The Mad Hatter sailed in its first regatta last weekend. The 21st Lock Crowther Memorial Regatta hosted by Royal Motor Yacht Club Pittwater. As I only have the boat up to Cat 7 safety standard I could only sail the in shore courses scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday wasn't only blowing dogs off chains, the chains also blew away,with winds gusting over 40 knots the racing was cancelled. The Sunday was a much better day for sailing and below is a report.
We just finished the Lock Crowther Memorial Regatta. This is the way racing unfolded as seen by Mad Hatter, my recently launched F85SR.
Being a new boat, we had not raced seriously before and had no idea what was ahead. Personally I just wanted to have fun, and hoped someone would take a good pic of the boat over the weekend.
In a light breeze we started the first race in the pack with the fleet and soon pulled out a lead that made our jaws drop, working up the eastern shore. We had noticed some boats started tacking to the other side, and figured they were looking for a fresher wind line but they kept going. When we finally checked the map we found we had completely misjudged the position of the first mark. Post race analysis of the tracker showed that we had sail for 6 mins past our lay line. Once the light was turned on, we pulled the screecher up and kicked up our heels to get across from the eastern shore to the western shore where the mark was actually located. We still rounded third boat just behind Quickstep (a 40ft racing cat) and a Sprint 750 with Evil Gnome (F85) very close behind, also having overlayed the mark. As the breeze started to fill in a bit more we managed to pull away and kept building the lead as the race progressed. This is where the 'but' usually comes into the conversation 'but' not this time. We finished 6 mins 22 secs ahead of the second boat, Evil Gnome.
The second race was in a freshening breeze. We got boxed in at the start by some big boats, with both Quickstep and Evil Gnome getting off the line much better. By the time we got to Lion Island we had managed to reel Evil Gnome in, but not Quickstep.
Rounding the island we hoisted the masthead A0 and even though Quickstep had several hundred metres on us we pulled her in and flew past. Rounding the bottom mark well ahead, we started cranking everything on to work back towards Lion Island but the sound of carbon cracking alerted us to the fact the main sheet pressure had started crushing the boom. When we worked out what was happening, the boom was in a state that was still easy to repair in my workshop so we decided to just nurse it to the finish. Without the required main sheet tension, Quickstep started to pull some ground back on us and it looked like they were going to get us. As we rounded the point to go back into Pittwater, we could come off the breeze enough to get the screecher up and honking. We held Quickstep off to cross the line 43 secs ahead.
The sail maker, Rob Meizer, from Ullman Sails was good enough to sail with us to show what the boat should be able to do, and he steered and called the shots. At the end of the day he said- "don't change anything, this thing goes like it's on rails."
No doubt the boat will be much slower if I'm steering, but I now know what is possible.
Mad Hatter passes the first test.