This week’s ACA32 races were pretty exciting. Yuukie Onmura, Liv Leigh, Manul Rotaru, and joepie Korobase all competed. The skippers were fairly evenly matched and traded wins back and forth while racing the familiar NYC B-1A Course around Vella Lavella Island. Here’s the course map, in case somehow you’ve forgotten:
Let me tell you a bit about the second race, since it had a few nice twists and turns that made me wonder if “Manul Rotaru” was a really bad Latin translation for ”dextrous turning.”
As shown above, the race got off to an interesting start with Yuukie Onmura and Liv Leigh overlapped and parallel on starboard as they approached the Start. Liv jumped the gun a bit, however, crossing the line early. Although she immediately spun her boat around to get a valid start, the misstep cost Liv nearly half a minute.
Yuukie’s start was perfect, but also pretty risky; she hit the line at exactly 00:00! Manul Rotaru on the other hand seemed in little hurry, casually strolling onto the course at 00:11.
Once Manul woke up, however, he made up for lost time by skillfully beating to Windward across Bougainville Strait. As shown above, Manul had nearly caught up with Yuukie as they were about to enter New Georgia Sound. The picture also shows that Liv’s making the best of a bad situation; she crossed the line on a port tack, but is far behind the lead boats.
Going for the first mark, the race turned into a duel between Yuukie and Manul that continued over the remainder of the course. As you can see in the above picture, Manul is close-hauled on port as he descends on the red buoy, while Yuukie is really ‘pinching’ as she tries to reach the mark on a starboard tack.
Even though Manul is on port tack, he is better positioned here as he reaches the turn, since he can fall off the wind and gain ground as he cuts close to the mark. Yuukie can’t get closer to the red buoy without tacking, so she’s forced to go wide at the turn.
The picture above illustrates this point. Yuukie is nearly head-to-wind and has begun her tack, but she’s nearly 2 boatlengths high of where she’d like to be.
Manul meanwhile has finished his turn and is starting a fast beam reach going South.
The image on the left shows the damage done by these maneuvers as Yuukie finishes her turn at the mark. Manul has picked up a substantial, several boat-length advantage and his lead will undoubtedly increase as he builds up steam on the long reach leg.
At this point, Yuukie is still resetting sails.
The image below shows the three boats in the “Roaring 40’s,” the three sim downwind run south of Vella Lavella Island. As predicted, Manul Maintained and broadened his lead as he entered Coral Sea For the return trip home.
But don’t count Yuukie out! She made a decisive hockey-stop turn at the Coral Sea Mark and expertly trimmed sail on the beam reach going North to fall into the leeward postion shown below, parallel and overlapped with Manul’s stern. GREAT sailing, Yuukie!
Yuukie now forced Manul to go to work again if he really wanted First Place. Manul rose to the occasion, and once again a Marker turn made the difference.
As shown below, both boats approached the final red buoy in front of NYC on overlapped starboard tack. However, Manul holds the inside position closer to the mark, effectively blocking Yuukie as he goes into this last sharp turn. Yuukie is still a boatlength or two leeward, and in that position she needs more headway before tacking to clear the mark.
The view below shows Manul cutting the turn with precision. Yuukie however has the tougher job here, but she calls the tack perfectly and actually gains ground as she brings her boat around.
The image below shows Yuukie’s bow aligned with Manul’s stern as they complete the tack and aim at the Finish Line. However, any boat will lose power tacking; Yuukie was able to close the gap partly because Manul’s boat slowed coming around the mark. This fact now works against Yuukie, since at the moment of the above picture Yuukie is the one losing speed while Manul’s boat begins to accelerate on the last short sprint to the Line.
Sure enough, Manul got that extra push and pulled slightly ahead again, barreling over the Finish for the victory a scant five seconds ahead of Yuukie. GREAT RACE!
Although I only had time and space to tell you about the above match, Tuesday’s ACA32 Race Fleet went on to complete three more races on the NYC B1A course. Yukkie captured two First Places, and Liv Leigh took the third! The ACA32 skippers are seasoned, skilled, and evenly matched. That’s a recipe for some pretty exciting races to come.