Greystones SC, Greystones, Eire * July 22-26
the daily Jim Heffernan W611 synopses
updated 27 July 2019 at 1701 hrs
From: Jim Heffernan [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
We were tossed asunder, very shifty and gusty, exciting, an animal out thereYou get the idea. How many capsizes? a lot in both races.
35 of the 54 registered boats ventured out for the practice race which was delayed until conditions were tested by a brave UK sailor and evaluated by the RC. Before the start, a number of boats returned to safe harbor after capsizing or for repairs or with an abundance of prudence.
RC stated the winds were 18-20 kts with long gusts of 24 Kts. The real difficulty was the sea state which was high, steep and confused as wind, current and a large swell came together on the race course.
Many of the capsizes occurred after bearing away from the windward mark and the rudders lost their bite in the water as the stern rose on a steep wave and control problems led to a broach and capsize. Most boats did not fly spinnakers.
One crew member was briefly trapped under a boat and swallowed too much seawater and then capsized a second time while trying to get up and running. Fortunately the water temperature was warmer than the average of 57F as noted by some of those who spent time swimming. The superior self-rescuing qualities of the Mark IV design were well used as most of those who went over got underway quite quickly after recovery.
Mogens Just and Anders Friis, the defending World champions from Denmark won the points race that followed with the UK's Mike McNamara and Simon Townsend close behind - as they were in 2016. Margaret Hynes (IRL) was the top female skipper in that race. More tomorrow.
Fair winds! Jim
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 3:08 AM
Subject: Day 2 at Greystones, Ireland
Mist and sea fog greeted us along with a rising wind. Forecast was for rapidly increasing winds that would only last for two hours. AP over the Numeral 2 was raised. PRO was ferried to the start area to check it out and reported very confused and uncomfortable seas. No start until 1300.
AP was dropped at 1330 and the fleet crossed the start line at 1445. The quiet following current caused multiple skippers to misjudge its strength and a general recall was signaled. The new start was clean thanks to a black flag and the fleet quickly divided, with each group dealing differently with the pushing current and the opposing 4' waves. We did a triangle, then a windward leeward and another triangle finishing on a beam reach.
A short break was had. The second start also had many over-early boats so the restart saw the black flag again. With a 12 kt breeze, the triangle was nicely sailed with the air filled with the rainbow colors of spinnakers. However the wind began to ease and the fleet had a traffic jam at the leeward mark while the end of the reach ended as a run directly into the opposing current. This was a precursor to the wind dying completely and the race was abandoned. Possible 4 races tomorrow.
Fair winds! Jim
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2019 2:32 AM
Subject: Day 3 on the Irish Sea
Lovely morning in and around Greystones, Ireland with some low clouds touching Bray Head with a bit of sun poking through. Fleet was launched at 1000.
A comfortable beam reach in 12 kts took us out to the starting area with just a couple of rough spots outside the harbour entrance (Patty Kuntz pic above). The flood tide held the fleet back from the starting line, so no recalls or subsequent black flag. Which way to go upwind? Inshore with possibly less current or out to sea with larger waves, a tad more wind and unknown current. The leaders came into the mark from both directions with the boats from the shore having the edge.
Two lively reaches saw top class spinnaker gybes. As the race progressed, The wind began to build as forecast, gradually rising to 20 kts with higher gusts and steeper seas. The leaders crossed the finish line after 75 minutes of wet and bruising sailing. The RC signaled C2 with a downwind finish after a triangle and sausage.
With the wind and seas building, prudent attrition began and the fleet was reduced to near 30 boats for races 2 and 3. Fortunately there were very few capsizes to challenge the safety crews unlike the norm on Monday. However there were a few dicey moments inside the harbour due to swirling winds around the high breakwaters. Jim H
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2019 11:58 AM
Subject: Day 4 at Greystones, County Wicklow
A lay day was scheduled for today to give everyone a rest and avoid a sailing day with forecast winds with gusts to 29 kts. The Wayfarer International Committee had a meeting (Minutes here) with representatives from four Class Associations along with the Irish representative.
Then everyone was off to see Dublin, Powerscourt, the Wicklow Mountains or just hike the 7-kilometer Cliff Walk that runs north from Greystones to Bray. We met Brits and Danes along the trail that overlooked our sailing area. As the wind grabbed our hats and hit us hard in the face, we were happy to be ashore. Tomorrow will moderate slightly and most likely allow two races to be sailed.
Fair winds! Jim
Sent: Friday, July 26, 2019 11:48 AM
Subject: Day 5 of the 2019 Internationals
A bright and beautiful Irish sky greeted us as we looked out to sea and saw a few white horses building on the horizon. 'Twas a lively and enjoyable beam reach to the start area with 4-5 foot waves forming some very steep edges as the ebbing tide came up against the 18-kt southerly breeze. RC briefed for three races.
After a brief delay while marks were locked firmly to the bottom, the fleet was started under a black flag which kept everyone from being too aggressive which would have been hard anyway in the building seas. The 20 or so gold fleeters sailed quickly through the triangle and then drove upwind again staying in close touch with each other.
The rest of the boats were evenly spread out and far enough behind the lead group to allow the RC to take finishes as they rounded the leeward mark at the end of the high speed reaches. As the winds settled in at 20 kts gusting to 27, a second start went smoothly and the racing was similar to the first race. The last third of the fleet was again finished at the leeward mark and were then signaled to go back to harbour as the International Championship was over.
The safety staff were magnificent throughout the regatta as they rescued sailors who had overturned or suffered gear failures.
Looking forward to calmer waters in Feb 2022 at Lake Eustis, FL
Fair winds! Jim