Race 1 of the Tamar Cove CST Composites, B14 World Championships. The breeze was building, and started at around 15 to 18 knots.
Heavily pin biased, so some big gains were made by the boats who started down that end of the line including Bancroft and Chapman on Bonus who won the start, then Garmston and Darlow on Snatch, Hunt and Price on The Hitcher and Craig and Lewis on Harken/Sandline who hit the line with good speed. By the top mark the breeze had hit 20+ knots.
First to round was Harken/Sandline, followed closely by 5 others including Bonework, Bonus, The Hitcher, Snatch & Rocketship. The bearaway claimed its first victim being Bonework. Most boats hit the right side of the course and Harken extended their lead after hooking into a great gust down the first run. Rocketship, recently crowned Australian Champions, were the next victims swimming in the Tamar on the gybe. By the bottom gates the fleet had spread considerably with Harken leading followed by Hitcher, Snatch and Bonus. Fleet lightweights Reynolds and McMillan in the Nude who were 5th at the bottom gate which is a terrific effort considering their 130kg combined weight some 30+kg lighter than their closes competitors.
The front end of the fleet held their positions, with the exception of Bonework who made a remarkable comeback after their capsize to challenge for the top 3 positions.
Final results were Harken/Sandline, The Hitcher, Snatch, Bonework, Bonus, Bandit & The Nude.
Race 2 - The breeze built to 25+ knots between races which claimed plenty of boats who swam, with many masts stuck in the mud and fears of broken masts were real. By the start of the race a number of boats had already retired and hit the shore due to breakages to boats and bodies.
Race one flyers The Nude and Bonus tangled near the pin end of the line and both swam on the start gun. Pin end of the line was favoured. Harken/Sandline and The Hitcher got good starts on the pin, with Snatch and Bonework following closely behind. The fleet split up the first work, and by the top mark it was The Hitcher rounded first closely followed by the pack including Bonework, Snatch & Harken/Sandline. In a 25+ knot gust on the bear away Bonework once again swam which was unfortunate for them. Harken/Sandline and Snatch hammered down the right side of the course in huge pressure and the gybe claimed Harken/Sandline on the gybe. By the bottom mark it was The Hitcher & Snatch who had broken away in strong pressure.
Second upwind saw little change in the positioning, with Snatch running into a mother seal and her pup who were sunning themselves in the middle of the Tamar – all apparently caught on GoPro.
Approaching the bottom gate for the second time, the lead pack approached the one single gate mark, with one gate mark clearly missing which caused plenty of confusion, especially race leaders The Hitcher and Snatch.
We soon learnt that one gate mark had been hit and burst (by Tim Grant and Thomas Snare on Be Alert rammed it in the extreme conditions). After realising one of the club race committee boats were acting as the second gate mark racing continued, bringing the rest of the fleet back into the race.
Unfortunately as the lead boats approached the top mark for the last time the race was abandoned due to the loss of the bottom gate mark which could not be replaced which was a huge shame for all competitors who had raced and survived the extreme conditions to date with gusts pushing 25+ knots.
It was a real disappointment for race leaders The Hitcher, Snatch, then Bonus and Harken/Sandline.