The 18 foot Super Skiffs are driven at fantastic speeds by their huge Number 1 rigs in breezes up to about 15 knots, above which they change to their smaller and more manageable Number 2 rigs.
This arrangement generally works very well indeed, but there can be days when problems arise. Yesterday was one of them.
The local forecast for the Bay of Quiberon was for the morning rain to clear by lunch time, and the wind to remain at 6 knots maximum for the rest of the day. The first part was spot on, and the gloomy morning gave way to a sparkling sunny afternoon. The wind, however, had built to about twelve knots by the time the 25 boats from 8 countries took to the water, but the problem was that it continued to build to the point where many crews were finding the Number 1 rig to be a major handfull by the time the race started.
After a really spectacular first beat, the charge around the windward mark was led by Rob Greenhalgh, Dan Johnson and Peter Greenhalgh on RMW Marine, followed by the 15 or so boats that were still up and running. With the conditions becoming tougher by the minute, the British team put on a superb display of heavy weather Skiff sailing, and simply sailed away from everyone. They were, in fact, the only team to get round the course without a single capsize, which gave them a lead of 8 minutes at the finish of the race.
Behind the flying Brits, the only three teams to finish within the allotted time of 30 minutes after the leader were from Australia. In second place came five times world champion Trevor Barnabas on Omega Smeg with Chad Freitas Chris Cleary, ahead of John Winning, also a previous world champion, sailing Yandoo with Euan McNicol and Geoff Beauchop. Fourth was the current Australian championship winning team of Tony Hannan, Cameron McDonald and Greg Windust on Total Recall.
The two unlucky teams that finished out of time were the Danes Flemming Clausen, Thomas Ebler and Soren Clausen on Wempe, and Australians Grant Rollerson, Glenn Raphael and Paul Williams on Fisher and Paykel.
Needless to say, the second race scheduled for the afternoon was postponed.
Racing continues today (Thursday) with three races scheduled.
Race 1 results:
1. RMW Marine, Rob Greenhalgh, Dan Johnson and Peter Greenhalgh (GBR)
2. Omega Smeg, Trevor Barnabas, Chad Freitas and Chris Cleary (AUS)
3. Yandoo, John Winning, Euan McNicol and Geoff Beauchop (AUS)
4. Total Recall, Tony Hannan, Cameron McDonald and Greg Windust