Anniversary Race 19th July

Windy. Quite seriously windy in the gusts. I would guess that it was averaging top of F4/5 and gusting 6. I''m not going to be the best of reporters having been late for the (late) start and seriously preoccupied thereafter. Mike Curtis, the Race officer commented, that had he actually started the sequence on the dot of 10:26 there would only have been about three starters...

What do I remember... Peter Curtis was more or less seen leaving in his RS300. He commented afterwards that it was one of those races where pretty much everything seemed to go right. Well for Peter maybe... The course was beat, broad reach, run, short beat and then a very broad reach come semi run back to the start. As well as being strong the gusts were fairly nasty. Unusually for a westerly breeze it was fairly unstable, especially up near the windward bank, where there were a lot of those nasty eddying gusts which are ore ususally a feature of easterlies. I particularly remember one sneaky gust, which on reflection must have been two superimposed, which first lifted and then a second or so later violently headed.

What else... a fair bit of swimming went on, and one or two kites were left in the bag which should really have come out. A tip for those new to spinnakers. The big coloured thing is really your friend in strong winds because the extra speed makes gybing easier and safer (less apparent wind) and because the sail also steadies the boat. Provided you don''t let it collapse the drive from a spinnaker tends to be steadier and more tolerant of shifts and gusts, whereas if the mainsail is doing all the work it tends to be a lot more on and off. People will also tell you the spinnaker lifts the bows. This is a myth I''m afraid, but it certainly feels as if it does because the boat is steadier and safer. The fly in the ointment is of course getting it up and down, but provided you pick your moment and your gust its almost always possible. Its a lot easier with asymmetric sails where the crew doesn''t have to go forward to put a spinnaker pole on the mast: in the days of pole kites I can remember reaches where I wanted to put the kite up but could never risk vacating the back of the boat to do it...

Results? Peter won by a country mile. Mike and Alex Storey were second in their National 12, then Simon Bean, (new member?) David Evans and John Smith in Lasers, and Chris and I believe Alistair Smith rounded out the top six in their Scorpion. Very good results especially for the two handers, who did not, shall we say, have excess crew weight on board. Under the personal handicap results were similar - not suprising in such demanding conditions, but the Storeys won with Peter C second, the Scorpion Smiths 3rd, John (Laser) Smith 4th, Charlotte McCarthy 6th in her Laser Radial and David Lawton (Solo) 6th.

Now the series - We''re past halfway through with four races of the seven complete. If we count two races from the four the top 6 are Peter Curtis (RS300), Gareth Griffiths (Solo), Mike Storey (National 12), Arthur Phillips (Solo), Carl & Julie Mayhew (RS400) and Brian Greenaway (Laser). The personal handicap results are very close and with two discards the top six are Tony Butler (Laser), James Curtis (RS Feva XL), David Lawton (Solo), Peter Curtis (RS 300), Malcolm Barnes (Solo), and Brian Greenaway (Laser). (Almost) anyone''s game yet in either series though...