A HINT of summer was evident as seven boats came out to compete for the Town Festival Cup on Saturday.
With a moderate south-westerly wind blowing, choosing the correct sails was tricky, but most boats decided on their largest which would make life difficult when the gusts occurred.
As the start approached, the fleet was closely bunched and one of the most competitive starts of the year was achieved with No Compromise being closest to the line, but with little momentum, so Icon flew past her at racing pace.
No Compromise gradually built up speed and recovered the front position before the first turning mark, at Sandsend, with Antix, recently returned from competing on the south coast and France, pushing her hard with the two Sigma 33s, Icon and Cold Steel pressing them and Masquersde, Cavalier and Serenade starting the close tussle which continued throughout the race.
No Compromise decided the easterly leg was not worthy of the effort of hoisting the spinnaker, but she would suffer dearly for this shortage of sail.
Antix’s well honed spinnaker handling was immediately obvious as the sail flew out of its bag and commenced the slow overtake of No Compromise.
Icon was no sluggard in hoisting hers, but Cold Steel struggled and produced some interesting shapes, none which would help her sailing speed and allowed Masquerade to catch up, along with Cavalier and Serenade.
They turned back towards the pier ends necessitating dropping the spinnaker. Most boats were extremely cautious with the flooding tide pushing them eastwards and dropped early.
No Compromise used her superior boat speed to catch Antix, but good tactical handling by Antix allowed her to maintain her lead on the first rounding of the course. Icon had the beating of her twin, Cold Steel who’d dropped back to lead the last three, Serenade, Masquerade and Cavalier.
The wind had veered a little more westerly making the trip to Sandsend closer to the wind and Antix revelled on this point of sailing.
With the fleet now in two distinct groups, Antix led No Compromise and Icon round the Sandsend buoy, with Cold Steel still just leading Serenade, Masquerade and Cavalier.
No Compromise realised the mistake she’d made on the first lap and hoisted her spinnaker for the second lap, but Antix would maintain her lead at the end of the second lap. Icon was still holding on to the shirt tails of the leading two and the back four were enjoying close racing.
With just two short circuits off the beach to complete, only the back four changed positions with, initially, Cold Steel, misreading the course sheet and packing up a lap shorter than everybody else and Masquerade winning the trailing group’s battle, closely followed by Cavalier and Serenade, but the handicap would produce a different position.
Result: 1 Antix, John Allen, 2 Icon, Neil & Lorraine Williamson, 3 Serenade, Ian & Allison Paton.
On Sunday, seven boats came out to compete in the fourth of nine pursuit races where the theoretically slower boats set of first and the remainder have a staggered start at intervals later.
The south-westerly wind persisted, but the forecast predicted showers and these would be associated with some wild squalls and one came through just before the start and others would follow.
Samaki got the fleet away with Cold Steel and Masquerade starting their chase one minute later and Cavalier two minutes after that.
The remainder, Icon, Antix and No Compromise followed on nearly 15 minutes later. Samaki tried her spinnaker, and this benefitted her as the wind dropped light and the chasers struggled to the Bell Buoy.
A fierce flood tide made rounding the buoy quite difficult, but Samaki had extended her lead and headed for the westerly end of the beach.
Severe wind shifts made sailing extremely difficult, but Samaki, Cold Steel and Masquerade retained their lead over the chasing greyhounds.
After the first lap, the only overtaking that had taken place was at the back of the fleet as the greyhounds devoured Cavalier.
Early in the second lap, Cold Steel made her move and poked her nose in front, but this lead was short lived as Samaki picked a better wind slant.
Samaki fought to retain her lead as Cold Steel constantly pressed, but this constant pressure was too much, and Cold Steel hit the front and retained it just four minutes from the end.
Towards the back, another fight for fourth and fifth place was concluded with Antix coming out victor over Icon.
Result: 1 Cold Steel, Nigel Jarvis, 2 Samaki, Nigel Robinson, 3 Masquerade, David Duke.