Another overcast evening. When folk arrived the wind was showing all the signs of dropping off into something of a drifter but it never happened. Amateur weather forecasters confounded! In fact if anything it tended to build through the evening, at least until most folk had finished. I would guess that it was probably F2, maybe F3ish at times, roughly northerly and moderately shifty. Not especially warm, but you can''t have everything: it was a good evening''s racing and those of us who were''t brave enough to go out in shorts and a T shirt were plenty warm enough!
There was a healthy turnout - nearly 30 boats on the water. In fact the race turnout was the best for at least five years, and the overall turnout for the first six races is also the best for at least five years, so things are on the up - come and join in:-)
Well, what do I remember seeing... A pretty hard fought start for the slow fleet. I remember being unable to pick out Graham Potter''s Albacore from amongst the pack of Solos from where I was, so they must have been pretty tightly packed on the line... Gareth Griffiths, Arthur Phillips & Graham P were predictably among the early leaders. We were missing two of the top Laser sailors, including John Reay, just back from winning the Radial Masters event at Grafham, because they were running the racing, but there was still a good bunch. John Leheup and Rob Pettit were the early leaders, Rob somewhat hampered by an outhaul rigging problem. As an aside, why did the Laser class allow itself to be transformed from being one of the simplest boats of all to rig to being so amazingly complicated? I suppose at least know this expensive new kit is better than all those silly knots and loops... But I digress. There was a good selection of different boats out for the fast class start, and they were very considerably mixed all the way up the first beat with no especial regard for handicap order. Peter Curtis was I think the leader in his RS300, but Mike Storey''s EPS and Mike Curtis'' RS400 were thereabouts as well as I remember.
The course was quadrilateral, and with the decent breeze the reaches were somewhat shy for the spinnaker boats. The bottom one especially looked a struggle at times, and there were occasions when I saw folk holding on to the kite when I thought they might have been better to follow the gust down then head up two sailed... It was a delight on the Canoe though, especially when a good gust came through... The fast boats seemed to get up to the main pack of Lasers and Solos quite quickly, but the leaders seemed to have spread out quite considerably... Peter Curtis was leading fast boat for rather longer than his brother would have been comfortable with.
Results... on scratch Gareth Griffiths took the race in what I didn''t think were especially Solo friendly conditions, so that was a good performance. Peter C was second, and John Leheup a very respectable third. Mike Storey''s EPS was 4th, Mike Curtis 5th, and Arthur Phillips 6th. With the personal handicap Alistair Smith won by a good margin in his Topper, improving on second last week, from Tom Wilson, John Smith and Malcolm Barnes.