What went wrong in the RORC Cervantes Trophy Race 30th April 2011.

May 10, 2011

Crew Wout, Jan, Robert, Pieter van den Hoek, Leen, Joost Nijhoff, Herman Lammerts van Bueren and myself.

No good briefing was given to the new crew members, such as starting the engine in case of an emergency, location of life vests etc. This did not contribute to our score of only 7th place in a field of 39 boats. Nevertheless it was a negative point on my part, mainly due to lack of time.

The crew did not take the sleeping bunks as we discussed and designated the previous evening.

We had a slow start mainly because we were late on the Solent in the first place and because we tried to get the start line in the Deckman. Robert succeeded very well in this but this positive result probably resulted in a negative result for the start itself. It took us moreover a long time to set the spinaker, mainly due to the unknown operation to new crew members. Time lost at the start line 2 minutes plus probably the same number of minutes due to the delay in getting the spinaker I up.

Not the spinaker sheets were attached to the spinaker, but the spinaker guys. This prevented us from going in shore on the Solent and from getting close to the Needles Fairway buoy. This must have cost us a lot of time, perhaps as much as 10 minutes altogether.

When rounding St Catherines Point with full tide against us, we made short tacks (but probably not short enough) inshore but only with 4 crew on deck. We did leave the rest of the crew at rest until we realized how slow and bad our tacks were. Once we had two more crew members on deck, our tacks became better and quicker. How much time we lost here I cannot possibly say. I have to attribute this mistake entirely to myself.

We did hoist spinaker II in a sea with quite some waves but with only 15 knots of winds, at a true wind angle of only 110 degrees. During the hoisting of the spinaker the wind increased to just over 20 knots and we had to take the spinaker down right away. Before we did this the spinaker boom went vertically since I fixed the downhaul on port, not realizing there were set two downhauls whereas only the downhaul on starboard was fixed to the boom. Though it was my mistake as pianoman, here was not reason to put two downhauls on off-shore races. How many minutes we lost here is unclear but we lost a couple of them at least.

Due to a misunderstanding between Robert and myself, we had to bear away to pass buoy A5 on port. I believed, following a conversation with him, that we had to pass this buoy on starboard.

Already during the preparation of Winsome we did realize that we had not enough time for a proper preparation of the race itself. We had a check on the weather but failed to make a pre-run of the start. Problems with the waterpump, late arrival of crew etc etc all contributed to what went wrong.

We need to look at what happened just to make sure it will not happen again on our next race RORC De Guignant Bowl Race starting Saturday 14th of May at 0800 local time.

Suggestions for our next race are:
1. Leave the berth 90 minutes prior to the start of the race i.e. in this case already at 06:30
2. Have checked guys and sheets by a weathered crew member
3. Have a final briefing prior to the start to discuss all left overs and/or new issues which came up during the pre-start
4. Not too much sleeping on day time considering the race will last probably no more than 24 hours and if some rest if needed only 2 crew members a the same time to enjoy it
5. Not hesitate asking more crew on deck in case it would or will give an advantage

What was good on this race was the good work on Deckman by Robert, new mast setting by Leen, good helming, no damages occured to the boat or to the sails, good learning for the new crew members, good finish in the night and fantastic food.

Winsome showed good speed and the differences in this race in our Class IRC4 were relatively small, so there is good hope for better results.

I am looking forward to our race next Saturday. One problem i.e. late arrival of one new crew member cannot be avoided anymore so we will have to live with that one now.

Post by Harry Heijst | May 10, 2011 |