A good turnout. Especially good to see a good sprinkling of newer sailors out, not just the same old faces... Weather: a northerly, to a greater or lesser extent anyway, with some shifts about as you''d expect from the clouds. Comfortably warm without being oppressively hot, wind I suppose towards the bottom of Force 2: a very pleasant sailing evening.
Course, a beat, a shy reach tending to become a fetch after the wind went round, a run come broad reach, a shorter beat up to X which also got very one sided, a broadish reach back to the start. It was better to sail on than it sounds as I write this actually. Looking at the results it must have been less favorable for the spinnaker boats than one might think.
The first two starts went off without much to note, but the fast start was very crowded indeed... on Team Canoe I kept having my sliding seat pushed back by a windward boat who was having trouble keeping clear! Note for beginners: in these crowded situations the windward boat - the one with their sail nearest the other boat - is required to keep clear - ie sail far enough away - from the leeward boat that the leeward boat can pretty much sail as they want other than tack. If this means you sail over the line early then that''s your hard luck I''m afraid. If you are trying to squeeze in between the committee boat and the boat to leeward and there''s no room then that''s also tough, you have to go the other side of the committee boat and tack round again I''m afraid. Anyway the beginners were cut a fair bit of slack, which is not unreasonable, but please try and remember: it makes things less fraught for everone. In these circumstances you''ll often here a lot of shouting of "up, up" which is the leeward boat "requesting" windward boat or boats to turn up into wind so they can change course for the start. I did hear a second gun, and I heard it was Mike Storey who had to go back, but I''m not sure...
Not long after the start I got another suprise: having built up some space I tacked the Canoe onto port in the moderately leisurely style it requires, only to find, as I completed my tack, two RS600s apparently inches away. It seems they tacked at much the same time... The rules come into it here as well: you are not allowed to tack if it means that a boat on a straight course will have to take evasive action while you are tacking, and if both are tacking at the same time then the one on the left has to keep clear. In this case everyone (just) got all the room they were entitled to, but it was a bit interesting for a few seconds!
The race itself wasn''t quite so dramatic from where I was... Very decent sail though. The wind was stronger at the beginning and end bt lighter in the middle, so whilst the 600s caught up very fast to the boats ahead they didn''t make progress past them so fast... Gareth G was obviously doing well, especially being in a Solo, Kevin Pearson was well ahead in the Lasers, and Paul-Wright Anderson''s Rooster thingummy was well up the ranks too.
So the results. Gareth won the scratch series, and by a pretty considerable margin. Paul W-A was second, Kevin third, Mike Curtis (RS400) 4th, Carl Mayhew 5th in one of the 600s and Evan Cairns 6th in a Laser. That puts Gareth in a pretty strong placing for the series, with 6 wins its going to take a lot for anyone to catch him, lalthough there are a lot of races to go. Behind Paul has a bit of a gap from the chasing pack, but is very catchable, whilst Evan, Mike C, Mike Storey and Carl Mayhew are all very close to each other.
The personal handicap was a bit of a Smith special, not for the first time. Alistair Smith won, whilst John Smith and Chris Smith tied for second. There''s an interesting artifact here: in the scratch series John beat Chris by one corrected second, but in the personal handicap, even though they are in the same band, the slower boat gets a bit more time and they tied. Well, that stuff with numbers interests me anyway, if no-one else! Harry Phelps picked up 4th with a Feva, Paul Wright Anderson 5th and Mike Lipscombe (Solo) 6th. Series wise, well, its getting interesting. After an early run of wins Ian Hamilton is getting caught rapidly. John Smith is now just half a point behind, and Alistair Smith well in contention too. The next bunch are Dave Baldwin, Chris Smith and Paul Wright-Anderson, but I think its anyone''s game yet...