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Ajax class at Falmouth Week

by Lindsey Thomas 14 Aug 2011 20:36 BST 6-14 August 2011

23 Ajax’s competed in a 9 race series during Falmouth week 2011 between August 7th and 13th. This included 22 crews from the local area and the crew of Pegasus who had travelled down from the east coast to race on board Aquila, borrowed from the class captain.

The series started on Sunday with squally conditions, dramatic skies, thunder and lightning. Amalthea picked the right shifts and managed to get into different weather patterns to the rest of the fleet, she dominated the first race to win by over 4 minutes. Persephone crossed the line second but they were later disqualified after a port and starboard incident with Aeolus who finished just behind them. The east coast contingent aboard Aquila took third.

Monday dawned with a solid 25 kt breeze which meant that spinnaker work was a dominant factor. Aeolus and Samaki managed to keep the errors to a minimum yet still fly their kites at every opportunity and hence stretch away to win with Persephone finishing 3rd and Ajax 4th.

Tuesday drew lighter conditions for the first 2 race day held out in Falmouth Bay with a NW force 2/3. The first race saw Aeolus, Amalthea and Samaki all prove too keen on the start line and be individually recalled. Aeolus then played the shifts up the left hand side of the course to lead at the first mark, a lead that she held to the finish. Ajax claimed 2nd with Athena narrowly beating Amalthea into 3rd. The second race of the day saw the right hand side of the course start to pay, Amalthea spotted this first and produced another race win with Samaki in 2nd and Mary B and Ajax holding 3rd and 4th.

Wednesday saw the breeze reappear and Aeolus again took the bullet from Athena, Ajax, Amalthea, Samaki and Mary B. These 6 boats were starting to stretch away from the rest of the fleet with some consistently good results.

Thursday brought back a solid force 5 Westerly breeze for the second, 2 race day, held out in the bay. Aeolus managed to judge the shifts correctly and with some slick crew work, they led the first race comfortably with Athena pushing forward to take 2nd and Amalthea in 3rd. In race 2, Samaki managed to nail the start and choose the favoured right side of the beat, extending their lead to the finish, while the minor places were fought out behind them. Amalthea managed to fight their way back up to 2nd with Mary B claiming a well-earned 3rd.

With 2 races to go the series was taking shape, Aeolus held a 5 point lead over Amalthea, who needed to put together a win in the next race to maintain pressure and keep alive their chances of winning the week.

Friday, St Mawes day, brought some good conditions and a demanding course with some interesting tides, wind bends and shifts. Samaki had the better of the first 2 beats and were leading, but Amalthea were working their way up through the fleet hunting down the required bullet. They managed to pass Samaki on the last beat and held on to secure the win with Athena finishing in 3rd in front of Mary B in 4th place. Aeolus managed to recover from a poor first beat to finish 5th.

The series was now wide open with Aeolus and Amalthea separated by 1 pt on 11 and 12, Samaki and Athena separated by 1 pt (for 3rd and 4th) on 17 and 18, and Ajax and Mary B also separated by 1 pt on 24 and 25 (for 5th and 6th).

A Force 3 South Westerly with a flood tide led to ideal conditions for an exciting final race of the series on Saturday. Amalthea won the favoured pin end of the start line with Aeolus shadowing her move. Amalthea managed to tack on a header and cross in front of the fleet. Aeolus had seen more wind to the left and held on for another hundred metres before tacking on a 20° left hand shift which gave them a substantial lead over most of the fleet at the first windward mark. Only Pintail had gone the same way and it was these 2 boats that led at the start of the first run down to St. Just. Aeolus stretched away down the run and then sailed a solid second beat, but over stood the top mark which allowed Persephone and Samaki to catch up. Amalthea had worked their way back to 5th. The reach saw Persephone hold her spinnaker better and sail into first place over the top of Aeolus. After the last leeward mark, Aeolus managed to catch Persephone, but then she shifted her attention back to Amalthea, the boat she needed to beat to win the week. Persephone sailed away to take her first, well deserved, Falmouth week race win, Artemis managed to sail through into 2nd and Aeolus held on to third which gave her the series win. Amalthea finished in 6th which would be one of her discards and see her take runner up position for the week, two points behind Aeolus. Samaki held on to 5th which meant she was 3rd overall in the week, one point in front of Athena who finished 4th overall. Ajax covered Mary B to the finish which in turn meant her position of 5th overall for the week was also secure.

Results at

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