August 3rd Wednesday Series

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Two weeks ago I was bemoaning a stale-flat-beer sailing evening. Last night was hot, sunny and force 3: looked good to me. Unfortunately in conditions that looked great for our respective boats Carl M and I (assisted by Jamie Mayhew) had to drop out to run the race... Whilst setting things up the wind had clocked round from almost S to about Sw, and showed some tendency to want to continue doing so. To give us a bit of room for manouver we dug out one of the open meeting marks and used that for the leeward mark and set it some way upwind of the bank. With sunset around 8:30 only about 45 minutes were available for the race so it seemed advisable not to set to long a course. What we picked was something I've mused about in public on these pages in the past - a beat, a run back down to the middle of the reservoir then a broad reach and finally a shy reach back to the start. A lower case d shape... The idea being to get the reaching legs in the best wind, and a shy enough last reach that kites wouldn't necessarilly pay to give the singlehanders a chance to save their time. So the leeward mark had to be a reasonable way upwind of the mark to make the reach shy enough. Comments on how well this worked would be welcome.

The wind was varying of course, no way it will do anything else at the end of a long hot day, and the starts varied from moderate to excess port bias. Sorry, honestly it was square when we set it... Holiday/championship season has set in, what with Studland week and Topper Nationals on, and we didn't have the biggest of turnouts. CJ got away with a mid line port tack start in the Solos: goodness knows how, but he did it very nicely in spite of lacking a watch. The Lasers tended to take the port end and tack off: Kevin Pearson judged it nicely at the pin. There was also some disagreement: I didn't see the incident, but results are subject to protest,, leaving us with the interesting challenge of finding a PC for a race in a series in which nearly every regular sailor in the club is involved and is thus an interested party... The fast fleet split - Mike Storey went left at the pin, some of the others right...

As they came back down the run CJ was leading everyone in his Solo, but Kevin Pearson had already gained a lot of ground in the Laser, with Rob Petitt following at a discrete distance... Most people seemd to get some nice breeze on the shy reach on this lap: Kevin seemed to come storming across, and, even more so, Dave Nunn in his 600 seemed to really be hammering across... There was some brave kite flying by some of the spinnaker boats, but it was really too shy to pay. In any sort of breeze some spinnaker boats can set the spinnaker on a closer reach than it will pay - if you're heeling over and struggling to keep the thing set then you'd be better off sailing flat and two sail. Something to consider if your kite handling is sharp enough is to complete the gybe and start the leg off with the kite and then drop it part way when the angle to the mark becomes shy enough for a real maximum speed two sail reach, but you will need to be able to drop the sail without having to go down to a deep reach for this to work...

 On the next lap Kevin seemed to have a very decent lead at the bottom of the run, but didn't get much wind on the broad reach and Rob P and even CJ in the Solo cut back his lead again. There seemed to be a good deal of place changing, even within classes: I think I saw the second group of Lasers in three different orders on three different laps... On lap three, in spite of some inadvertent sail washing, Dave Nunn had taken the lead in the 600 and the leading bunch looked to be having a decent enough sail that we gave them another lap., splitting the fleet about half way back where there was a suitable gap. Rob Pettit overtook Kevin Pearson on this la, so I imagine Kevin is cursing the extra lap, and Rob not...

So results: as I said these are subject to protest, Laser 168842 versus Laser 195226. Richard Barker took the win with his Phantom, Rob Pettit 2nd, Kevin Pearson 3rd both in Lasers, Mike Storey 4th in the EPS, Dave Nunn 5th and Cj Cavallari 6th with the Solo. In the personal Harry Phelps won in a Feva XL, Ian Hamilton 2nd in the 400, John Smith (Laser) 3rd, Richard Barker 4th, Dave Baldwin 5th in a Laser and Dave Nunn 6th.
Series wise the top 4 in the scratch series were all absent, so no major changes. In the personal handicap Ian Hamilton slipped back into the lead ahead of John Smith.