Scott Johnson’s Mistral romped home in the two yacht races at Brae on Sunday, his first ever wins propelling him into strong contention for the points series and leaving the other competitors with some thinking to do ahead of the last two races.
Steady sailing conditions in the north-easterly breeze meant that the racing was exciting and fairly competitive. The beating leg was from Busta to the head of the Voe with the wing mark at Saltness.
In the first race Roundabout (Drew Sutherland) got clear of the fleet on the first beat to take a significant lead at the windward mark ahead of Movin On (Jim Tait) and Cynara (Joe Irvine).
The Roundabout raised her spinnaker and charged down the reaching leg and Movin On wasted no time in getting their kite up as well. In the strong breeze the spinnakers took a lot of handling and the large area of Roundabout’s sail was causing some difficulty as the yacht neared the gybing mark. Roundabout lost a lot of time here and had to lower the spinnaker and raise its jib. Movin On carried her smaller spinnaker better and managed to close the gap.
In a close downwind leg Rebellion (Peter Robertson) just managed to push into the gybing mark ahead of Tammie Norie (Ewan Stirling), followed ominously closely by Mistral.
Roundabout recovered from her downwind problems and made steady progress on the second beat and further down the fleet Milspinda (Frank Ratter) looked to be making good progress in the steady wind. Tammie Norie seemed to be struggling to windward following her excellent performance the previous weekend.
Roundabout took line honours followed by Movin On, Cynara, Rebellion, Tammie Norie, Mistral and Milspinda.
On corrected time Mistral won on 54.03 minutes. Movin On was second with 55.33 followed by Cynara (58.07), Roundabout (58.46), Milspinda (58.55), Rebellion (60.99) and Tammie Norie (61.99).
The start of the second race was extremely close with the whole fleet together at the line on the starting signal. Once again Roundabout led the way with Movin On and Cynara carrying out a closely-fought duel for most of the race.
Movin On’s faster tacking was the telling factor in this contest. As the wind lightened there was no doubt that the main competition was coming from Mistral, which seemed to be even closer to the head of the fleet than in the first race.
The finishing order was very similar to the first race with Mistral being a place higher at the expense of Tammie Norie. Mistral was the only yacht that managed to better her first race time and recorded a winning 53.03 minutes. Movin On was second on 56.08 with Roundabout a well-deserved third on 59.63. Cynara came fourth on 60.13 followed by Milspinda on 60.79, Rebellion on 61.80 and Tammie Norie on 62.31.
Movin On remains a firm favourite to win the points series with nine points (low scoring system) after four races. Cynara is only three points behind and Mistral is five behind. Any of the three can win the series and it is mathematically possibly for Roundabout to win as well if she wins the remaining two races and the other yachts fail to improve on their present results. Four races count out of the six to be sailed.