J24 UK Nationals at Poole Regatta
Author: Harry O'Reilly Posted on: 5/6/12 Print Version

Report by Harry O'Reilly on Kilcullen Euro Car Parks
Wednesday 30th May

We arrived with the boat into Parkstone Yacht Club at 6 o'clock on Wednesday evening. We unpacked the gear and left it ready to be rigged and tuned the next day and headed to our accommodation where we got some much needed sleep after a long day travelling.

Thursday 31st May

Fully rested and eager to get started working on Kilcullen we arrived at the club at 10. We spent much of the morning cleaning off the dirt that had accumulated on the hull when we were travelling. We then polished it silky smooth. We then reattached our fittings and hoisted the mast before tuning the rig with the help of Graeme Grant. By seven we were happy with the boats setup and finish. We decide to get some dinner and get an early night so we will be able to get to the club early to launch Kilcullen. We will be meeting the 5th member of our team "83Kg" tomorrow. We'll weigh in and look to launch and get out sailing as soon as possible. Tomorrow will be our first event as a team outside Howth and we are looking gain as much experience as possible. With 30 boats entered for the regatta we are expecting a very high standard. We will put in our best effort tomorrow and see where that takes us

Friday 1st June

Live to fight another day.

Race one started at 1:10pm under black flag, after a general recall. There was 7 knots of breeze. Tide was pushing up to the windward mark on the left of the race course with more press out left as well. Plan was to head left early and start middle of the line. The line was too short for the fleet to fit on. Unfortunately ended up at committee boat end with an early tack to clear our air - then back out left. We were happy with our upwind speed and pointing compared to others. We rounded the windward in the top half of the fleet and went to the left on the downwind to avoid the tide. The wind took a 90 degree shift and the Race Officer canned it.

Race two started at 4:05pm. The aim was to start at the middle of the line and head left. Tide was running from the pin to the committee boat. Sadly we sailed into a hole and were punching tide. Despite our best efforts we, along with half the fleet didn't make the start line within the allotted time. Resulting in a DNS.

Improvements for tomorrow - more aggression in the starting area.

Saturday 2nd June

After the lack of wind yesterday, we headed out into a fresh breeze from the west that built all day. The start line had been lengthened slightly by the race officer but space was still hard to come by. We had four tough races, each starting with a black flag after several general recalls. The start line was very congested but we learnt how to cope with it and improved throughout the day. We finished 22nd 16th , 23rd and 20th . The results reflected a tough days sailing in a highly competitive fleet where our smallest of mistakes were severely punished.

It was a long days racing and when we got off the water we were exhausted. We returned to our accommodation where we cooked and quickly collapsed into bed.

Sunday 3rd June

We went on to the water looking to post results that we felt our performance the previous day deserved. The wind was dramatically stronger than the previous and the fleet had unanimously decided not to go sail with genoas in favour of the smaller jib headsails. After yet another general recall the race got underway but we got stuck in bad air coming off the start line and as a result we found ourselves fighting at the back of the fleet. With some clever tactics we managed to lift ourselves to finish in 19th position.

The next race again was only started after more general recalls. The fleet finally got away with a black flag. We stormed off the middle of the line with a group of boats and managed to hold our lane, we rounded the windward mark with the top group of boats but that's where our race ended as we found or bow number on a list of boats that had been black flagged. Disappointed, we retired form the race.

Our approach to the third race was similar to the second. We started strongly in the middle of the line and once again rounded at the top of the fleet. Just as we were preparing to hoist the kite when our bottom rudder pintle snapped, forcing us to retire.

Onshore we worked late into the night to get new parts for the rudder and replace the broken ones.

Monday 4th June

Today brought lighter winds which were welcome. The first race started with out recall and despite a poor start we recovered to briefly enter the top ten. It was a tough race in changeable conditions and an unfortunate wind shift on the last beat meant we crossed the line in 15th.

The wind dropped further for the final race of the series. We got stuck in bad air straight after the start. The fleet spread out quickly and we were only able to recover to 22nd position.

It has been a tough couple of days with excellent racing in all conditions. The experience has given us lots to work on in training and will only make us more determined
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