Not the biggest of turnouts and not the most encouraging of weather forecasts: the two being doubtless connected. The course. There were seven marks in it. It was complicated. It had all sorts of different legs. I don''t propose to describe it here. The first boats set off in a good F4, the Toppers going first, followed by Fevas and Laser 4.7. James Curtis'' Feva and Tom Howards''s 4.7 started level and were to have a notable battle right through the race. Alistair Smith led for the first lap, but was overtaken by Nancy Scott on lap two.
Just three Solos started, and Gareth led them round the track, although Paul Playle finished building his new Solo in time for the second lap and shadowed Gareth closely without actually interfering with the racing. From what I hear it was close enough for him to be very pleased with the first sail. Mike Curtis got his Laser out for the first time in a couple of years without having to evict much more than spiders or earwigs - nothing had eaten the sail, and he led a good bunch of Lasers round the track.
Last to start, just after the leading Toppers went through to finish their first lap, were Carl Mayhew''s RS600 and your scribes Canoe, both metaphorically licking their lips at the thought of a long shy reach towards the end of the lap which looked a very good bet for the singlehanders to really fly. They had changed places at least couple of times by the time they got to said reach, at which point the wind dropped. The wind was diminishing, and the rest of the race was in less wind than the first 45 minutes, but we *never* got a decent gust on that leg for the whole race. Most dischuffed.
With about twenty minutes to go James Curtis and Harry Phelps caught the last Topper, but Gareth Griffiths was getting extremely close in his Solo, which was very much a weapon of choice in the current conditions. However a big and viciously raining cloud came over in the last lap, and the extra wind was just what the Feva needed to assist them in keeping their nerve and taking an excellent and thoroughly deserved win. Mike Curtis had also made good use of the breeze to bring his Laser through to third place, just ahead of Tom Howard''s 4.7 in 4th. Carl Mayhew took the 600 through to 5th, with Peter Curtis 6th in the 300 and Nancy Scott taking 7th place in the first of the Toppers. In all U18s took 4 of the top ten places: very encouraging for the future:-)
OK, so that was the race. Next up was a spectacular spread for lunch, barbecue and so on, and then the fun day... It really is a "you have to be there" event, but much water was distributed, (and even the clouds joined in in the middle) much noise was made, and some of the U18s got to have a go in some of the faster boats...