Ron Rosevear Memorial Night race 13th August 2011

This page last updated on 22nd August 2011

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THE RON ROSEVEARE NIGHT RACE – VAAL DAM 13/14TH AUGUST 2011

Allan Rosenberg -  giving my perspective of the race from GREYLAG – Holiday 23

The hull hasn’t been cleaned for 5 months, the boat has too many things in it which means extra weight, the reefing system on the main sail is nonexistent, will the new GPS work well and will I be able to work it or even more so---will I be able to understand it. These are all the things going through my head at 4 a.m on Saturday morning and my alarm is set to wake me up in 30 minutes time. Is it just my adrenaline or am I just “kop toe” about wanting to clean up the field. Don’t we all? Its 6:30 a.m and I have just arrived at Bayshore Marina and it feels like minus 200 degrees so it’s straight into taking unnecessary items off the boat to keep active and warm. Off with the microwave and on goes the gas bottle/ cooker and lots of cold weather food, Woollies packet soup and Horliks amongst other goodies for the night. All the lighting is changed to LED globes to save battery power, the hull has been scrubbed with a long curved pole with a scrubbing brush attached which helped put my mind to rest about any hull fowling and made me feel more confident. I had no more reservations and 3 hours later I’m ship shape and ready for battle. 

Albert and Heather join me as crew and we set off for DAC which is a 45 minute motor/sail from my spot. We arrive at the start line with 15 minutes to go and I count about twenty boats. Quite intimidating to see J27 ‘s, plenty 30 and 40 footers, a Dragonfly that came second behind the boat that won the Cape to Reo and last year’s night race and a few other big shots waiting to do battle then there are three Holiday 23’s kicking up some dust there as well.

Five minutes to the start and I am lying perfectly to where I want to be. Two minutes and I can’t believe how perfectly positioned I am then I go cold ----I am facing the wrong way. Fast around the buoy and I am amongst the first three boats over the start line by sheer fluke. Five minutes into the race in a seven knot wind, we are all on a close reach and I am holding my own against the J’s and the Dragonfly. The first marker we are racing for is at LDYC and there are seven boats ahead of us now. Four of them go around the marker (club yacht) and the wind dies on us with not more than 25 meters to the marker before I can go about and fly my spinnaker but a group of four boats which includes myself (GREYLAG - a Holiday 23) are forced to watch the first four yachts that were slightly further ahead of us slip away with their spinnakers softly caressing what wind there was. We were stuck there for about 40 minutes in the same place with the race party changed to dinner party with beers and hot dogs listening to the comments on the two way radio on channel 9 with people asking to be rescued with torn sails and broken masts from the gale force winds they seemed to be experiencing. The entire fleet doing under 1 knot and very bored with life. All of a sudden, a slight breeze hits us and its back to business but the wind had turned completely around forcing another beat so my spinnaker had to hitch another ride until further notice. A very frustrating sail towards North Bay and that stretch created most casualties of yachts that retired. The night was still young and we were being teased by a 35 footer with no name and no running lights all in white that became our sparring partner that we gave the appropriate name of “the ghost” that kept on my tail then slipping past me giving us dirty wind then it was our turn to slip past and return the dirty wind favor. This kept on for 3 hours jostling between 9th and 10th spot and we both eventually reached North Bay (3rd) point with “the ghost” in front of us. My pre race plan was to keep right of the island and at this stage, I had a choice of going either way but kept to my plan as there are wider waters for my spinnaker run all the way to the 4th marker (tombstones) but with the wind changing so often and once again blowing a half knot, was expecting another wind direction change. Ten minutes of spinnaker then the wind came up and showed us whose boss. Another complete wind direction turn around and we were into the race we came here for. Gloves, beanies, jackets and everything else we could wrap around us to fight out the cold and it was game on for the next 4 hours in what seemed to be a 12 knot wind with sporadic gusts that made intense sailing from marker to marker and the GPS doing a great job of showing us the way. Something I have not realized up to now how essential it will be for future planning, giving me better options of when and where to tack with a bird’s eye view of the course apart from showing me the way.

So busy keeping myself on full trim, I forgot about “the ghost” who must have gone the other side of the island and had better wind to his advantage, he slipped away and only saw him much later where both of us now had the blue light (the finish line) in sight. He was closer to the land that sheltered the wind so he was slower with no tacks to do and I was on the opposite side of the dam with more wind but more tacks to do. I was panicking a bit - looking at this beautiful white yacht so elegantly heading towards the finish with one straight run in calmer winds and me with at least 5 tacks to reach the line.

The finish should have been filmed. My ghost friend missed the reach by 10 meters and had to do a last minute tack and I was aimed at the bad side of the line with all three of us leaning the boat in order to scoop some reaching ground. My nose got there first with a 5 second advantage and managed to get 9th place although we both deserved it.

To conclude:

 The race organization was so well done with each of the 6 points manned by a stationed boat that took details of each yacht that passed their marker and radioed the information to a central command post. We could follow the race boat for boat and knew where we were and what distances lay between each boat that was very helpful to all competitors.

I would also like to give a mention to the rescue craft that were covering the entire course on their crafts that always kept us feeling safe in this dark spans of water throughout the night. I think Ron Roseveare has something to do with keeping a calm in the air. The whole race was incident free and most enjoyable.  

Allan Rosenberg             

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Pictures by Wynand Grove "Gitan 008"

Yip, Gitan (sail 008) with its crew named “Clew-Less” is one of two H23’s who successfully completed the Ron Roseveare Night Race on Vaal dam over the weekend. 

With the initial start at DAC (odd 22 boats) we had some fair wind conditions but just before approaching the first marker at LDYC it was all gone with no wind whatsoever. Although Gitan’s crew started 2nd last (it’s our first race still learning) we managed the outwit some boats and climbed 7 places as we went past the first marker, one of which was slipping in seconds before the experienced Romey Jane (Roux Gerber) of which our crew silently had a quite BUT serious party in the saloon for a brief moment. But I must admit, it was beginners luck or Roux allowing us to past, either way we were quite motivated there after!!!  

With a now and then puff (and almost losing our gas braai on route, thanx to crew member “OOPS” who regained his composure) we eventually made it to North Bay (3rd marker) of which we jumped another spot in the rankings, with an ongoing and close battle between us and two other 30 ft’ers. Passing on the inside of the island a “lekka” Easterly came which allowed Gitan to consistently sail between 4 and 6 knots passing the 4th and  5th marker in no time. In this time we gained some valuable time as we left the remaining 30 ft’er behind and crept up on a whole lot of boats which was way ahead of us. During this excitement I lost the plot and made some serious cock-ups (I think my brain froze from the cold) which left us seeing the whole bunch again fading away in the distance and again we were in a close race with the 30 ft’er. 

With a lack of wind speeds for the final two legs of the race, we eventually passed the Blue light at Pennant Nine a few seconds ahead of the 30 ft’er (which made us second last to complete the race at 12th place) in 9 hours 21 minutes...but hell it was worth it!!! 

Well done to Greylag who managed to scoop 9th place...we’ll see you next time round. 

Regards, 

Wynand Grove'

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Comments by Roux Gerber "Romy Jane"

Ek is bevrees ek gaan begin bekend staan as Romy DNF Jane...

Lekker wind voor die race.

Op eerste merker by LDYC vrek wind en ek is te swaar om met .5 kts oor die weg te kom.

Het toe maar vasgemaak aan Johan Kotze se cat en so gekuier dat ons middernag nie die eiland kon kry nie!

Geluk aan Wynand, H23-8, wat aan sy eerste regatta deelgeneem het en 0400 Sondagoggend klaargemaak het!

Roux

 

 

 

 

 

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