21st July three More Races

Well, well. This series is likely to be the closest for years... Anyway, arriving at the top of the steps up the bank saw one greeted with a South westerly and a times plenty of white horses. Yes, breeze on again... I would guess that much of the time it was pushing Force 5, and coming in stronger and weaker bands. Hardly a cloud in the sky too and hot with it. Good stuff.

It was quite an entertaining evening as regards to minor and damage/injury free mishaps too... I usually anonymise these before mentioning them, but for this report I''ve been strongly pressured not to report one of them at all, and so it seems unfair to mention the others either... Maybe I should just recommend some less conventional potential reading matter for sailors...

    * Life of Pyrrhus, Plutarch of Chaeronea
    * Zen and the Art of ToestrapMotorcycle Maintenance , Robert Pirsig
    * Mary Poppins, by PL Travers
I''d better stop before I get into trouble:-)

The course was beat, closeish reach, run, shorter beat, shortish broad reach to finish, so two hoists and drops per lap to keep the spinnaker boat forward hands fit and healthy/tired and weary [delete as applicable]. There were a couple of different faces/boats out for the race too - Mike Storey had his son and the National 12 available, always a very capable combination, and Ben Elvin was out with a Laser Radial, which looked to be a very useful choice in the conditions...  With one of the top three contenders on the bank running the racing I don''t know how welcome other potential race winners were to the two out on the water, because I suspect that who gets the race wins from the remaining races will be critical to the series destination...

Well, the National was flying. They took an early lead, and continued to build on it: their light crew weight proving to be no problem at all. Ben Elvin''s Radial was with and even ahead of full rig Lasers for most of the race too: Rob Sumner and Kevin Pearson being the leaders.  Graham Potter didn''t have the best of first laps in the Albacore, but thereafter was, 12 excepted, leading amongst the slow fleet, whilst Garthe Griffiths took a good lead among the Solos in what is amongst his best conditions. Mike Curtis lead through the fast fleet, but his progress was punctuated for a while...

Full results are here. Mike Storey won, which brings him right in contention for the battle for third place. Ben Elvin was easily second, and Gareth Griffiths took third from Rob Sumner, with Kevin Pearson 5th and Mike Curtis 6th. That means all of the previous top 6, except for Carl Mayhew on the bank, ended up with probable discards and damage to their points average... "Mesdames et Messieurs, faites vos jeux"...

From a series point of view this all gets very complicated. Its best 6 to count at the moment, and I think best 7 if we sail 1 or 2 more races, and best 8 if we sail 3 more. All the top 3 have two duties complete, and similar points. Now my interpretation, which could be wrong, is that Carl currently has a better 8 results than Gareth, who almost certainly can''t sail again, but if Carl gets a 4th or 5th (or worse an OCS) then Gareth slips ahead again with superior average points. On the other hand if Carl sits it out then Mike Curtis will overtake him if the RS400 can pick up a 1 and a 2 in the last three races. I don''t believe any of them can sail all three races, so you could argue that top results will be easier, but the joker in that situation is the 12: I presume that Alex Storey is now available to sail  forward hand for the old man because we are into school holiday season, so getting a race win suddenly got a lot harder for the others...

Now the personal handicap... Ian Hamilton continued his run with a 6th straight win, making them very nearly unassailable in the series - provided that is they do/have done a duty. I don''t have them down as taking their turn in the race team, so you need to sign yourself up or let me know when you took your turn: no duty: no results... One thing for sure though: that personal handicap will be a lot more challenging next season guys! Alasdair MacLean, I think taking things easy after his knee operation is currently second, but Paul Playle and Clare James are very much in the hunt for the runner up spot.