Another solid Performance for Barlo Plastics on day two of the Clean Marine Winter Series saw the British Admiral's Cup team boat consolidating her lead at the front of the fleet.
After a two hour delay to allow a howling gale subside the fleet of seven IC45's finally started after lunch. Though the wind was by now down to just 20 knots, the predominantly north westerly direction was far from stable with huge shifts rolling down from the city of Palma and the mountains behind. Just to make life even more difficult, a long swell was still running in from the south.
A rare mistake from skipper and tactician Adrian Stead saw Barlo Plastics on the wrong side of the course out of the start. While 'Investor' sailed off into a left-hand shift and a huge lead, Stead directed Barlo Plastics up the right side of the course. The price to be paid was last place rounding of the windward mark. Showing good boat handling, excellent speed and a better awareness of the shifts, Stead called the shots to put Barlo Plastics ahead of 'Aifos' and 'Babbalaas ' by the bottom mark. Faster K-Yote 2, steered for the first time by the 19 years old, four-times 420 dinghy world champion Nicolas Charbonnier had to return after a premature start. Two more legs of the course saw further excellent progress, with all but the now long-gone 'Investor' slowly hauled in by the finish.
By race two the breeze had dropped yet more, though the shifts were if anything even more unpredictable. One mistake in a day is generally more than enough for Stead and this time he called the start and first beat to perfection. "We came out at the pin with good speed", said helmsman, double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, "and went to the left. When we tacked we crossed the fleet by half a boat length and could control the race from there". With their boat speed confirmed by the previous race's performance, Barlo Plastics sailed a conservative race from here on, shepherding the fleet behind her. Nicolas Charbonnier, keen to show its talent after his disappointment in the previous race put Faster K-Yote 2 into a good position at the start but still could not get the better of Barlo Plastics
Demonstration, if any were needed, as to just how expensive simple mistakes can be in this highly competitive fleet came from 'Investor' who with just one slip on the run managed to split their mainsail. Surprisingly, the race committee gave them enough time to sail back to the dock to replace the sail before attempting to start a third race. With the wind becoming ever more unpredictable, this proved to be their undoing and by the time the third race was underway, the windward leg had turned to a reach and the race was abandoned at the leeward mark.
An attempt at another start proved more successful though this time the windward mark was nowhere to be found. Unsurprisingly, the fleet simply sailed in. With four races now sailed and only two more likely on the final day, Barlo Plastics holds a virtually unassailable lead with fewer than half the points of her nearest rival, 'Babbalaas '. Unsurprisingly, Ian Walker, guest helmsman for the weekend in place of Olympic Gold Medallist, Ben Ainslie was pleased with the performance. "we showed we had good speed and good boat handling and Adrian put the boat in the right place on a very tricky day".
Racing continues on Sunday with a maximum of three more races scheduled.
Results after four races with discard
1 Barlo Plastics 3 pts
2 SEB 7 pts
3 Babbalaas 9 pts
3 Faster K-Yote 9 pts
5 La Casera 13 pts
6 Bounder 15 pts
7 Aifos 18 pts