Friday, August 09, 2013

Photo: Too Wicked ~ 1st place, Overall
Judith Neville (Fleet 2 Organizer), Fabian Hope, Colin Potter, Rick Howard, Michael Clements (skipper)

A Winner’s Perspective ~ Too Wicked, Michael Clements

19 M242's from Vancouver, Victoria, Maple Bay, Nanaimo, and Kelowna showed up at the 2013 North Americans in Cowichan Bay, BC on the August long weekend for 3 days of racing. Several crew and Race Committee members came from even further afield, such as the Fleet from Sylvan Lake, Alberta. The weather dawned cold and wet on Friday, and the fleet had 4 rainy races over by Genoa Bay, with the wind quite light and variable: sometimes the left would pay, other times the right, but mostly the breeze was best in the middle of the course at about the 4 knot range for the last few races.

At the end of Day 1, Michael Clements, Fabian Hope, Colin Potter, and Rick Howard on Too Wicked got the yellow jersey for being first overall at that point, with a 1, 2, 3, 10, and they held on to the jersey for the rest of the regatta. All of the other top boats had at least one high point race by the end of the first day, which made for very tight standings counting all 4 races, but Richard Spooner and Team on Daisy were serious  contenders after Day 1 with two bullets and a 6.

Day 2 saw marginally better weather in the morning, but it was still overcast, and a light Doctor (breeze) came in at around 10am with 5 knots, so 4 more races were undertaken that day. The left side of the course was heavily favoured upwind and downwind due to current, stronger wind, and a geographic wind shift, and Too Wicked played the left side exclusively. By the end of the day, Too Wicked was comfortably in the lead with another 1, 3, 3, 1, and dropping their 10th from Day 1, but with 2 drop races Daisy was only 3 points back, as they had gotten a 1, 2, 3, 16, on Day 2 and thus would have been only 3 points behind Too Wicked once they could drop both 16's.

Day 3 finally saw the long-promised sunshine in the morning, and the Doctor showed up with a whopping peak breeze of 7 knots, which was good enough to be able to power up and hike the boats totally flat at maximum upwind speed in the flat water. Competition was tough on the start line, and a few top boats got buried on occasion. The other factor that caused the wheels to come off a few boats' campaigns was that they got too close to the Genoa Bay shoreline on the far left side of the course right off the start, where the wind started lifting off the water to rise over the nearby mountain, and thus they found themselves vapour-locked early on in a few races until everyone realized where the danger areas were. Initially the middle-left side of the course paid in the first few races, but a few brave boats banged hard right on occasion and did fine, including Ken Holland on Blackadder who pulled off 2nd Overall in the event as a result of winning the last race, just nipping Too Wicked at the first weather mark, who had gone hard left in the last race. However, Too Wicked had picked up a 1, 1, 3, 10 on the last day, mostly by playing the left side again, and got to drop both 10's, so they ended up with 19 points net, comfortably ahead of Ken who had 49. Tom Sitar and
Team on No Worries had an excellent regatta also, and were 3rd overall, 1 point behind Ken Holland at 50. Three other boats were less than 5 points back, including Daisy at 52, who broke the tie for 4th and 5th with Roger Nelson on Planet B, reflective of the tough competition all 3 days.

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