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Catching up with… the National Cat Championship

cat nationals

What a great weekend, superb weather, good racing and a whole lot of fun!

But better than that… we used a ‘new’ racing area nick-named Flatwater Bay erhmm… because of the flat water. Flatwater Bay is behind a massive reclaimed land wall and it doesn’t impede the NE Monsoon wind but it does flatten the waves and removes almost all traces of our nasty tidal currents – double goodness then!

Racing was a passage race out followed by 3 windward/leeward courses for Saturday and Sunday. Both James and Macca agreed that the new racing area is a good one. Also, the Marine Port Authority graciously gave Changi Sailing Club to use the area for racing. In one sweep we seem to have solved our racing area problem and that’s a very good thing.

The Fleet was divided up into the Sport Division (board-less cats) and the Race Division (dagger-board boats). A separate start for each meant that each division could have a clear run at the line. The Regatta followed on from the Macca Clinic the weekend before and so was a good opportunity to put into practice what had been ‘preached’.

It’s clearly evident that everyones performance is improving this Monsoon as most people were on the right line at the right time and there was no more “why didn’t they wait for me” questions. The Rules Night on the Friday before the event certainly inspired most as we had 2 protests from the weekend – a good sign that people are taking more interest in their sailing now.

The camera doesn’t lie
Looking through the picture you can spot the differences between the top 2 boats and the rest. Starting with the start line. James on the A Class is always right there on time. He was joined on Sunday by Macca and the two were seldom centimeters apart on the line at the gun. Then there’s a gap to the rest.
TIP: The shorter the race, the more critical the start as you don’t have time to make up for a poor start, especially in time handicap events.

The other thing clearly evident in some of the pictures is, the trapezing act. Look at James and Macca and you’ll see a world of difference.
TIP: The single biggest performance boost is getting your weight as low as possible. We’ve measured this on the Nacra 20 (with the deluxe Tornado style adjustable system) and its worth a good 1 – 1.5 knots of boat speed upwind. So you guys, get your weight next to each other and much lower – its free power!!!

Third and final tip. Get your lardy ass of the back of the cat! A lot of people are not moving their weight forward at all. You need the cat to sail on its waterline upwind for maximum performance. Move back downhill when the winds good. Otherwise keep the boat in balance and you’ll be surprised at the difference.

The short course windward/leewards were enjoyed by all and that’s a huge relief because it is on such courses that you will learn a whole lot more than just cruising around navigation marks.

It was also interesting to see henry’s Nacra 570 go around the short course. Sure it doesn’t quiet point as high as the race cats but it sure can wind up. On Saturday Henry sailed it a bit ‘light’ on the wire. On Sunday he moved forward and got more weight on the wire… the speed difference was quite noticeable! While starting 5 minutes ahead in the Sport Division he still managed to hold off the A Class and the top Viper for the race. Obviously the long waterline and big rig help push the boat speed up a LOT!

The Northeast Monsoon held in with a nice 12 – 14 knots, even the ‘drag race’ down the entrance was an interesting one! Wind over tide plus shipping wakes and bounce back waves all conspire to make it a bumpy little ride, but a nice change!

By Sunday afternoon, we had our winners… there was almost more trophies than competitors, almost! Stuart won the Sport Division on his trusty old Nacra 5.0 but he dropped and smashed his trophy much to Barnaby’s horror!

Our next outing is going to be even more fun – the Formula Championships. We need 25 F16’s on the water to make it work. We’ll stretch the course a little in Flatwater Bay and have more races – 8 wasn’t enough?! There’ll also be a Formula Sport Class and an Open Division to take the Nacra 20, 570 and 5.8 – alias The Blue Bus!

Between now and the Formula Championship we’ve got another Clinic and this one will follow up on the Macca Clinic… so prepare now, the season isn’t over yet!

About prosailing

In Southeast Asia a long time and all the while, sailing cats. But the cat love-affair began when I finished building my first catamaran at age 15... "never again". After building 2 more Formula 16 cats in Malaysia it's really 'never again'. Now we have a large fleet of high-tech speed machines including the Nacra 20 Carbon. Then we decided to spread our wings a little more and imported the Corsair Dash 750. Now we are well on the way to establishing a Coastal One Design Dash Class. As a test bed, we had 4 Dashes take part in the Neptune Regatta and now the plans are rolling out.

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