Week 14 Two To Go

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Overcast, moderate wind at rigging time, force 2ish I''d say, and a bit north of westerly. So a normal day after the office then? That''s the way it seemed. Beware of preceonceptions. It built a bit for start time, but was probably about a F3. The forecast had hints of a swing to the north, and we got a course of longish beat, long beamish reach across the reservoir, broad reach come run down, another beat, a bit shorter up to the middle, angled to catch the northerly swing, should it happen, and another broadish reach back to the start...


So what happened... well, to be quite honest, this isn''t going to be one of my best reports. I was somewhat preoccupied during the race, and after it I was too busy wrestling with the new club laptop to talk to folks much. The first start was amazingly quiet. We had no Solos out at all, and I don''t recall the last time that was the case. It was down to the Graham Potter''s Albacore and the Storeys in their National 12 to head off first. Lets just say that was the last time anyone got close to the National.

There wasn''t a huge Laser turnout either, although Kevin Pearson seemed to get away quite early and caught the Albacore by the end of the first lap. The fast start was perhaps closest to normal size, with Messrs Mayhew and Curtis showing early. The breeze was variable and gusty, and if anything the wind tended to go round more towards a westerly. This suited the asymettric boats of course, who could fly kites on all the reaches - at least at this stage, and there wasn''t really a true run for them to have to sail longer gybes, so the leaders were soon in amongst the earlier starters.

By lap three, as the first tones of what was to prove a spectacular sunset appeared, the wind started to build rather than drop with the approaching dusk. It started to get somewhat more than interesting, to be quite honest, with some very big shifts and gusts - more what you associate with the heat of the day rather than the calm of evening... The reach across the top had tended to come increasingly shy, and the RS400 was seen heading a long way downwind of the mark as a big gust came in, and they were forced to drop and two sail up... Your writer, hoping to capitalise on this, got nailed by a big gust on the gybe, then a couple more times, more predictably, on tacks. As I overtook one of the Lasers for the third time I had two thirds of the rig bladed out with downhaul and only the bottom two battens driving - it must have looked very odd, but it let me get my breath back...

Results: Carl Mayhew was 1st and Mike Storey 2nd, with Mike Curtis 3rd in the main race, which bearing in mind holiday absences potentially sews up the series for Carl, although there''s always the potential for a really bad result to stuff averages, or someone finding an excuse to have to run home from the family holiday for an evening racing (don''t laugh: its happened!). 4th were Fiona and Rob in "their" 200, 5th and 6th were Pearson and Smith in Lasers. It would have been a better night for Lasers if there had been a run I imagine.  Full results are here. Personal Handicap: 1st Peter Hughes, then Carl Mayhew, John Smith, Fiona Fardon, Alasdair Maclean and Dave Baldwin.