A Wicked Weekend for the Singapore Laser SB20 Fleet
Wicked Racing, Wicked Current, Wicked Port End Bias
The Singapore SB3 Fleet concluded the annual championship with the final weekend regatta over the weekend of the 6/7th November.
The weekend was greeted with much anticipation with two boats in contention for first place for the overall SB3 Cup prize and many other boats looking to improve in the final regatta to get a decent overall position.
The Singapore SB3 National Championship for 2010, is decided over a series of four regattas, one held in each quarter. The idea being that to encourage participation amongst the owners and to ensure a healthy turnout of boats racing. The Singapore SB3 fleet saw 17 different entries take part (15 boats) allowing for names changes. The sailing scene in Singapore for keelboats is typically an expat enjoyment, meaning that many of the owners in the fleet have to interrupt their sailing due to the whims of their employers, either having to run operations in different locations (Hullaballoo) or manage the Asia Pacific region, from the regional headquarters in Singapore. The upshot being that many owners, whilst wanting to sail have work commitments that keep them away, the upside being, there is plenty of duty free for the fleet to enjoy apres sail, with 2010 seeing the emergence of ‘dark & stormies’ as the drink of choice for the fleet.
With 8 boats registered, the racing would see the smallest fleet of the championship so far, sail 9 races. Saturday dawned with overcast skies, and a decent wind blowing. As the fleet started the traditional bimbling activities, with much scrubbing of bottoms, taping of sheets, and some giving a quick sacrifice to the elder gods and practicing the dark art of changing the rig tension. As the excitement built on the dock, the question on everbodys mind was – would the wind hold? A quick briefing by the race committee with a promise of 5 races, with a 30 to 45 minute duration, with fast turnaround, wetted the appetite of the fleet, as they set off from the dock for the 12:55 preparatory signal.
Race 1 saw the tide at its highest, and glorious 12-14knots allow for some great sailing for the fleet. The start line was set a little close to the shore, and some nasty rocks, which has some history for the fleet, with one owner having tested the depth the previous year, resulting in a sudden slowing of the boat, and receiving a nice scar across his face due to a grounding incident. Some early manoeuvres by RedGum in the pre start saw the fleet hold their breath as they gybed round the green buoy close to the pin end – did Marcus not know that this buoy is not a floater, that it is in fact glued to the concrete? Anyway – he survived. With that the fleet then concentrated on the need to ensure a good clean start….Well, with massive amounts of tide, a bouncy sea, and a keen fleet, the first start was something of a eye opener for all. It was virtually impossible to cross the line on starboard, with those managing to get clean wind at the pin end and an early tack onto port faring the best.
The race committee lived up to its commitment and ran the next four races impeccably, going into the next start sequence, some five minutes after the last boat had finished. The first day racings really showed how close the racing was, with typically 6 boats con verging on the windward mark simultaneously, resulting in some very close racing, and in some cases a little too close racing, with some boats, seeing a great position be lost, due to an infringement at the mark.
The results of the first day were provisional at the poolside discussion, as a port / starboard incident between the two leading boats was taken to a protest – the first over the four championship weekends.
The Saturday social, had the traditional ‘dark & stormy’ session planned, but Glasgow Kiss, who had provided the rum on this occasion, had only managed to secure Ginger Ale, as opposed to Ginger Beer, as the local supermarket had run out – I hope all you supply chain mangers of large retail outlets are reading this, as this is the impact it has, which resulted in a poor dark & stormy with most of the fleet opting for an early night o nurse various bruises.
Sunday, saw the crews reconvene at the yacht club, with the keener arriving early, and the not-so-keener arriving after the briefing, and ordering lunch (Team Tara). Bandit was the first to leave the dock, and as they cleared the harbour wall, uttered a quick prayer of thanks to the wind gods – the wind had stayed. The race committee, having been bribed with a couple of beers the previous evening, paid heed to the competitors and moved the start line away from the rocks.
Race 6, saw the fleet get away, with the majority opting for a pin end start, At the first mark the entire fleet converged on the windward mark at pretty much the same time. Those coming in on starboard having the biggest grin as those on port attempted to find a space to tack. Wallace, on Glasgow Kiss, cleared the windward mark in clear air, giving him a clear advantage from the rest of the fleet, which rounded together with much discussion on the rules.
Race 7 and 8 were again run in quick succession. Mention must go to Team Tara, who had a great Sunday scoring a 2nd, 3rd and 4th, Sadly, Su Me lost a crew member (bad planning and bad flight timing) meaning they finished the regatta two up, but could not replicate their Saturday performance.
Race 9 was the only different race fo the weekend with a passage race being set to take the fleet back to the marina. The first leg saw Glasgow Kiss and Alidada round the first mark together closelfy followed by Bandit and Scumbag, a short fetch to Merambong, saw the positions remain the same, with a long close reach to Uncle Phil, the big decision was whether to fly the kite, with the boats fully powered up with white sails, could you hold the kite, and lay the mark! Alidade was the first to hoist and immediately set of at high speed, but not in the direction of the mark! Glasgow kiss soon followed suit, with Scumbag and Bandit leading the white sailed boats, watching as the crews of the leading boats seeked to tame their beasts, as gusts forced the crews to bear off away from the mark. At Uncle Phil, Glasogow Kiss led, having given a mastercalass in tight reaching in windy conditions, rounding in first pace with the kite still up, second to round was Alidade, but without the kite. In 3rd place Scumbag had managed to overhaul Bandit. The hoist onto the reach to the finish caught out Bandit, who suffered with a wayward kite, letting through Tara and Su Me. Sunday was a fantastic day for Wallace and crew on Glasgow Kiss, finishing the weekend with 3 first places, and one second place.
The final prize giving, was held, in a more formal manner than normal for the fleet, having it by the pool, instead of in the pool. Overall, John Prietsly on Su Me finished the regatta in 3rd place, with Fabrice on Alidade in second and Wallace on Glasgow Kiss in first. The closeness of the racing in this regatta could not have been closer, with every boat being in the top 3 at the first mark at least once. Those boats that had been sailing regularly since the big regatta seeming to have the edge. Thanks must go for the over running of the regatta to the race committee, who ensured a very smooth running regatta with minimum waiting time between races, and thanks must also go to Fabrice, who organised the final regatta for the 2010 championship.
For the overall Singaore Sb3 Championship, first place was decided by one point, with Wallace piping Fabrice, in the final regatta to give him the overall winning position. John Priestly, on Su Me finished in 3rd place, with Bob Comstock on Compass Rising who did not participate in the final regatta coming in 4th place. The ‘Rear Admiral’ trophy given to the lowest position boat who had taken part in all regattas was won by Chris Holmes on Bandit, coming in 6th place overall.
SB3 Sailing in Singapore relies on the fleet association members to assist in organising and coordinating the weekend races. For 2010, special thanks must goto Andy and Dave on Team Tara, Robin (where are the fleet hats?) from Pyxis, and Fabrice on Alidade, for sorting out the three SB3 weekends racing, the Raffles Marina, Western Series being the only non fleet organised event.
The Singapore Sb3 fleet goes from strength to strength, boats handling and boat speed have improved across the entire fleet, with the first windward mark rounding, seeing the entire fleet round within a few boat lengths. With an exciting program in place for 2011, the fleet looks forward to more close racing, and new members joining the fleet, especially as there are currently a couple of very fast boats currently for sale. Informal racing takes place most weekends with a regular turnout of at last 5 boats keeping the competition high. With a new committee on the cards, the fleet continues to grow, with more and more boats racing regularly, and the standard and closeness of the racing improving. With the major regattas finished, ll that remains for 2010 is the fleet Christmas Party, and the regular weekend racing.
The Singapore SB3 fleet is the largest one design keelboat fleet in Singapore, with closest racing and, some might say, the best social side of any of the local racing fleets. See you in 2011.