I was lucky enough to have 11 days off work (rubbing it in) to do Airlie Race Week this year. Normally I race on a tenant trimaran called Wildthing, but she is out of action at the moment so when a friend of mine asked me to crew on his mono I was keen. I’m not normally a mono sailor but his boat “fallen angels” which is an Atkinson 24 certainly looks the part. He has just completed a 3 year refit and the boat is in excellent condition and a real credit to him. We did a few months of training and got the old girl up to speed and put together a great crew, bring on race week!
Unfortunately, this year the norm for race week was 25 knots with a bit of rain. Race 1 was a Cones Island race for us, we nailed the start and surfed off to Double Cones at 13 knots, the beat back was a bit average with 30 knots plus behind the Cones and 1-2 metre seas on the way in. I was very impressed with the Angels, well balanced with the number 4 headsail and reefed main, plus we were leading our division – awesome!
Then with half a mile to the finish and back in flat water the rig decided it had enough, and quietly went over the side, bummer. This was the first time I have been dismasted in anything bigger than a hobie cat and it wasn’t what I expected. Very quiet and slow, it seemed to take forever to hit the water. Once it did it was action stations to recover the rig and sails without damaging the boat. Once that was done of course beers were fetched for the skipper and we began the motor back in.
Upon inspection back at the dock we looked for the cause of the failure, no stays had broken! It became clear the mast wall had failed where it steps on the keel, once this had split the mast rotated on the base and down she came. The next day was spent cleaning up the mess, and so ended my first ride for race week..
Enter boat number two, Lickety Split, a beautiful Pescott Whitehaven cat…much more my style.
I was lucky enough to get a ride with Drew and the boys for a few days later in the week. Drew spent 11000 hours building the boat and she is about the ultimate in cruising cats I think. She sails like a dream and was beautiful to helm, responsive with good feel under all points of sail. We had some great results with two seconds over the line and some great sailing. She is the owners home and despite this, would sit on 18 knots, two sail reaching with ease, excellent fun and easier than sitting on rail…..
The big difference I noticed was the difference in the way the mono and multi fleets raced and tactics, but more on that later, I’m off to check our rigging…
Check out more about Lickety Split here http://www.mojocreations.com.au/