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International Canoe World Championship at Pwllheli - Day 2

by Dougal Henshall 22 Aug 2017 10:49 BST 19-25 August 2017

Race 3 - Wind 160 degrees 6-9 kts. Rain and sea mist.

Some things never seem to change! Day two and whilst 90% of Wales was forecast to be bathed in sunshine, on the weather map a single black cloud was positioned right over Pwllheli. It is such a shame for this is now shaping up to be a really good event, well supported by local sponsors (what scribe would NOT want to thank the excellent Gwinn Lyn Wines from Pwllheli, a very local company that is proud to be associated with Pals Heli) whilst it says much of the re-emergence of the IC fleet as a powerhouse in sailing that they can attract a high-quality headline sponsor such as Hytera, a leading global company in radio communications.

After a short delay, the fleet headed out to where most thought the start must be. The clouds hung low over the sea with rain and a thickening mist giving what could be seen of the course a grey monochrome colour. With wind over tide, the sea was confused and in the unstable winds, there were shifts and holes aplenty. Chris Maas looked to be continuing where he had left off the day before. Showing good speed upwind to go with his acknowledged downwind performance, the American sailor was able to control the fleet from the front. Wood meanwhile was in an uncharacteristic 6th place at the windward mark. At least going upwind, you know that at some point you'll get to Mark 1, once on the reaches the problematic visibility really came into play. Some went too high, others went too low and the main fleet, which had already shown how quickly it could spread out, became even more dispersed. It was a tad easier for the asymmetric fleet; having gotten themselves upwind, they only had to sail deep (which the ACs do anyway) for their leeward mark to appear out of the gloom.

With the lumpy sea, the leading Asymmetric might have been aptly named as Seasick Steve, sailed by Stephen Bowen racked up his second win ahead of arch-rival Andy Gordon. Another helm who was continuing the winning trend was Andreas Steiman, who took his second win in the Taifuns.

For the main fleet, the last lap was miserable, with more rain than mist and a softening breeze. Maas was clear away, with Alistair Warren and the consistent Gareth Caldwell linking him to the rest of the fleet; Wood would have one of those bad mornings, having a very 'unlike Robin' moment just after the bottom mark where he didn't capsize but seemed to spend a long time stuck at 45 degrees before finally getting going again. These moments all add up with Wood only finishing 6th This time there was to be no confusion. The races would not be run back to back, so after the shortened course had been completed, the fleet were free to grope their way back to the beach

Race 4 - Wind 220 degrees. 7-11kts, Improving visibility and NO rain.

Unlike the previous day, when the break for lunch had allowed the conditions to deteriorate markedly, after the 2 hour break the conditions had improved considerably, with much better visibility and a stronger, steadier breeze. The course had been set up on 205 degrees but just before moving into a start sequence, it was clear that the wind was tracking right. The Race Team made the right call, the mark layers very quickly re-laid the course and off a true line, the fleet set off with most helms fully hiking at the extremities of the sliding seat.

The conditions were enough for some interesting capsizes, rather than the earlier, more simple swims that usually followed clumsy tacks. The latest variants of the International Canoes were now fully powered up and demonstrating just how fast they could go. Woods was leading again, but by the bottom mark Maas had closed the gap and looked to be aiming to challenge for another win. With a little more breeze, the asymmetric were now starting to 'heat up' on the downwind legs and were doing their windward leeward laps in a much quicker time. This would be a race that would certainly go the full course.

It would be easy to report that Robin Wood got a mega windshift that re-opened the gap between him and the chasing pack but that would be wrong. Not only that, but heading up the beat he was keeping a careful but open cover on the American boat in second place. I could see no other reason other than Woods suddenly started sailing significantly quicker than the rest. He was clear away by the windward mark and was sailing with an extra gear; upwind and downwind he was simply sailing faster – a lot faster. By the latter stages of the lap the lead was out to almost a half mile, this was one for the books!

It was business as usual in the Asymmetric fleet with Stephen Bowen taking his third bullet in a row, with Andy Gordon again runner up. For Race 4, Peter McLaren had his best race to date with a well sailed 3rd place whilst in the Taifuns, Cladius Junge went back to the top of the fleet; Once the first race has been sailed today and the discards kick in, it will be very close at the top of this fleet.

As the afternoon came to an end the biggest competition was between how quickly the fleet could finish and the arrival of the next band of rain. As the tail enders slogged up the last beat, it was already wet again with the visibility closing in – everyone was glad to get ashore.

After two full days of sailing the biggest observation is how diverse the fleet has become. Since returning to being a full-on development class, innovation has blossomed with a very wide variation in hull shapes and styles being produced. Some are going super-extreme, with very narrow, minimum beam and in the lumpy conditions here in Tremadog Bay, these looked more like wave piercers when going upwind. The waves have been longer enough (certainly on the top reach) to allow those boats that do 'surf' to do so but technique and hull shape seemed to account for some big differences in speed on the leg (Robin Wood excepted – he was just sailing quicker than the rest). The Asymmetries looked good when heating up on the legs but just a handful of boats again asks the question of the helms – are they doing the right thing.

At long last the forecast for tomorrow includes the possibility of some sun (we'll believe it when we see it) but looking further out, at least one of the 3 remaining days could be at the upper end of what is possible for Canoe sailing. It is so close at the top, who knows what will happen tomorrow.

Results after Day 2:

PosDivisionDivision 2Boat NameDesignNatSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
AC Fleet
1st  Seasick Steve GBR310Stephen BowenAberaeron YC21115
2nd  Cobalt GBR288Andy GordonStokes Bay SC13228
3rd  Billy‑No‑Mates GBR296Phil AllenChichester YC423413
4th  Hurricane GBR283John RobsonUllswater YC344516
5th  Mongoose GBR280Peter McLarenLoch Lomond SC555318
6th  Shazam GBR272Ben RogersNetley SC666624
7th  Forbidden Pleasure GBR282Stephen JakemanLlandegfedd SC77DNC [9]DNC [9]32
8th  Menace GBR300Roger HowellR.P.C.YCDNC [9]DNC [9]DNC [9]DNC [9]36
IC Fleet
1stNew Rules Black Betty USA259Chris MaasLopez Sound SC21126
2ndNew Rules Papa Goose GBR329Robin WoodLlandegfedd SC126110
3rdNew Rules Ska'd for Life GBR335Gareth Caldwell 553316
4thNew Rules Dragonfly GBR317Alistair WarrenAldeburgh YC662519
5thNew Rules Mr Blue Sky GBR319Mike FenwickCastle Cove SC & Weymouth SC4811427
6thNew Rules Little Scarlet GBR328Phil RobinHayling Island SC1177934
7thNew Rules   GBR321Charlie ChandlerUllswater YC7491535
8thNew Rules Cleo Matilda USA248Todd TwiggLopez Sound SC1016101248
9thNew Rules Bloodhound GBR339Dave TimsonLlandegfedd SC16178849
10thNew Rules Wild Venture GBR327Rob BellEmberton Park SC139121852
11thOne DesignClassicCunning StuntsNethercotGBR265Mark Goodchild 1214161355
12thNew Rules Monkey's Uncle GBR340Chris HampeRYA1411211056
13thNew Rules Money4Nuffin GBR338Steve Clarke 1513141456
14thNew Rules Amok2 GER79Peter UllmanZSKDNC [47]34761
15thNew Rules Noah's Ark GBR341Colin BrownUllswater YC3RET [47]5661
16thNew Rules Scarlett GBR311Perham HardingSwanage SC1710192167
17thNew Rules Horizon Job GBR334John EllisScaling Dam SC822172370
18thOne DesignClassicIncognito GBR278Simon AllenMengeham Rythe SC2018181773
19thNew Rules Dance Commander CANUSA228Anthony LowtherPointe‑Claire YC1923131974
20thNew Rules Machete USA257Steve ClarkKickemuit Center of Excellence912DNC [47]1684
21stOne DesignClassicMustang SallyNethercotGBR275Hugh de LonghCastle Cove SC2120232084
22ndNew Rules Hellcat AUS245Stefan ZoharBay YC1819222685
23rdNew Rules Verbandskasten GER78Anton GrigullSegelclub Preetz2315203088
24thNew Rules Monkey GBR308Richard BowersCastle Cove SC26332522106
25thSlurpClassicKatieSlurpGBR158Steve FlemingWest Kirby SC33252425107
26thSlurpClassic SlurpGBR291Alisdair AlstonWest Kirby SC28273024109
27thOne DesignClassicIconicNethercotGBR303Martin BowerBlithfield SC25292629109
28thOne DesignClassicFusionNethercotAUS295 383Brett HollyKeppel Bay SC32312827118
29thNew Rules Bagheera USA258Willy ClarkKickemuit Center of ExcellenceDNC [47]DNC [47]1511120
30thNew Rules   GER81Anette SteimannSSC272427DNC [47]125
31stOne DesignClassicSplinterNethercotGBR246Tom JamesWest Kirby SC30353828131
32ndSlurpClassicWhite KnightSlurpGBR333Tony MarstonWest Kirby SC2221DNC [47]DNC [47]137
33rdOne DesignClassicPink PantherNethercotGER65Emma GrigullSegelclub Preetz e.V.293032DNC [47]138
34thSlurpClassicFroglet IVSlurpGBR315Stuart DawsonWest Kirby SC38363531140
35thSlurpClassicOrange Faced PhyllisSlurpGBR332Shaun AndersonOxford SC313429DNC [47]141
36thSlurpClassicSilver SurferSlurpGBR314Ed BremnerRoadford Lake SC372636DNC [47]146
37thOne DesignClassicHoneycombNethercotGER47Hauke EcksteinSSC343233DNC [47]146
38thOne DesignClassic NethercotGBR267Martin RobbCastle Cove SC353931DNC [47]152
39thOne DesignClassicIce WarriorNethercotGBR233Mike ShreeveNorthampton SC403737DNC [47]161
40thOne DesignClassicTormentNethercotGBR102Michael BriggStokes Bay SC364039DNC [47]162
41stNew Rules Endgame GBR326Colin NewmanDraycote Water SC24DNC [47]DNC [47]DNC [47]165
42ndNew Rules Hard and Fast GBR336Rob Stebbing DNC [47]28OCS [47]DNC [47]169
43rdOne DesignClassicLemmingNethercotNOR169Robin Bjoroy 3938DNC [47]DNC [47]171
44thOne Design Desaster De LuxeNethercotGER74Eckhardt PagelDKVDNC [47]DNC [47]34DNC [47]175
45thNew Rules Sideshow Bob GBR323John NixonCarsington Lake SCDNC [47]RET [47]DNC [47]DNC [47]188
45thOne DesignClassicExtended PlayNethercotAUS295Jim ReederCanberra YCDNC [47]DNC [47]DNC [47]DNC [47]188
1stTAIFUN   GER403Andreas SteimanSegeberger Segelclub21126
2ndTAIFUN   GER401Cladius JungeSegul Club Preetz12DNC [5]19
3rdTAIFUN   GER382Ole Junge & Antonia Reyer‑GloeSegel Club Preetz332412
4thTAIFUN   GER347Uew GrigullSegul Club Preetz443314

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