707s at Cork Week 28 Jul 2006
The Race Officer delayed the start for the first race of the Cork 707 Nationals but even so the wind never rose above 6 knots for the windward leeward course. Chilli Chaser led round the windward mark, followed by Darkness and Swallow, but in the shifty wind conditions lost her lead as the Race Officer shortened the course. Sensibly, the Race Officer decided that a second race could not take place as the wind evaporated, and sent the fleet back to the beer tents.
The weather Gods provided perfect sailing conditions for the second day. A 15 knot breeze, blazing sunshine, and dolphins leaping from the bow wave. What could be better than this? The 707s opted for the Coastal Race. A good breeze from the South East and Beaver Hunter was away, leading the fleet down the eight mile run but with the fleet split there was much changing of places with Sparkle and Darkness following Beaver Hunter around the leeward mark.
Then to the beat. Begorrah, crewed by the Proctor family, made the most of the shifts and gained an unassailable lead which they held to the finish, with Beaver Hunter and Cacciatore in second and third place. Two races down and three to go with Darkness in the lead but all to sail for.
At the first windward mark of the one design course, Begorrah lead from Swallow and Sword, with Sword choosing the left hand leeward mark and Begorrah opting for the right. Although the shifting winds seemed to favour Sword, it was Begorrah who sailed into first place. The wind died and it was back to the beer tents. With two races to go, class chairman Patrick Miles leads in Darkness with 9 points, with Begorrah and Cacciatore close behind with 11 points.
The 707s chose the Harbour Race, starting downwind and downtide so the penalty for jumping the gun was severe. A heavy mist appeared before the start, making it even more difficult to see the start line transits. As a result, the entire fleet were somewhat line shy, but started safely.
At the end of the first run Cacciatore and Sparkle had opened up a lead from the rest of the fleet. On the next foul tide beat Cacciatore chose the Crosshaven side, Sparkle tried the opposite shore and Beaver Hunter went up the middle. Nobody gained much advantage leaving Cacciatore still in the lead. An increase in the wind favoured Beaver Hunter and Aquaholic, who both improved their positions but Aquaholic failed to spot the shorten course flag and dropped a place. Cacciatore finished the day with a three point lead over Begorrah, Beaver Hunter and Darkness.
Good sea conditions with a steady 10-12 knot South Easterly breeze. Five boats were in contention, so this last race would be a tense affair. Beaver Hunter lead at the first mark but Sparkle gybed first at the end of the first run, taking a substantial lead to the left hand mark at the gate. Sparkle maintained her lead at the windward mark on the second leg with Beaver Hunter in second and Darkness and Swallow contesting third. Cacciatore needed to finish no less than three places astern of Beaver Hunter and Darkness to ensure a win for the week. Beaver Hunter rounded the right hand mark in front of Cacciatore, holding that position to the end, whilst Cacciatore held on to fifth place which was all that was necessary.
At the end of a marvellous week of sailing in mostly excellent conditions, Cacciatore claimed overall victory on behalf of the thriving East Coast 707 sailors. Sparkle and Darkness gave the South Coast fleet consolation places of second and third. The next great confrontation between the rival fleets will be at the National Championships in September on the South Coast fleet’s home waters of the Solent.
A condensed report from Y & Y
Cacciatore finished first overall and Richard, Nick and Joth celebrated in fine style that evening in the Champagne tent, joined by Paul Gray and his crew of Beaver Hunter and Angela, Matt, Gus and Michelle of Aquaholic. Beaver Hunter finished fourth, sadly they missed out on joint second or third by one point (had Aquaholic not let Sparkle through on Day 4 at the finish it could have made all the difference). Aquaholic finished ninth, with a disappointing last day.
The Saturday saw shattered crew with Champagne hangovers motoring the de-rigged boats across the harbour to the ferry port. Unfortunately the crew of two of these boats, out of racing mode, failed to notice a long spit from an island with a lighthouse at the end of it. The first boat ran firmly aground and had to wait a considerable amount of time for assistance from Crosshaven. The second boat approached a while later, failed to notice the spit, the lighthouse or query why the other 707 was stationary and attempted to motor a course inside the first 707. Fortunately there was not too much longer to wait until the help arrived as the deadline for loading freight onto the ferry was fast approaching. Those ashore received commentary on the progress of the stranded 707s from an Irishman with powerful binoculars. To find out who these eedjits were you will have to speak to one of the competitors.