The Bermuda boats in the J24 fleet had a great day, finishing in the top three spots after the first two races. New Wave led the way, but Jezebel had fantastic speed and were the standout local boat.
At the skippers meet we were told that the RC would probably set up off Pearl Island and race down to Lefroy House, so imagine our surprise when we ventured out into a choppy Great Sound and saw a mark just outside Two Rock and the committee boat down close to Spanish Point looking at the course. There seemed to be mixed opinions as to whether it was jib or genoa weather. Our wind guage was showing 14 knots, so we went with the genoa, but not after tossing our winch handle overboard.
The first race - a 2 lap affair - saw the boats which went right to hug the shoreline doing best - Jezebel and New Wave (who were forced that way after a less than stellar start) immediately made great gains on the lefties. There was a lot of chop out on the left which made it heavy going. At the first mark Jezebel were leading ahead of New Wave, with Catlin V going well. Behind the front three Sadiiqi was trucking. We were languishing after getting pinned out on the wrong side. There was some contact at the top mark between two boats, but it was more of a “love tap” than anything else. Jamie Storey on Sliding Bye managed to put a tear in his jib which was less than optimal. The first downwind saw some boats struggling with gybes in the waves, and we also had to avoid those pesky lasers.
On the second upwind we went right and made up some ground. Jezebel, leading all the way, rounded the final mark in the lead, but an error on the gybe was costly and let a dogged New Wave in. Sue Wallace’s boat grabbed third and Doug Inglis had a great fourth.
There was then a delay as a laser rescue mission took place. We switched from genoa to blade and the RC moved the course slightly to the left. Race two was a 3 lapper. A bad start forced us to the preferred right sid, and we looked up to see the other 3 Bermuda boats, Jezebel, New Wave and Siren as the first boats around the mark. Jezebel were still super fast on the upwinds, but New Wave was better downwind. Behind the front three we were in a close battle with Catlin V, Shogun and SpoRHADiC. Dale Robertson had the boat going well, and Bruce Stone seemed to have got the hang of his boat and was higher and faster through the waves than us. Then, at the top mark, we all came together. We had to duck Catlin V, and then spin in a quick tack in front of SpoRHADiC. In the process we caused Shogun to slow up, and we ended up on the mark and having to do turns. That put Bruce Stone in fourth, with Catlin V behind them, and then us and Shogun duking it out, with Sadiiqi also in the mix.
Up front New Wave again edged ahead of Jezebel at the finish, with Siren completing the Bermuda 1-2-3. A fast-finishing SpoRHADiC was fourth.
The fleet had a debrief at the dock with several beverages, before heading off to Trevor Boyce’s house for the J24 Welcome Party.