Ajax 23 One Design Keel Boat – day racing at its best!
Ajax Summer series 1 & 2 race report.
The wind was blowing from the WSW force 2-3. The course was set with Deer Park as the windward mark and a run down to Park Bight and a reach to Park Farm Beacon and a beat back to the line.
Telamon made the best start. Thunderer followed with Guillemot to windward and behind having tacked after starting at the leeward end.
Telamon slightly overstood the starboard tack to the windward mark having not allowed enough for the strong flood tide. This allowed Thunderer to tack early and just lay and squeeze through into the lead.
Ajax National Championships 2017
There were nine entries for the 2017 Ajax class championships sailed in Dovercourt Bay, Harwich from 16th to 18th June. Conditions were ideal for racing in the bay with the first day providing a shifty west north west wind from the shore that provided opportunities upwind for overtaking, with the second two days sailed in a sea breeze from the south.
The first race was probably the most dramatic with a number of place changes. Telamon led at the first mark and was caught by Thunderer on the run. On the second beat Polly Oliver gained the lead and held on to take the win with Telamon second and Thunderer third. Race 2 was set as an triangle, sausage course. Thunderer won the start with Polly Oliver looking lost on port and over the line. At the windward mark Puffin, Telamon and Guillemot were in contention. Thunderer had a comfortable lead and with the next group of boats going wide at the gybe mark Polly Oliver was able to gybe inside and gain second place. Guillemot extracted herself first from the group of boats and held on for third place.
The final race of the day had a slight pin end advantage and Polly Oliver ducked under Guillemot to win the pin with Thunderer starting closer to the Committee Boat. A shift on the first beat allowed Polly Oliver to tack clear and lead round the first mark followed by Thunderer and Dionysius. The first two boats remained clear but there was a tight battle for third with Dionysius loosing out to both Telamon and Guillemot on the short beat to the finish.
Day two started with a light westerly wind. Guillemot started at the Committee Boat end and went right up the beat and Polly Oliver led the remaining boats up the left side. As the windward mark approached Guillemot took advantage of a favourable shift to lead round the mark with Polly Oliver second and the consistent Thunderer third. On the run the wind died and the sea breeze filled in. This did not alter the places with Guillemot holding on to win and Polly Oliver second.
After a short break to allow the new wind to settle Race 5 was started. Polly Oliver again led away from the start with Thunderer and Guillemot behind. Teal was also in the mix and at the second windward mark rounding these three boats were close. Thunderer managed to get away down wind with a slick spinnaker hoist with Guillemot in third. For the final race of day two Thunderer had the best start and led from start to finish. Polly Oliver was again over the line avoiding an aggressive Telamon but was able to recover to second by the windward mark by benefitting from a favourable shift on the right hand side of the beat. This left the overall championship position as advantage Polly Oliver with Thunderer needing to win both races on the final day. It was also close for third between Telamon and Guillemot.
The final days sailing was sunshine and a force three sea breeze from the start time of the first race. The bay was alive with boats, including the classic yacht regatta. For race seven three boats had good starts, Polly Oliver, Thunderer and Telamon. Telamon was able to lead around the first mark and with Polly Oliver covering Thunderer up the second beat Telamon held on to win and by keeping Thunderer back in third Polly Oliver was able to secure the championship with a race to spare.
The final race was again led by Polly Oliver for the first lap but she overstood the windward mark on the second beat allowing Thunderer to take the lead which she kept to the finish. Behind these two Telamon confirmed her third place with another third.
The championships were well organised by the Royal Harwich Yacht Club and with the weather and the wind conditions being ideal for racing in the sheltered waters of Dovercourt Bay. The crews of the leading boats were:
Polly Oliver – Mike Clayton, Bob Portway and John Gill
Thunderer – John Williams, Hugh Williams, James Williams
Telamon – Gordon Sutton, Mike Moore, Philip Codling
The overall results are shown below:
Rank Boat Sail No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Nett
1st Polly Oliver 17 1.0 (2.0) 1.0 2.0 1.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 11.0
2nd Thunderer 14 (3.0) 1.0 2.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 3.0 1.0 13.0
3rd Telamon 61 2.0 4.0 3.0 (7.0) 5.0 3.0 1.0 3.0 21.0
4th Guillemot 20 (6.0) 3.0 4.0 1.0 3.0 4.0 4.0 5.0 24.0
5th Teal 26 5.0 (8.0) 6.0 4.0 4.0 5.0 5.0 4.0 33.0
6th Dionysius 71 4.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 (7.0) 7.0 7.0 7.0 40.0
7th Sirius 34 (7.0) 7.0 7.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 44.0
8th Puffin 23 8.0 6.0 8.0 (10.0 DNC) 10.0 DNC 10.0 DNC 8.0 8.0 58.0
9th Indefatigable 38 (10.0 DNC) 10.0 DNC 10.0 DNC 10.0 DNC 10.0 DNC 10.0 DNC 10.0 DNC 10.0 DNC 70.0
Short Sharp Series
We had an excellent Short Sharp Series brilliantly organised by Race Officer George Finch.
Six races were planned and six were sailed.
Six boats appeared at the start line after heavy thunderstorm rain which had dampened spirits somewhat.
The sky then turned blue and a light SE breeze appeared and the sun cream was required after all.
Guillemot led the first race from the start after Thunderer and several others tried to be too clever at the pin end and got away very slowly.
The wind gradually veered to the South during the day and increased which allowed the RO to vary the courses very considerably.
The wind, now off the South shore became very variable in strength and direction which allowed big gains and losses.
Almost all the boats had their turn at the front and the racing was very tight.
Thunderer had at least 2 senior moments where she set off to the wrong mark, and Teal had a win disallowed for missing out the line for the second lap.
Gordon in Telamon won the event with 11 points after the most consistent series, Thunderer and Guillemot were tied on 12 and the next 2 boats were tied on 13.
Well done Gordon and crew for a popular win.
Thanks again to George and crew for their excellent work on the committee boat.
Ajax Spring Series Races 11 & 12
Ajax Spring Series Races 9 and 10
Ajax Spring Series Race 7 and 8
A warm weather race and hotly competitive. 8 Ajaxes windward-leeward courses in a shifty WSW3-4. Courses Race 7 : DeerPark
port, Prof port, Race 8 No.7 port Prof port, through line A each lap, each way.
A bundle at the start with boats squeezed against the marinas by later Starboard tack boats, with Sirius caught by PollyOliver while trying to escape on port. The collision sent both boats to the back of the fleet, but no material damage.
Meanwhile, Thunderer kept clear in the North side of river, and established a lead which she held to the end. Dionysis also kept clear, and showed good speed to pass Teal and finish within seconds of Thunderer.
For the second race (race 8) the opening beat was very short which led to a frantic mark rounding with most boats approaching on Port, with varying degrees of overstanding. As usual, the issue was resolved with a lot of shouting and Sirius managed to scrape inside from an unpromising approach route on Port. Thunderer was clear away from the melee, and sailed downwind into a substantial lead.
Behind these two, the fleet approached Prof in line abreast and some more shouting was needed for everyone to get round.
The second lap was slightly less noisy (some of us were getting hoarse by that stage) and the fleet finished, mostly within a 1minute interval. Thunderer held her lead from Dionysius, but Sirius again squeezed in between them at the finish ODM, to end a particularly eventful 1st race day of the season for them and The Williams in Thunderer.
A good days sailing for all, even those of us who did not finish in the front half of the fleet, and we can’t wait for next Sunday!
Ajax Spring Series Race 5
Sunday 7 May saw a cold northerly wind blowing and it was not perhaps surprising that only 3 boats sailed downriver for
the Clamp House start. After some gentle lobbying by the crews of Teal and Pegasus the course set was a simple one, Collimer
(S), Pye End (P), Collimer (P) with a finish between Bay and No 4. The expectation was a spinnaker run out and a beat
back, if only sailing was that straightforward.
With such a long course it seems appropriate to try and allocate points to show how the three participants fared. Polly Oliver (3 points) had the best start followed by Teal (2 points) and Pegasus (1 point). The boats stayed in this order until Pepys where the prevailing NNW of the river was cancelled by a north easterly sea breeze. At this point the boats concatenated and Pegasus (3 points), and Teal (2 points) both drifted past the becalmed early leader (1 point). The previous order was restored shortly thereafter and Polly Oliver led towards the Harwich shelf. Here the caution of Polly Oliver and Teal allowed Pegasus to sail closer to the shore and lead towards the breakwater. So at this point 3 points to Pegasus, 2 to Polly Oliver and 1 to Teal. With the sea breeze shifting to the South-east Pegasus established a good lead on the way across Dovercourt Bay to the turning mark. Behind Teal earned a bonus point by drifting past a stationery Polly Oliver with sails filled.
Then the wind shifted back and the prevailing Northerly filled in and spinnakers were hoisted. This helped Polly Oliver and Teal to catch Pegasus with Polly Oliver nipping past a gentle Pegasus luff to reach Pye End first. The resulting 3 points gives the points score to Polly Oliver with 2 for Teal gives a tie with Pegasus. The race really began again at Pye End with Polly Oliver first away followed by Teal. Pegasus was hindered by a slow spinnaker drop. The boats remained in this order to the finish with Polly Oliver pulling away from Teal on the long beat back.
Results: Polly Oliver 1, Teal 2, Pegasus 3
Ajax Spring Series Races 3 and 4Conditions were not kind for the second week of racing in the Ajax Class’ spring series. The wind was blowing from the South East with gusts of up to 35 knots and few lulls in between. The Tera class, due to be racing in an open event were held ashore waiting (without luck) for the wind to ease when the Ajax’s were helped away from the lee shore marina berths for their first race at 13:30. With a beat down river from the club line the course was set as No 6 (P), Grog (P), Line A, No 7 (P). The inclusion of No 6 was designed to encourage the fleet towards the southerly shore initially in case the Tera fleet were able to race.
Five boats came to the line and the first beat required a number of port trackers to duck starboard boats as they tried to dodge the tide and the wind shifts. Polly Oliver managed to get a lift along the shore after No 6 and rounded Grog with a small lead. Behind her Dionysius, Teal, Telamon and Pegasus were all closely bunched. The run up river was nerve racking for those flying spinnakers as it was a dead run with the last of the flooding tide. On the second beat all boats opted for the northern shore initially, with the exception of Teal who retired after damaging her mainsail on No 7.
Dionysius pressed Polly Oliver and was close behind by Grog after Polly Oliver was left without jib sheets. Further spinnaker issues slowed Polly Oliver on the run allowing Dionysius to surge past and take a well-deserved win on their first outing of 2017. The spinnaker carrying Telamon completed the podium ahead of Pegasus.
The second race of the day had the same course and this time Polly Oliver stretched away from the start line and was never challenged. Behind her Telamon kept finding starboard boats and managed to translate a good start into fourth place by the time Grog was reached. Pegasus sailed well to round Grog with Dionysius but her lack decision not to fly a spinnaker downwind meant she dropped back to third downwind.
Results. Polly Oliver 2,1 Dionysius 1,2 Pegasus 4,3 Telamon 3,4 Teal DNF,DNS