Well. last race of the series, and we got to the club and... nothing. Pretty much flat calm. There was, I suppose a vague westerly drift, but you had to watch very carefully to catch the cups on the anenometer moving at all. It was sunny though, and once the morning chill had dissipated it certainly wasn''t cold. But windy it wasn''t. Well, you have to do something I suppose, so the race team set a smallish quadrilateral course in the orientation of the vague trend of the wind... Funnily enough, in spite of the almost zero wind, this was one thing that worked - what air movement there was did pretty much come in the same direction all the time...
The first attempt at a start was abandoned at the last minute and reset because folk just weren''t arriving at the start in time, but just 6 minutes delay gave us all an opportunity to be on the line at time. It has to be said that we didn''t all take it: the fast start especially was in no wind at all, and some hadn''t even crossed the line by the time Solos and the like started two minutes later, and even the leaders had managed no more fifty or a hundred yards of progress by the time the Solos - hot favourites in the conditions - made their start. Gareth Griffiths predictably made a good start in the Solos, and by the windward mark - was it twenty minutes later - he was right up with David Bean, the leading Laser, and Andy and Tessa Groves in their Scorpion. These three took out something of a lead on the next group - Solos and Lasers, ad they headed across the first reach and down the run. At the end of the run, maybe a quarter of an hour further on, these three were in much the same order, and the shorten course gun was heard. The wind had gone round some and dropped, and it was looking pretty much like a run to the finish... But a desperate crawl it was, drifting towards the finish line.
Or it was for them... Things were slightly different two or three minutes or so later when the next goup arrived, including some of the more cunning old foxes in the club... And Mike Lipscombe spotted something odd about the wind. He just had a feeling that something was happening of to the left and went high, followed, by, amongst others, that oldest of wise heads Frank Beanland. They had seen something coming in on the left... The gust, such as it was (perhaps breath is a better word) missed the leading group completely. Gareth, trying absolutely everything to get in the current of wind, just couldn''t get there, hampered no doubt by the rapidly compressing pack behind the providing a major obstruction to the breeze. Meanwhile Mike Lipscombe was happily sailing round everyone and crossed the line first. Seven second later the Groves'' Scorpion crossed, 9 seconds after that Dave Bean''s Laser, another 5 seconds and Mark Timbs'' Laser crossed and two more seconds, tensest of all, a dead heat between the frustrated Griffiths and the "rapidly" catching Frank Beanland. Another 20 seconds later David Lawton crossed for the whole bunch of 7 crossing in 45 seconds. The rest followed in slowly: very slowly in fact.
Predictably then it was Solo 1,2,2,4 on handicap, Lipscombe, Griffiths/Beanland and Lawton, with Dave Bean and Mark Timbs filling out the top six. Of course we also have the personal handicap to consider. Same top six - slightly different order: Lawton, Beanland, Lipscombe, Griffiths, Bean, Timbs.
So what of the series? Peter Curtis and Gareth Griffiths had first and second closed out before the start. In the end the next place was settled on the Commitee boat! Arthur Phillips average points of 5.3 meant that Dave Bean would have had to win to take third place, so they were 3rd and 4th. Dave''s 5th was, however, just good enough to keep him ahead of Peter Cotterell in 5th place, whilst Mike Lipscombe''s win gave him 6th overall on tiebreak. In the personal handicap series David Lawton''s first was exactly what was needed, and he took the series from an absent James Curtis (Feva). The third highest points score went to the "ineligible-for-the-series" Peter Curtis so third place went to Tony Butler (Laser), also absent. Dave Bean took 4th, Brian Greenaway 5th and Dave Clark (Solo) 6th place.