Graham Benson, manager of the Zeekoei Vlei YC team, reports:
Day 1 of the Lipton Cup really tested all competitors. Weather conditions ranged between 5 and 25 knots from NW and W. The R course was sailed, with three laps.
The start was not good for us due to a late sail change from number 3 up to a number 2 as the pressure had relaxed significantly. This was done after the 4 minute hooter.
The ZVYC boys started a minute behind the rest of the fleet putting them in last position. They managed to climb to 7th by the weather mark. RCYC was the 1st boat to the mark. A bad spinnaker hoist by ZVYC saw them dropping into 8th position only 10 boat lengths behind after their rounding. The wind at this stage had dropped to around 5 knots.
Positions remained the same until the second lap. The ZVYC team had changed to their no. 1 headsail and managed to sail their way into 6th position. They had gained 9 positions, although luck was on their side it was not up until this point. This they achieved by focus, determination and darn good sailing.
At the second last mark they rounded in sixth position and managed to be in the right position when the wind backed from NW to W. The wind was blowing over 20 knots and they were not able to change headsail. The backing wind lifted them to the top mark without having to tack again. This gain put them into 2nd as this wind shift caused the leading boats to the right of the course to loose a lot of ground. A close duel between ZVYC and RCYC took place.
All boats are fitted with tracking devices and we saw after the racing that ZVYC had in fact passed RCYC at one point. We finished around a minute behind RCYC as some tactical moves and experience from Greg, kept RCYC between us and the marks. ZVYC paced really well against the leading boats.
The ZVYC team is part of the RCYC Sailing Academy.