THE MAJESTIC Cynara, skippered by Joe Irvine, won her first race of the season by powering through the force seven conditions at Brae on Saturday.
On a night when some competitors decided to remain in the marina and all the other yachts on the water struggled to race in wind gusting to over 30 miles per hour, the Cynara crew simply put up a smaller jib and flattened the mainsail without reefing at all.
With eight crew on board this was the best solution, Cynara starting well and pulling ahead of the other competitors throughout.
Six yachts started at Wethersta on the mile beat to Brae and only Valkyria, helmed by Ian Devonald, started on time with Cynara. All of the others were late due to gear repairs or the need to reduce sail for the blustery conditions.
Milspinda, skippered by Willie Inkster, decided to retire right at the start when it was clear that the boat was over-powered. Richard Hughson’s Cadenza seemed to be performing reasonably well but also had to retire just before the weather mark due to a tear in the mainsail. This left four competitors. Behind Cynara the main race was for second place between Peter Robertson’s Rebellion and the much-improved Freyja, helmed by John Ratter. Freyja, a Javellin 30, is a yacht that appears to be designed to perform well in a lot of wind. Valkyria had reefed down properly for the conditions but could not make any impact on the three faster yachts on any point of sailing.
By the third beat Cynara had built up a commanding lead over Rebellion and won on a corrected time of 59.8 minutes, seven minutes ahead of her close rival. Freyja was third, her highest position in the series, and Valkyria finished fourth.
This was the first windy race for many of the new sailors taking part in the points series and most seemed to enjoy the experience immensely. However, after the race some of the more experienced hands were speaking of anxious moments.
The points series could not be closer with one race to go in the six-race event.
Only four races count with one discard and using a low scoring system, Rebellion and Cynara are both on nine points while Valykria is on 14 points. Valkyria could still take the honours with a win in the final race if the other two fail to get high places. That outcome would leave Valkyria on nine points as well but, in the event of a tie, it is the final result that determines the winner. With consistently good performances in every race so far, Cynara has to be the favourite.