A somewhat delayed post about the nationals – but better late than never!
As mentioned in an earlier post, there were two battles to take place on the final day of racing in the nationals.
The race for first between Sean in Wetty Gripper and Doug in Code Violation and the race for third between Hugo in Vice Versa and Dave in Pacemaker – with both boats only separated by a point.
As it turns out the race for third turned into very interesting battle on that final day.
The goal for Hugo was simple, beat Pacemaker in both races and secure third.
As soon as the northerly filled in and the start gun fired, it was game on. Hugo had the pace and the tactics to keep Dave at bay for the first lap. The comments from the crew on Pacemaker were that they had been outclassed by the team on Vice Versa. During the final lap, Vice Versa held a loose cover on Pacemaker taking them close to the starboard layline. A tacking duel just before the layline gave Pacemaker just enough room to breath on the way towards the mark.
By the time the to boats reached the top mark for the final time, Vice Versa had extended their lead to almost 10 boat lengths. Spotting traffic and a left hand windshift at the top mark gave Pacemaker the break they were looking for and tacked in on the stern of Vice Versa as they rounded the top mark heading for the finish.
From this point, it was game on. Pacemaker had one goal at this point… get in front! What ensued was a shy to shy gybing duel that would have had at least 10 gybes in it (we lost count!) that pushed both crews to the limit of their abilities.
At one point down the leg, Pacemaker broke the overlap and moved clear ahead, but failed to gain a starboard advantage. It was during the second half of the leg, that the Pacemaker crew had realised that something interesting was about to happen on the scoreboard. By locking horns with Vice Versa, Pacemaker had moved Vice Versa back down the field to a point where the boats were due to finish 8th and 9th. It was the 8th that was going to make the scoreboard very interesting as this changed the drops for both boats and left them with even points going into the last race. (For a detailed explanation, which includes hand waving and whiteboards – talk to the Pacemaker crew!)
Race 9 finished with Vice Versa just beating Pacemaker across the line.
The final race was shaping up to be a battle, with both teams going in on even points, but with Hugo ahead on a countback.
An unfortunate first beat and top mark rounding saw Vice Versa stuck at the back of the pack, with Pacemaker having an easy time up the front. The final result saw Pacemaker sneak home with a third.