Wednesday 15th June 2011

 

A dull evening, windy at first, but dropping. I would have thought 4 gusting a good 5 early on, dropping to 3 maybe 2 gusting 4 by the end, and the frequency of gusts was diminishing too. The wind was swinging round a lot, maybe 20 degrees between different laps. It was noticeable at the start when the slow fleet started on an even line and the fast fleet with big starboard bias… Course… Well, as set it was a medium sized beat, a short shyish reach on starboard, a long run down to Mark One, another short shyish reach on starboard, a medium length beat and a longish fairly broad reach back to the start. The starboard shy reaches tended to go broad on the extreme of the swings. The start was at an X mark dropped mark some way to windward and to the right of the main clubhouse jetty – about as far away from it as 1 is. Remember this – it gets important later…
 
Another night with a very small slow start fleet and a big fast handicap fleet… We''ve tended to have bigger numbers in the slow fleet recently, so that was welcome at my start even if it was a bit more crowded than normal.
 
Ian Hamilton led away from the Solos in the Slow fleet… The Laser fleet included a rehipped Kevin Pearson: good to have him back… I think, from what Kevin said, after the long layoff for the Op the new hip was about the only thing that was working properly…The Lasers got amongst the Solos pretty quickly from what I can see, Rob Pettit up to third on the water by the end of lap one, Kevin and Evan Cairns not far behind… Mike Curtis (RS400) took an early lead from the fast fleet, getting cleanly through what remember as a particularly complex first beat with much ducking and juggling… Dave Nunn (RS600) was just behind Mike and had a frustrating time getting through… The course was, by all accounts, particularly fun for the asymmetric kite boats, although most folks seemed to have enjoyed it..
 
The first beat seemed to be particularly suffering or whatever from shifts – quite a few people got caught by headers close to the mark… Your scribe, in an attempt to avoid two tacks in the Canoe was stuffing it right up into wind to clear the mark on lap two when a 10 degree header 10 feet from the mark threw me into chaos, resulting in both missing the mark and capsizing… What really irritated was that 100 yards short of the mark I was thinking I''d overstood it…
 
Making noticeably good progress through the race, and ahead of a few people who would rather they hadn''t been, were Dicken Maclean and Nicola Groves (RS200), with, in particular, stunning downwind speed. In the meantime Evan Cairns got to the lead of the Lasers, and Richard Barker looked well place in his Phantom too…
 
The end of the race saw another outbreak of confusion regarding finishing… In fact I''m still not entirely clear on what happened... You may have noticed that Graham Potter has been Mr Gear Failure this year… True to his prediction in a comment on last weeks blog things did not go well for him with the RC hardware… Anchors falling off marks, engines failing on rescue boats, hooter not being consistent on the CB… Anyway, I assume another such problem was the reason why the CB was left tied to the jetty for the finish. In that position it left a perfectly sensible, if rather long, finish line to the X mark. On the other hand the CB was also largely invisible to boats coming down that leg because it was masked by their sails. To be quite honest I''m not exactly sure what happened in detail… I now suspect that the S flag must have been flying from the CB as I finished lap 3 and I was given a finish gun, but I never saw the boat and flag or heard the gun and continued. Others round me continued too, at least some of them under the entirely mistaken assumption I knew what I was doing… Three legs later I was on the run down to one, saw the CB with the S flag up in a position on the pontoon where it made an entirely sensible finish line to Mark 1, and assumed they were finishing there for some reason. So I stopped… Others continued… But I think we had all finished by then… It struck me later that as far as I can see there is not, in the SIs or in the RRS, any way in which the mark that forms the other end of the finish line from the Committee Boat is defined! Only the first three seem to have done a complete 4th lap: I have no idea whether that was what the RC planned or whether they missed the S flag too...
 
So another reason not to leave the CB on the jetty… How odd it is that we have thrown up two incidents this season where the RRS are a bit inadequate, one at the start, one at the finish, and both involving having the CB tied to the pontoon…
 
So results…Dicken and Nicola won the scratch by a good couple of minutes, one of the bigger margins in the series so far. Mike C was narrowly second from Richard Barker, with Evan Cairns 4th, Kevin Pearson 5th and Carl 6th. The Top 6 in the personal handicap were John Smith, Alistair Smith, Dave Baldwin, Chris Smith, Ian Hamilton and Harry Phelps. An attack of the Smiths?
 
Series wise. Well, were getting on halfway through the series. In the scratch Gareth Griffiths leads by a mile after some very Solo friendly early races. Paul Wright Anderson is second in his overrigged Laser/Rooster 8.1, but its all very close… In the personal handicap Ian Hamilton leads by a good margin, but the last two weeks windy evenings with shy reaching haven''t suited his boat, and all three Smiths are catching fast…