving through the water, rather than merely with it, however this was short lived as the Northerly breeze quickly died but followed shortly thereafter by the sustained fill in from the South albeit more South East.
Rho took quick advantage of the new breeze and immediately found their new gear whilst with new crew members and no practice whatsoever, it took us a little longer to find the groove. However after a few tweaks we got the settings right and settled down for a six mile fetch to the Nab with Rho in our sights. By the tower we had closed the distance a little and set ourselves up to have an inside overlap on everything except Old Mother Gun who were inside us. We let them through and then as they headed up after the mark we nipped in higher than them to get height on the rest of the fleet whilst hoisting the kite - a manouevre which for once worked as well in the execution as the planning and enabled us to overtake a few boats including Rho.
Part way up the leg the squally conditions hit us. We recovered okay from the first broach and held the kite for a few more minutes but given how shy the reach was at that point we felt we were going to be safer, more controllable and ultimately faster with the kite down. Rho by this time had nearly caught us up but under white sail we were able to hold them off coming into Winner.
Rounding Winner there was a long procession of boats heading up the long fetch to the finish. We made an initial clearing tack for clean air and also to cover other Sigmas. However, we probably held this for a bit too long and having tacked back onto port were then forced to tack again for a starboard boat and got pinned in going North. Should have ducked.... Apart from the decision about where to do the short amount of North required, this leg was largely about trimming the boat well, responding to the gusts and maintaining focus. By this time we were all getting into the groove and despite not taking the ideal line were able to maintain good boat speed to hold off the other Sigmas and achieve a respectable placing in IRC 3 overall.
A very fun race with a bit of everything thrown in weather - wise and an excellent shake down sail. Close competition between the Sigmas as usual and a sociable evening afterwards in the "designated watering hole". Now very much looking forward to the 2016 season.
Last updated 22:06 on 12 April 2016