Saturday 30th April: The Presidents Cup is a harbour race organised by the Royal Bombay Yacht Club featuring mainly keel boats. The turn out was good with full crews all round of both new and seasoned sailors.
The wind was predicted to be around 13-14 knots however in reality it was lighter than this. The line was pin bias and there was a strong tide. The start was staggered with the slower boats starting 30 minutes before the faster boats. I was on Skadoosh the J122e. Also racing were a Grand Soleil 56, Jenneau 54, A35, and a J80. Unfortunately the Swan 52 whilst rigged up did not make it out. We were all disappointed as she had been sailing consistently very well this last month.
Entered into the slower fleet were a J24, a Hanse 325, a Jenneau 32, and a Beneteau 35. The Beneteau 35 however did not race.
At the first start the J80 jumped the line and was forced to duck to correct her error. She later picked up and held her own to give the A35 and the Grand Soliel a good race. Unfortunately however, the Race Committee did not see her dip the line and she was deemed OCS. Meanwhile the Jenneau 54 and J122e timed the start perfectly and hit the favoured pin end right on the starting whistle.
Capt. Homi Motiwala was on the helm of the J122 and once across the start there was no holding her back. I am sure we looked flawless from afar but like all teams made up of mainly amateurs and new to sailing, we goofed up a number of times – like not hoisting the spinnaker the whole way up. It took us a while to recover from that but the team work was amazing and we made up for the mistake with a really good kite take down.
In terms of the course, we sailing 2 sausages with the downwind end rounding an oil rig. The course was across the harbour shipping channel and for some reason there was a lot of shipping traffic during a race. The ship captains however were very considerate and even looked like they were doing their best to avoid interrupting our race!
There were a lot of tactics during the race. On the J122e Skadoosh it was a fight against time to make sure she achieved a sufficient lead to secure a win on handicap. As we dropped our sails having finished the race, we watched the Grand Soliel and the A35 cross the line. We now await our results as the results officer runs the numbers!
Words / Photos from Sunil Lobo