5th of July, 2013

Coastal challenge

It is coastal race day for the 52 SUPER SERIES fleet at the Royal Cup Marina Ibiza as the crews prepare this morning for the first one of the season.

There are two course options. The longer one is 33.9 miles to the NE corner of the island, to the Isla Tagomago. In the forecasted NE’ly breeze that would make for a windward leeward in the bay followed by slightly one sided windward leg out and a run and reach back to the finish line. The second option is if the breeze has veered more into the east and in which case the course comprises shorter legs to the Bajo dén Pen, Espardell and Espardelló Island, the Malvines del Norte and to the finish. That is a course of around 27.4 miles. Winds are forecast to be light, only up to 9-10 knots from the NE, but the sea breeze effect is likely to veer the breeze locally, if not on the bigger scale. Certainly it is unlikely to be a fast ride. And the race points available are only the same as a windward-leeward.

There has been considerable ongoing work by the teams’ sailmakers specifically refining the headsail shapes for the potential upwind and close winded legs, making them fuller and more powerful, and also the A3 generic reaching kites which are  coastal race specific. The rule specifies an area between 200 and 220sqm, any material can be used but the sail cannot be set on a furler. The sail is ‘free’ that is to say it does not cost a sail button, to be registered on the season’s sails limit, as long as it carries the boat’s country flag and the logo of the 52 class at a specified size.
Most of the teams have done their homework in terms of local reconnaissance and information. That will include specific micro navigation issues at key headlands, beaches, shallows looking to see how close they can go to the land, and predicting how the topography will affect the breeze at specific transition areas – acceleration zones, lees, wind bends which might have a positive or negative affect.

Quantum Racing, in particular, have spent some time with one of the few local racing sailors who has sailed from the island for 40 years.

So will that help the regatta leaders? Time will tell …

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Quantum Racing Royal Cup

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