HFSC’s second event of the season was a pursuit race. Unlike a normal elapsed time race where all the boats start together and finish at different times, a pursuit race is the other way round – the duration of the race is fixed (in this case 2 hours), and the boats start at different times depending on their relative handicaps (so the slowest boat starts first). The order of the boats on the water at the 2 hour mark decides their race finish positions. In a perfect world with perfect conditions, perfect boats and perfect sailors, at the 2 hour mark all the boat would be abreast of each other.
Pursuit races are fun because the faster boats have to catch and overtake the slower ones, so the boats tend to get closer together rather than more spread out, and there is more ‘boat on boat’ action.
The course was set to keep the race legs fairly short since the race relies on the boats being able to see what order they are in at the finish time (and long legs make this much more difficult). The course was:
- Start S to N
- NW Sinah (in the harbour)
- Inner passage
- Outer passage
- Wreck (P)
- Fairway (P)
…and repeat the above 4 marks to the end of the race.
The race started at 12:00 in a light breeze with the first leg into the harbour. First boat away was Bob on the RS Cat followed 17 seconds later by Ken (Dart 18 single handed). Steve and Jennie were next (Dart 18), then the Club’s SL16 with Richard and Georgia. Last to start were Ian on the Shadow and Clive in his first club race since returning to the HFSC on his Hobie FX1.
All boats made fair progress until the wind dropped on the approach to the inner passage with the boats crawling through against the tide. Steve and Jennie (the winners of the last club race) got stuck in a wind hole at this point and watched everyone else sail by.
After a frustrating 15 minutes or so the wind picked up again with the RS Cat first through the outer passage. The wind continued to increase and swung around giving the boats a close reach from the Submarine Barrier to and from the Fairway Mark. The flat sea meant that the boats could push hard and the next hour or so was some very exhilarating and fast sailing in bright sunshine – perfect conditions.
Towards the end of the race Ken’s Dart 18 finally got overtaken by Richard and Georgia on the Club’s SL16 giving them the race win.
The final positions were……
|Position||Boat||Sail no||Helm / crew|
|1||SL16||784||R Golden / G Jennings|
|2||Dart 18||7488||K Wallis|
|3||Hobie FX1||310||C Wright|
|4||RS Cat||836||B Evans|
|5||Shadow, 18||I Cosgrove|
|6||Dart 18||4696||S Audsley / J Law|
Many thanks to the Welsh family on the Support Boat, and Chris for standing in as Race Officer. Particular thanks to Alex for the pictures.