Seventh Week

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June now: must be getting on towards halfway in the series I guess.

 

Anyway, with the return of Rob Fardon from injury I was hoping for some wind this week: its a funny thing, but we've had comparatively few light evenings the last couple of years when Rob has been crewing for Fiona, to the extent it became something of a running joke in reports passim... Sadly this wasn't really the case. Oh, there was a reasonable enough sailing breeze, but where was the drama? The passion? The people being tipped into cold water? No, but seriously, what we had was I suppose F1 maybe getting towards 2 at times, and easterly, which is not the best of directions at IBRSC. It was a peculiar sort of breeze really, certainly I never got to grips with it: lots of swirls, quite a few private gusts, but no real major shifts. There was an awful lot of cumulus passing each side of the club, and a quite massive system upwind, so maybe that was it. It was odd because in spite of the vagaries of the wind it never really felt as if there was much opportunity for right and wrong sides of the beat and good overtaking opportunities...

 

Course wise we had a beat up to under the trees, a couple of broadish reaches back down again, a short beat and another broadish reach... The line was short and right up to the bank - between F and the clubhouse, and, when the wind had finally made up its mind what it wanted to do, rather biased towards port tack. Gareth G made I think the neatest start of the slow fleet, with a couple of slick roll tacks just before the gun to get clear air...

The fast start was somewhat sketchy... here follows a personal opinion/plea... Whilst there's nothing wrong with bank starts if the wind is in the right direction, please remember that not every boat is as readily manouverable as a Solo or an Enterprise... If you have 17 feet of razor bowed Canoe then much last minute tacking and so on on the line can lead to (even more) lost hair... I think its nice to have a line that's got plenty of room at both endso that folks can line up and jockey for position in a less frenetic manner, and its also, at club level, good if a line is long enough to make port end tacks a serious option. Still the lack of space didn't inhibit Mike Storey in his EPS, who pulled off a beautifully judged port end port tack start, even if it was somewhat assisted because everyone wanted to get onto port rather than sail up the bank,  reducing the risk of someone coming at him on starboard.

 

Well, the race itself was on the whole quietish, although I did see what looked like a spectacular race amongst the Lasers, with, if my eyes didn't deceive me, Kevin Pearson, John Magrath and Rob Pettit all at the front of the group at one stage or another... They must have been finding some overtaking opportunities the rest of us didn't spot... There were incidents and interest on the track... I remember coming up into a mixed group of Lasers and Solos down the reach before the short beat, and, in an effort to get a bit of clear ground so I could round before them and not complicate their race, pushing the limits of rule 42 very hard in the run up to the mark, only to look across and see the Laser I was trying to slip past pushing the limits with equal enthusiasm to get some room... It ended up with three boats of different classes rounding the mark overlapped, closely followed by two morw. The result: one of those mark rounding queues where everyone wants to tack off after hardening up round the mark, but only the last of the queue can tack off immediately without being guilty of tacking in their followers water...

 

The finish provided an clue into (perhaps) who reads these pages... In the first week's report I commented on the definition of finishing... In this case the F mark, outer end of the finish line tonight, had been rounded to starboard on previous legs, but because we were coming down from upwind the correct way to finish was to storm straight through on starboard tack with the F mark at the port end of the line. Approaching the mark in a bit of a group and probably the biggest gust of the night I was a bit worried about what might ensue if some folk went round the mark and across the line the wrong way on port tack, with others finishing correctly and very quickly on starboard gybe... However the leader of this little group got it right, and the rest followed, so no trouble... Maybe I do have some readers [grin]. I'm not sure *every* finisher crossed the right way, but its a sailing competition, not a rules competition. As folk lost out by going the wrong way anyway it would seem a bit harsh to score them DNF as well, as I suppose one technically should. Such a DNF might, the way the scoring is looking, affect who ends up with the trophy though... Hmm!

 

Then dinner: well I thought Debbie excelled herself tonight: the chicken pasta (arabiatica if my memory serves me correctly) was quite delicious, with garlic bread, mixed salad and a beer... As I've said before even if you don't want to race its well worth coming up to watch the racing and have a good meal, a drink and a chat with friends...

 

Anyway results... Well the top six on standard handicaps were Michael Curtis: RS 400, Gareth Griffiths: Solo, Graham Potter: Albacore, Fiona Fardon: RS 200, Tom Wilson: Solo, Mike Storey: Laser Eps. Five different classes, so I guess the handicaps weren't working too badly. Under the personal handicap John Magrath, who was well placed amongst the Lasers under any reckoning, won by a bit of a (well deserved) margin, with Clare James second in a 200, John Smith (Laser) third, Graham Potter 4th, Fiona Fardon 5th and Tom Wilson 6th.

 

Series wise things are hotting up. In the main series the top three look to be pulling clear of the rest, and its anyones game yet, although there's still plenty of time for others to join them, especially if we get some more Laser friendly breeze and courses. In the personal handicap Paul Playle has taken (on tiebreak) the lead from Alasdair MacLean, who is currently on the bank after a knee operation. Clare James is up to third, with two handed sailing skills improving all the time - and this is really an improvers competition because its all about how much better you can sail than your average results over the last year... Thereafter - Maggie Futcher, Tom Wilson, Dave Baldwin, John Magrath, anyone's series yet...

 

Oh, a quick addendum, there are now a couple of this season's results in the Results elsewhere section. Keep us posted of what you do at other clubs and we'll add them in...