Great regatta and exciting matches again for the finals!
On Thursday 5th April, Beane, with replacement crew Laured, representing Le Bar de la Marine / CNF, faced Looralie and Phil, sporting the colors of the HotLaps organization, for the Consolante Finals, a best-of-three series.
The following day, Rayz and Daenerys would defend the North Sea Racing colors against Viv and Palani, a pair from the Blake Sea, jointly representating Nantucket YC and Fishers Island YC. Eventually, the Grand Final was sailed on April 11th.
First, the CNF team showed all their mastery and racing skills, controlling their match against a fast, but slightly unlucky opponent.
The first match saw both boats across the line in close quarters, Beane/Laured slightly ahead.
Loo/Phil remained close though, keeping the pressure on the leading boat.
After 3 marks, only a few boat lengths separated the racers, as they sailed into the difficult Ziziphus part of the course.
There, Beane/Laured committed an unusual error around the mark, capsizing on the spin launch. Loo/Phil took advantage and went ahead while the other team gathered themselves.
Loo/Phil managed to have a 3-to-4-boat length advantage at the leeward gate but may have made a wrong choice there: they decided to go North with a gybe then a tack, while Beane/Laured split South for a simpler maneuver (1 tack only). On the next tack upwind, Beane/Laured managed to accelerate faster, coming out of the easier maneuvers and recovered the lead. They then extended that lead just enough to finish the match comfortably ahead. 1 point to Beane/Laured.
Unfortunately, the second race was over almost before it started as Loo/Phil got stuck in some fishermen’s line by the pier bordering the pre-start area to the North. By the time they passed the line, Beane/Laured had already built an extended lead. Despite their best efforts, Loo/Phil couldn’t fill the gap and conceded the match.
Beane/Lauren thus win the Consolante Final on a 2-0 score. Congrats to them!
After a false start on Friday 6th, the Grand Final took place this past Wednesday. And the spectators had some exciting racing to watch, as all matches saw reverses of fortune for both teams.
The tension was palpable in the pre-start area as both teams got ready for the first race: Viv/Palani on port side, Rayz/Dae on starboard. Both took a slow and controlled start, circling away from each other, looking for their preferred starting spot.
In this game, Rayz and Dae showed better timing and acumen starting ahead with slightly better speed to mark 1. They kept their lead for the next two marks, preserving a slight advance as both teams converged to mark 4 in Ziziphus.
As seen before, this is a tight spot: not much room between the Out-of-bounds and Ziziphus Island, and a full change of settings: a tack around the mark, raising spin while switching daggers and adjusting sails trim!!
Under pressure from a closing opponent, Rayz/Dae took too wide around the mark, which opened the door for Viv/Palani to plunge inside and windward. Indeed, this proved a crucial positioning as Viv/Palani overtook Rayz/Dae by the next mark. They then extended their lead to the finish, for a comfortable first win.
The second match start was a replay of the first, Rayz/Dae timing their start better and again crossing ahead on the line. However, this time Viv/Palani were hot on their heels. with enough speed to pass ahead by the first mark, again taking advantage of an inside windward position at the mark. From that commanding position, they quickly increased their advance, to finish comfortably again after a near-flawless display.
The next race proved to be quite eventful, with a lag storm playing with the racers nerves and skills. With no choice but to win to keep the match alive, Rayz/Dae needed to start well, but went too fast on the line needing to turn around with about 15 seconds to go. Viv/Palani were slower, but decided to bail off at the last second to avoid an early start as well, conceding the start yet again to Rayz/Dae.
That was all the North Sea team needed to build a solid lead. And they made a near-perfect sail around the course, never letting their opponents back in the race. In the meantime, pushing their boat a bit too hard, trying to catch up, Viv/Palani got into troubles, as a lag storm developed in the wake of the leading boat: 2 capsizes later, due to malfunctioning daggers, and poor coordination trying to fix it, the race was over, and Rayz/Dae got on the scoring sheet with their well-deserved win.
The fourth race proved to be the most exciting yet.
Rayz/Dae took the best start yet again, but Viv/Palani managed the same inside coup as in the 2nd race, taking the lead at Mark 1.
They seemed to extend their advance until mark 3, looking set for another comfortable win.
But Rayz/Dae fought hard to stay in the game and took advantage of Viv/Palani strangely slow 4th leg to catch-up at the Ziziphus mark. Coming in full speed, they rounded the mark faster and regained the lead. Viv/Palani recovered quickly though to remain about 3-4 boat lengths behind only at mark 5. By the leeward gate in Carob, only 2 boat lengths separated the two teams. The match was hot and still undecided as both started the upwind leg to Muskmelon gate. The two teams engaged in a tacking duel, Viv/Palani slowly catching up with slightly better speed.
The final twist in this race took the form of an unexpected lag wave on the last tack towards the windward gate: Viv/Palani sailed on while Rayz/Dae dropped behind. Positions did not change from then on.
So Viv/Palani earned their third and final point, wrapping up the series at 3-1.
This is the end of the 1st edition of the Free Spirit Cup.
Before a full review I would like to express my warmest thanks to the RD and her officials’ team: Cryptic, head RD, Lucy, August, Joshua.. We couldn't have made it without you
Great thanks to all the skippers and crews also for putting up with my imperfect organization. I hope all are back for the next edition !
Also thanks to Petra and Cryptic for making the North Sea available to our Cup.
Finally a word for Kayo with whom we started this endeavour but couldn’t take part this time.
Please stay tuned for notices about the Prize ceremony and party which will take place soon.