21 January, 2017

No one has ever written a book “Zen and the Art of the SB20 Start”.  Certainly there were few, if any, moments of zen to be found in the SB20 start line for Race 4.  In a 12 knot North Easterly monsoon breeze, the 23 crews battling for the SB20 Asian Grand Slam had to be called back by the starter twice before they got underway.  Even then, three boats, including the overnight regatta leader, Glasgow Kiss, could not keep behind the line and suffered disqualifications.


When the racing finally did get underway, boats making their way to the right hand side of the course found more breeze and favorable shifts to lead around the top mark.  The always fast Xcellent led the way in front of a tight pack of boats including Zorro (Nick Cocks, Peter Butters, Gen Chase) and Team Uber (Adrian Peach, Paddy Bettesworth, Hanus Apelgren, Eren Choi). Down the run it was all change with boats who were able to execute crisp gybe-sets gaining valuable places. By the bottom market the fleet had converged – raised adrenaline and raised voices being testament to the excitement of 15 boats jostling for space to round the mark at once.  After a third beat and run, the order had shaken itself out to some familiar names with Xcellent (John Pollard) crossing the line ahead of a fast finishing but subsequently penalized Glasgow Kiss (Nils Razmilovic) followed by Team 3LB (Anthony Kiong) and Tara (Nik Burfoot). Thai Platu National Chapion, Scot Duncanson in Shameless had a strong 5th with Walababy (Steve Manning) claiming sixth just ahead of the students from Singapore Poly Technic on Bandit.


The good wind persisted and the race committee was quick to fire of a second race.  However, the fleet couldn’t contain itself and was recalled again.  The race committee who had been using the “U Flag” (which has only recently been elevated to a Rule of Sailing in the 2017 amendments), resorted to the black flag.  With the back flag in the air it was if a miasma of pestilence had settled on the start line and the rambunctious fleet was finally pulled into order approaching the line very warily.  The fleet completed two laps of the track in solid breeze and there were close boat on boat contests for the positions all the way from first through to 23rd.  By the end of the race Team 3LB (Anthony Kiong) had notched up a second win (the only team to have won two races in the regatta) followed closely by Tara (Nik Burfoot) and Xcellent (John Pollard) rounding out the podium.


As Race 5 ended a huge storm rolled in over Singapore reducing visibility to just a few meters in driving rain and strong winds.  The safety officers assessed the situation and elected to end racing for the day giving the crews an early finish and plenty of time ashore to enjoy refreshing beverages at ONE15 Marina.


After today’s racings the overall positions are all changed.  Xcellent (John Pollard) has jumped into first (15 points). Nik Burfoot’s Tara had a strong day and looking to have shaken off a slow start to the regatta is sitting in second (21 points).  Team 3LB (Anthony Kiong) is in a strong position after two wins and moves up the order to 3rd (26 points).  Steven Manning’ Walababy, stocked with a fully professional crew has consolidated into 4th place (30 points) ahead of the students from Singapore Polytechnic on Bandit (33 points).  Only one point separates 6th through 8th where CN Salettes (38 points) sits ahead of Shameless (39 points) and early leader Glasgow Kiss (39 points).


The points are extremely close through the rest of the fleet. After 5 races, only 7 points separate 13th placed SAM (Sam Chan – 69 points), Hanuman (Morten Jacobsen – 70 points), Katana (Robert Jessing – 72 points) and Werner (John Bateman – 76 points).  Olympic sailor Josh Grace (sailing Tara) summed up the situation “all the boats have had good races and bad races; once the drop comes into play tomorrow anything could happen. It is certainly tight at the top and throughout the fleet. We hope the good winds continue and are looking forward to another great day on the water tomorrow.”