Georgia Racing

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Georgia in fifth with two days to go - improvement areas identified

Friday, August 26, 2011

After eight races, GEORGIA is lying in 5th place, one point ahead of CALM, a well-performed TP52 from Melbourne and 5 points behind LIVING DOLL, a Farr 55 and winner 2 years ago.  The regatta leader is HOOLIGAN, the former ETNZ AudiMedCup winner, which is 6 points clear of LOKI, a Reichel-Pugh 63 and last year's Hamilton Island winner.  HOOLIGAN looks likely to take out the Australian IRC Championship, which is run over 4 regattas, Hamilton Island being the last of them.

After the last report on the web site earlier this week, there have been 4 races: a 27 mile Island race, the long race (63 miles) and 2 windward-leeward races.  GEORGIA finished 8th, 4th, 6th and 5th respectively in those races.  The toughest race by far was the long race, which took part in air which ranged between 22 and 32 knots all day.  The course started with a 17 mile downwind leg, which GEORGIA shone in, reaching the bottom mark alongside HOOLIGAN despite a slow start.  Top speed was in excess of 22 knots with the boat sitting mostly on 20-22 knots and with spectacular water cascades down the deck.

Also take a look at the photo to the right, from www.sailinganarchy.com for a great photograph showing our bowman Shaun Mason [Geeza] hanging out on the gennaker sheet with the hull barely visible.  Geeza has been an absolute star in this regatta, performing brilliantly in incredibly difficult conditions.

At regatta end, we will undertake a comprehensive review of the boat's performance.  Two things seem clear at this stage.  First, the downwind performance is outstanding and as good as any and better than most.  Secondly, though, our upwind performance in heavy weather has been disappointing and SHOGUN in particular, a TP52 currently 3rd in the regatta, has shown us a clean pair of heels, as has HOOLIGAN.   In the long race, our upwind result over a beat of nearly 4 hours was hindered by the fact that our new number 4 gib (being used for the first time) was so inferior to the sail that it replaced (a number "three plus" which we had inherited from ETNZ but which was damaged beyond repair in Wellington last year at the New Zealand IRC Championships) that we had to sail with our number 3 above its range.

Perhaps one other factor that has affected our performance is worthy of mention.  We have during the week lost crew members through illness from a 24-48 hour virus that has meant that we have sailed either short-handed or in the long race were able to obtain 2 very good replacements from Simon Hull's VODAFONE (multi-hull) which could not race that day through a breakage.

The next two days are forecast to be much lighter and with flatter seas so that we may find ourselves in conditions more to the liking of the boat in its current configuration.

By Jim Farmer