24 October – Liga de Otoño 1 – Pollença
The forecast was ideal for the first of the RCNPP Autumn series. 9 flying fifteens turned out, with a similar number in the cruiser fleet. The fuego team split up, with John sailing fuego fatuo, and Stephen in ffinally with Ben – who hadn’t sailed small boats for fifteen years.
ffinally was practicing before start, and having missed all signals, noticed that the flying fifteens looking like starting so joined in. They ducked below fuego fatuo and Triffid, then came up onto the line ahead of Spanish Fly. They were kept to the left side of the course, as there was no track past Wight Flyer. This proved to be the better side, and they were coming up to the mark in the lead when Wight Flyer came in on port, tacked in front and rounded first, with fuego and dragonfly following.
However, ffinally had an issue with the spinnaker hoist, allowing the next two boats to slip through. fuego stayed left down the run, whilst the other three went for the centre. ffinally went down the run in the middle of Wight Flyer and Dragonfly, and pulled ahead of both half a mile before the bottom mark. fuego fatuo rounded ahead of Dragonfly and Wight Flyer, who sailed low and fast to break free.
ffinally was not sure where to go but thought the next mark would be somewhere near Formentor. They saw the rib laying a mark to windward, and so now knew that the leg was a fetch and not beat. The leg having turned into a drag race, weight was key, and Wight Flyer pulled up and rounded just ahead.
The wind had been increasing, and the next leg was extremely gusty and unpredictable – between 8 to 25+ knots. Wight Flyer picked up the breeze first and stormed off. Then ffinally picked up a strong gust and planed up to within three boat lengths. Meanwhile fuego fatuo was following in a strong third place. The wind dropped and the two leaders carried on at a more normal pace. ffinally got the next gust first and bore away on a high-speed reach to pull alongside Wight Flyer. The gust passed, and again they resumed a side by side battle.
Coming up to Punta de la Avançada, the two boats caught the next gust of 25+ knots, but ffinally reacted quicker and stormed ahead, taking some five lengths before the wind dropped. They held the lead in the next gusts and rounded low to avoid a possible wind shadow. In the event there wasn’t one and the following boats stayed high around the point, recovering some of the gap.
Coming up to the finish it was a three-boat tacking duel, with ffinally holding the lead to finish 10 seconds ahead of Wight Flyer, who pipped fuego fatuo by a couple of boat lengths.
|1||ESP 4014||ffinally||Stephen Babbage / Ben Stitt||1|
|2||ESP 3728||Wight Flyer||Stephen Parry / Philip Parry||2|
|3||ESP 3577||Fuego fatuo||John Walker / Juan Carlos||3|
We had been followed around the course by the rib, where photographer Ruth Cordero had been taking some great pictures, just a few of which are shown in this article.
Photos by Ruth Cordero @corderophotographymallorca
7 November – Bigboy Nautica Trophy
Rafa and Pilar (3382, Martini) sponsored this Saturday regatta – to fill the gap before the next in the RCNPP Liga de Otoño series. We were joined by Spanish Snipe National Champion Victor Peréz sailing Flying Uschi – many thanks to Stefi for lending her boat. This gave a total of ten boats on the start line – a great turnout by any reckoning.
Three races were set, with a simple up and down course. Victor laid down his marker, taking the first race from Rafa in some style. Next was Wight Flyer, then fuego fatuo followed by ffinally who wasn’t enjoying the lighter conditions this week.
In the second race, the winds were all over the place, but David read them correctly, and tool Stormtrooper IV to a win ahead of Wight Flyer, with Flying Uschi third and Martini fourth.
Victor took the final race ahead of Martini with Stormtrooper third and Wight Flyer fourth.
Rafa and Pilar gave us a great post-race party ashore, with drinks and snacks. Prizes for the winners were especially welcome, being various lines and sheets – including some new spinnaker sheets with a Dyneema sheath and a removable polyester core – very light and easy to handle.
Many thanks to Rafa, Pilar and Bigboy Nautica.
|1||ESP 3509||Flying Uschi||Victor Peréz / Juan Carlos Serrano||5|
|2||ESP 3382||Martini||Rafa Benitez / Pilar Casares||8|
|3||ESP 3728||Wight Flyer||Stephen Parry / Philip Parry||9|
21 November – Liga de Otoño 2 – Pollença
For the second in the Autumn series a few boats weren’t able t make it, so we only had seven at the start. Stephen and John had lent fuego fatuo to Philip Parry, who was sailing with first time racer Noemi Calafat.
Off the line Martini and ffinally had a great battle, which continued up the beat until ffinally tacked off to the right side. This proved to be a mistake, as Martini rounded fifty metres ahead, with Spanish Fly between them and ffinally. The next leg was to a buoy off Formentor island, so a close reach to Punta de la Avançada, followed by a fetch to the mark.
ffinally passed Spanish Fly just after the point, but was unable to catch Martini who rounded ten lengths ahead. On the downwind leg Martini extended their lead, leaving the next two boats to have a great battle. ffinally stayed ahead of Spanish Fly and had extended to over a hundred metres before a big gust and wave at the same time allowed them to surf to within a few boat lengths.
At the bottom mark, ffinally stayed ahead, and started to catch Martini – but ran out of race course and had to be content with second ahead of Spanish Fly and fuego fatuo – Philip beating father Steve in fifth placed Wight Flyer.
|1||ESP 3382||Martini||Rafa Benitez / Pilar Casares||1|
|2||ESP 4014||ffinally||John Walker / Stephen Babbage||2|
|3||ESP 3825||Spanish Fly||John Leaf / Mark Hart||3|
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