Conde de Barcelona, August 20-24 Alcudia
Three days of marvellous sailing! Rated by many of the fleet as the best racing for years!
The flying fifteen fleet was asked whether we wanted “windward-leeward” courses, but we opted for the same courses as the big boats – 12-19 miles courses are why we come! This is a one of a kind regatta, with challenging legs, beats where you can’t see the windward mark, three metre seas with a chop on top, and good strong breezes.
Seven of us competed, with everyone having a time towards both the back and front ends of the fleet. Each day, our start was the last one, after the classics. This meant we would leave around the time of the first start, and watch the bigger boats start. Normally we’d pass one or two of them before the first mark, and finish before many of them. On Saturday, at least one boat finished an hour after sunset!
The races themselves saw us off on a long beat, first task being to spot the next mark. Once round that, typically a fast reach to the next one, and then more legs around the bay. The weather was terrific, which allowed us to keep close – and pass – the larger boats. There were many tremendous sights, such as eventual overall winner Halloween reaching under full sail.
Social events are a fundamental part of the Conde, and this year improved somewhat on 2013. We had live music on opening night, and bar available when we came ashore.
flying fifteen winners were Michael Clough and Jonny Fullerton sailing Speedy Gonzales. The series had been open right up to the last race, with three boats in it for second place. In the end, all three ended up on 10 points, with the series being decided on countback. This gave second place to Dragonfly with 2,5,3, followed by fuego fatuo (4,4,2) and then ffiel good (3,3,4).
It was sad to see so few classic boats compared to past years. We heard that there are apparently some issues between organisers in Palma and the Fundación Hispania. In the interests of all, the flying fifteen fleet asks all responsible members of the involved committees and organisations to overcome these issues to keep this wonderful regatta alive for everyone.
3804 Speedy Gonzales (Michael Clough & Johnny Fullerton)
3600 Dragonfly (Michael Beecken & Steve Parry)
3577 fuego fatuo (Stephen Babbage & John Walker)
The sail back, August 24 Alcudia – Pollensa
Sunday morning saw the “Parade of Sail” past Southern Cross, led by the flying fifteens. The definition of a yacht race is whenever you have 2 boats in sight of each other, so of course, as soon as we passed behind Southern Cross’ stern of we called “3-2-1 go” and the race was on.
We’d already agreed that boats and crews would switch around, to encourage experience sharing and learning. This even extended to Scott having persuaded a young German lady to join him! We had a beat up to Punta Menorca, close reach with great downwind surfing to Punta Sabater, then a run to Pollensa harbour. Scott and Sabine lost out as they couldn’t fly a spinnaker, and we all passed them. Michael Clough was sailing with Sue Foreman, who showed great downwind speed.
3804 Speedy Gonzales (Johnny Fullerton & Alan Foreman)
3600 Dragonfly (Michael Beecken & Andrew Harvey)
3577 fuego fatuo (Stephen Babbage & Milan)
3420 Heaven Sent (Sue Foreman & Michael Clough)
2500 Kiwi (Steve Parry& José Montero)
3763 ffiel good (Scott Walker & Sabine) no spinnaker
Trofeo Australia, September 6-7 – Pollensa
This was the last weekend before the Europeans, and everyone was keen on final sea trials. Newcomers to the fleet Juan G. Manresa and Luis Valentin Fernandéz had spent weeks working on feelgood factor, an older boat with sail number 3279. Their efforts paid off immediately, as they scored two firsts on Saturday. They discarded their second (to Ken Dumpleton) from Sunday’s first race, and counted the other two races, giving them a total of 4 points form their first flying fifteen regatta. An outstanding performance, and one that gave us all a wake up call for the Europeans.
Second overall was John Leaf and Pepper Constable (Spanish Fly). The last place on the podium was reserved for Ken Dumpleton and Alan Green in Koonjong.
European Championships, September 15-19 – Pollensa
Thirty one boats contested the European Championships, twelve form Mallorca and nineteen visitors. RCNPP put on a great show, with first class organisation on and off the water.
The series started ominously, with moderate breezes, and a delayed start. Steve Goacher took the first race, and Greg Wells the second. The Allegra daily prize was for the Mallorca based fleet, and was awarded to Juan G. Manresa and Luis Valentin Fernandéz in feelgood factor, for highest placed Mallorca boat.
On Tuesday, we had good breezes, and were able to move out into the middle of the bay and sail Olympic courses. Steve Goacher again took first in Race 3, with the McKee/Weatherspoon combo in Fiery Chariot taking the bullet in Race 4. Tuesday’s Allegra prize went to Michael Clough and Alan Green (Speedy Gonzales) for the highest number of penalty turns.
So at end of day two, 1: GBR 4021 (Steve Goacher) 6 [1 2 1 2] 2: GBR 4005 (McKee/Weatherspoon) 10 [3 3 3 1], 3:GBR 4030 (Greg Wells) 12 [6 1 2 3].
Wednesday saw tricky conditions, with wind moving progressively left, and the windward mark moving 3 times before the first start. This was aborted with just 90 seconds to go, to the puzzlement of many. However, the committee’s wisdom was soon proved as the wind move well through North, towards West. The restart was quick, and we all got off to a good battle on the “3 sausage” windward-leeward course. Race was taken by Greg Wells, followed by Steve Goacher.
Second race of the day started in variable light winds, and the local boats were able to bring their knowledge to play, with 4 or 5 in the top ten at the first mark. This was not to last, as the visitors ate away at their lead, although Feelgood Factor stayed up there to finish a terrific third. Greg W & Steve G took the top two spots again, finishing the day on 8 points each after discard. fuego fatuo finished 12th, and Speedy Gonzales 14th, thus Feelgood Factor was the top Mallorca boat, in 12th place, followed by Gekko 13, Fine Fettle 17 and fuego fatuo 18.
The day’s Allegra prize was awarded for mid-week consistency to Emiliano Llinas in Extrasensory Perception.
Thursday dawned a lot cooler, with a good southerly breeze. Windward-leeward was again the order of the day, and good racing ensued. The local boats had got into the swing of big fleet racing, and held their side up well. However, the visitors again dominated, with Greg scoring a 2,1 to give 11 and Steve 3,8 (latter discarded) for a total 13.
So on Friday there was all to play for. Only one race, and winds looking tricky. The committee set a windward-leeward race, with a windward finish.
The winds were extremely variable, and the fleet split fairly evenly up each side. The local boats seemed better at finding the shifts, and there were five or more in the top ten at the first mark. Going down the run, most of the fleet opted to go north, towards the mountains, but this proved a mistake, as the stronger breeze came in from the east and favoured those who’d stayed in the middle of the bay. The second beat was just as tactical, and by playing the shifts the local boats kept well up. Approaching the windward mark for the second time, and having missed the position to tack inside, Greg Wells was heard to say “this just isn’t my day”, as he ducked a starboard tacker, only to find another, and then a third behind them.
Second run was equally challenging, although more bo
ats took the middle course, which again paid well. For the final beat, the wind continued to swing and playing the shifts was the order of the day. Greg had been one of the boats staying out on the run, and had recovered places to put him in contention. Steve Goacher was ahead, but not by much. There were still a number of local boats in the top ten, with a tussle between Feelgood Factor and fuego fatuo for leading Mallorca boat. Single digit finishes looked on the cards for both, but this was not to be. Fifty metres from the committee boat, a hole appeared, and the wind dropped to nothing; they were left drifting, as boat after boat passed them just outside the dead zone. When the wind did fill in, they finished 9 and 19th, having been passed by half the fleet. Steve Goacher took the win, and Greg Wells recovered to take third, which gave him enough points to take the series on 14 points each, but with 4 firsts on countback (to Steve’s 3).
Our thanks to the race committee, and especially to Diego Riera who was on the committee boat every day dispensing local knowledge and comments on how the winds might move.
Final resultsMon 15Tu 16Wed 17Th 18Fr 19
Nov 1 Autumn Series, Real Club Nautico de Palma
Nov 1-2 X Trofeo, Club de Mar Palma
Nov 15 VII Trofeo Lliga, Club Nautico Cala Gamba
Nov 15 AutumnSeries, Club Nautico Arenal
Nov 15 Autumn series, Pollensa
Nov 22-23 Campeonato De Baleares, Club Nautico Cala Gamba
Nov 29-30 III Trofeo Bufete Frau Abogados Club de Mar Palma
Dec 20 Autumn series, Pollensa
Jan 1 – New Year Trophy, Pollensa
More information: http://flyingfifteen.mallorcaservice.de