cause and effect
2012 Japan Cup
I spent last week sailing in the 2012 Japan Cup hosted by the Laguna Marina Yacht Club located about an hour’s drive south of Nagoya. I was invited along by Andy Pilcher from Doyle Sails NZ and Nagata-san, owner of the Beneteau First 40 “Kofu” to help out in the tacticians department. The fleet was tightly packed and included a new Ker 40, a Soto 40, a mix of Beneteau’s, a King 40, Mumm 36, Farr 40’s, an ILC 40 and a J/V 35. The Japan Cup is Japan’s IRC championship.
We hit the ground running with a quick practice day and then straight into the racing. The format was two days of W/L’s followed by a 120 mile coastal race and then one more day of W/L’s. The first two days were sailed in mostly light and shifty conditions, with lots of lead changes along the way. The highly modified Beneteau 40.7 “Summer Girl” found the conditions favourable and had a five point lead over the King 40 “Karasu” going into the long race. On “Kofu”, we found the light conditions challenging and were looking forward to the 15 to 25 knots forecast for the long race. The race counted for double points, so there was a lot on the line.
Fortunately, the forecast was spot on. The wind built steadily from the 9am start towards the 25 knots predicted. The race course was anything but ordinary. It was a 60 mile beat along the coast, through a narrow pass to a turning mark and back. Just to make things interesting, the commercial traffic entering and leaving the Nagoya area resembled the Auckland southern motorway at rush hour, the area is littered with submerged and partially submerged rocks, and there are fields of unmarked fishing nets. An all-around sailing challenge!
The Ker 40 “Gust” stretched her legs and led the way around including a handicap win. She was followed by the King 40 “Karasu” and the Soto 40 “Papillion” on line and handicap. Our good race turned pear shaped with the help of two park ups in the last 20 miles. Not good! The race took its toll with two boats hitting rocks, a broken main halyard, and a man overboard (and quick recovery) on regatta leader “Summer Girl”. ”Karasu’s” second place pulled her to only one point behind regatta leader “Summer Girl”. Game on!
The last day of racing saw 8 to 12 knots of breeze and perfectly set courses. With three bullets, “Summer Girl” owned the day, and the 2012 Japan Cup title! “Karasu” was runner up, and with her strong result in the long race, “Gust” was third. Thanks to great starting by our helmsman Takagi-san and some sharp crew work, “Kofu” had a solid day and scrambled back up to a fourth place finish overall.
The event and race management, both on and off the water was fantastic. The racing was hard fought and was followed by plenty of chatter and laughs ashore. Good times.
Readers may recall from last year the Sail for Smiles – Japan as One charity that was set up after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. It is aimed at helping Japan’s sailors get back on the water. I caught up with the gentleman who established and heads the charity. He reports that fundraising continues, and the focus is on getting young sailors back in their boats and sailing. He was very appreciative of the support received from the sailing community and the power of Sailing Anarchy in getting the word out. A very worthy effort.
Finally, as a connoisseur of fine beers (OK, any beer), sailing in Japan is a real treat. Not only do they have some great brews, but they have vending machines everywhere selling them. Airports, hotels, on the street, they are everywhere. What a concept! Andy and I did everything we could to empty these machines, but there were just too many. We will have to try harder next time……
While Andy headed off to Russia to sail with more clients, I returned home to Tauranga NZ arriving Friday afternoon. With some sleep, a shower and clean clothes, I headed back to Auckland Saturday to race the RNZYS Winter Series with more of the Doyle Sails NZ guys and the crack crew aboard David Nathan’s canting keel TP52 “V5”.
One very lucky guy – living the dream!
Back to work tomorrow………