SSCBC Cowes Regatta Team

Here is any update from David White and the team who competed in the 2K Global Team Race Regatta held at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, UK. After our successful campaign at the inaugural event at the New York Yacht Club last year, SSCBC is pleased to be representing Australia again. This regatta took place from 25-29 September 2019.

Day 1

The team assembled in Dublin, Ireland for training at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. We were training in Elliot 6s with a focus on boat handling. This was mainly straightline boat speed which then built up to boat on boat tight manoeuvres. Getting clean off the start line will be a big priority. We aim to put this into our first practice regatta which is taking place tomorrow. Tomorrow is a big day with a 2K Regatta taking place at the Yacht Club. There are 5 teams taking part, two from the National Yacht Club, Royal Cork Yacht Club (who are travelling to Cowes) and a team made up of my friends from University who I sailed with years ago.

Day 2

We had a cracker day. Started off really well with Ireland beating Scotland at the Rugby! From there, we raced against 5 teams in light to medium conditions. We did 8 races in total with 6/8 wins which put us on top of the ladder board. Most importantly, it was the best practice we could have hoped for.

Day 3

Dublin unfortunately caved and it started raining. Building on the lessons from the Regatta the day before, the team shifted gears for some heavy wind training with gusts up to 28 knots hitting the water. Our team decided it would be beneficial to swap skippers for three practice races and find out the pros for the two different styles that they have.

When the big breeze hit, we did a couple of big upwinds to work on our straightline speed.

After a physical training session, the team are going to explore Dublin City and fly out for Cowes tomorrow.

Day 4

A bit of a mixed day. We had extremely windy conditions – “blow jibs off mast weather”.

The racing was initially postponed due to the high winds. We got out on the water for 10 o’clock in reefed sails.

Race 1 was against the Irish team. We ended up getting 1 2 and won that race.

Race 2 was against St Francis from San Francisco. Tom had an incredible race, but in the end, we lost it on the finish line. This was a bitter loss to swallow as they finished 3rd at last year’s event and it was there for the taking.

Race 3 was against the Dutch. After a commanding start, leaving one boat 50 meters behind we had boat gear failure with the head of our jib blowing out. We received redress for this race meaning we will have a resail.

Race 4 – Royal Thames Yacht Club (last year’s winners). After a pre start battle in 25+ knots, sadly our jib on a different boat blew out. This resulted in another resail.

This was the indicator that it was too windy to rave on and we were sent in.

Our sail in was an hour beat into the breeze that was 30+ knots.

Oddly enough, we were the only boat to break their jib head, and we did it twice.

Day 5

Another big day on the water. Today the weather started up in breeze ranging from 16 knots to 23 knot which isn’t ideal team racing conditions.

First race of the day was against the Dutch. Unfortunately, an eager start led to a 2 on 1 and the Dutch where victories.  This wasn’t ideal as we the same situation before are gybe blew down before.

Next two races were similar. We were again at Newport harbour California and Newport Rhode Island. Both tier 1 teams and we were in a leading position on the upwind which is a big leap. Unfortunately, boat handling in 20+ plus knots got in the way of our plans.

The next two races were India and Germany. Thankfully we got rewarded for these races. The German race in particularly tight and decided on the finish line.

Racing then got abandoned when winds picked up to 30+ knots

Tomorrow we have 3 more races to complete our round robins. We have Arg, Japan and the Yacht Squadron and a re-race vs London Thames.

Day 6

Final day of sailing.

With a similar forecast/weather, we were sailing in the upper limits of these boats with gusts getting right up to 30 knots.

We ended up just doing four races today and finishing off one round robin. The first race was Japan. Sadly, this race was similar to the Irish rugby game in that the Japanese seized the right opportunity. After we led a 1 2 around the whole course, but on the final mark the Japanese snuck on the inside and pinned out one of our boats. The frustrating thing about high winds is we can’t play the tactical battle as much and boat handling comes through.

Next race, we had the Royal Yacht Squadron. This was the most frustrating races of the competition as we had again a 1, 2 for the entire course and on the last 30 meters, an umpire made a call that later was admitted as a mistake. Which again cost us the race. But that’s sport – not always perfect.

We faced Argentina next where we won 1,2.

Last race was Royal Thames who won that race convincingly in the high breeze.

Racing was then called with the round robin complete and wind getting up to 35 knots which is not team racing weather.

In the end, we finished up 9th overall which is a bit frustrating. Out of the 11 races we did, only two were in wind under 20 knots. In those races we beat Cork, who finished 5th, and Saint Francis, who just beat us on the finish line. So, we know we had more potential in our team racing skills and we have learnt how to sail keel boats in very heavy conditions.

We were lucky to get out given the forecast for the 3 days and the organisers certainly put their boats in harm’s way as we had travelled the distance.