MOCRA National Championships : 26th - 28th May 2018
The MOCRA National Championships were this year staged as part of the biennial International Paint Poole Regatta, excellently coordinated throughout by the Combined Yacht Clubs of Poole. MOCRA circuit stalwarts Nitric(Corsair Dash 750) and Tympanic (Dragonfly 28 Sport) were joined by class newcomers Aquafly(Dragonfly 28 Supreme) and the recently-built Grey Goose(Farrier F-31), alongside three boats from the rapid DIAM24 one-design class – Buzz Race Team, 3 Wise Monkeysand Team Maverick SSR(Raygun).
Racing got underway in a variable and gradually increasing 10-12 knots of breeze, RO (don't know his name sorry) setting an Olympic-style upwind/downwind course. Nigel Talbot's Nitricclaimed the pin-end at the start and was quickest off the line, John Hutching's 3 Wise Monkeysalso making a nice getaway. David Vinten and crew aboard Grey Gooseplotted an excellent course up the opening beat to overhaul Nitricand round the windward mark just behind the three DIAMs. Over the following two laps 3 Wise Monkeyssailed a solid race to stretch out their lead and take line-honours and the overall win as part of a DIAM 1-2-3, Raygunnarrowly edging out Buzz to take second. Nitric managed to stay in touch with Grey Gooseto claim 4thon corrected time.
Race 2 followed a similar pattern, Nitricgetting away cleanly off the line before being overhauled by the three DIAMs and Grey Goose, who were all extracting good boat speed in the increasing wind. Raygun and Buzz were again involved in a lengthy tussle at the head of the fleet, Piers Hugh Smith's young crew aboard Raygunholding their nerve to take the gun and the overall lead, just 24 seconds ahead of Phil Cotton's Buzzin second. 3 Wise Monkeysensured the DIAM domination continued, sailing home in third place. Nitric closed the gap on Grey Gooseduring an efficient final lap to take 4thon corrected time.
With the breeze freshening to 13-15 knots and storm clouds brewing ominously over Bournemouth, the Racing Committee promptly got the final race of the day underway, this time setting a lengthier and more unconventional course around the marked buoys of Poole Bay, with a doglegged downwind finish feeding the fleet back into the harbour mouth. 3 Wise Monkeys sailed a cracking race to hold off Buzzand claim a second bullet of the regatta, both boats showing off the spectacular performance of the DIAM in stronger winds to take first and second on corrected time. Grey Goosealso revelled in the windier weather, stretching its legs across the final downwind legs to power away from Nitric and break the DIAM monopoly by taking 3rd, forcingRayguninto 4th spot.
Following a lengthy but pleasant delay due to insufficient wind, a gentle 6-8 knot sea breeze finally kicked in allowing the Race Officer to get the day's racing underway. Neither Buzznor Raygun made it out to the course for the first race, with the remaining boats struggling to reach a heavily pin-biased line at the gun in the light and shifty airs. Nitric and 3 Wise Monkeys nevertheless made good starts to lead the fleet up the first beat, closely followed by Grey Goose and Aquafly.With 3 Wise Monkeysstruggling for momentum in the unfavourably light breeze, Grey Gooseand Nitric seized the initiative to pull ahead downwind. Over a tightly contested final lap, bothGrey Gooseand Nitric avoided the deadly wind holes scattered across the gusts to consolidate a lead, Nitric taking the win by less than 40 seconds on corrected time. The ever improving Aquaflysailed home in 3rd, with Tympanic rounding out the top 4.
Race 2 began with little change in the conditions, the returning DIAMs of Raygun and Buzzadding extra spice on the start line. All boats got away well, with a short first beat creating a bunched rounding at the top mark. Nitric and Grey Goosewere again able to keep pace with the DIAMs in the gentler breeze, and the fleet remained close throughout the race, Nitric making some savvy decisions up the second beat and final downwind leg to take another win, Grey Gooseagain having to settle for second. In fast faltering breeze, 3 Wise Monkeys and Raygun did well to hold off a resurgentAquaflyfor 3rdand 4threspectively, Raygunpipping Aquaflyby a mere two seconds on corrected time.
The final day dawned to beautiful sunshine and almost no wind. With two scheduled races remaining, DIAM 3 Wise Monkeysretained a slim lead in the overall standings on 13 points from Nitric and Grey Gooseon 15 and 17 points respectively. Another lengthy delay of almost two hours provided the perfect opportunity for a preparatory swim and sunbathe before a fragile 5-7 knot sea breeze settled over the racing area. The first race got underway with an Individual Recall, an overexcited Nitric jumping the gun by a boat length. The rest of the fleet made a solid start, Grey Gooseand Aquafly continuing to go well in the lighter airs. Upon dipping back through the start line, Nitricplayed catch-up to good effect and was back in the mix by the leeward mark. In a tight battle over the final lap, Aquafly and Nitricfound the better breeze and sailed cleanly to the finish, with Nitrictaking a series-clinching win from Aquafly in second and Grey Goosein third.
With the wind steadily dropping, the Race officer managed to squeeze in a final race. An audacious attempt at a port-hand flyer by 3 Wise Monkeysvery nearly came off but for the bellow from Nitric, who hit the line with good momentum and were able to tack into a clear lane up the opening upwind leg, thereafter benefitting from a delicious wind-bend that lifted them all the way to the windward mark. With a sizeable lead over the fleet, Nitric held its nerve to find the puffs of breeze and maintain a gap downwind, Aquaflybreaking free from the chasing pack behind. As the doldrums fast decended on the Bay, the Race Officer prudently opted to shorten the course at the end of the first lap, meaning a 4th-successive 1st-place finish for Nitricand back-to-back 2nds for Aquafly, Grey Gooseagain taking third spot ahead of the DIAMs, who were once more left ruing the weather and their luck.
Thus an enjoyable and closely-fought regatta came to a close with Nitric the overall victors, 3 Wise Monkeystaking second and Grey Goosethird. Congratulations and sincere thanks to the Race Officer and his team for putting on three excellent days of racing in what were often very challenging conditions. We look forward to returning to Poole in 2020!
Last updated 22:36 on 16 February 2020