Weds Series 2nd July

Good grief, is it July already? Where has the year gone? Looking out of the window during the afternoon there seemed to be very little breeze. Presumably others did so to because it spite of it being a lovely summer's evening the turnout was the worst of the series so far. And, yes, when I arrived at the club quite early it looked fairly ominous with large calm patches...

But all that was to change. Apparently the forecast was for some gradient wind to arrive, and by launching time it was often up around the 10knots, with some meaty gusts in the 15knot region, so it was really a pretty decent evening for racing. 

So the course was a longish beat, a shy reach up under the windward bank, a longish run back down, and then a very short one sided beat towards the middle of the reservoir and another short run back to the start. My GPS trace tells me that the short run was in the area of 150 yards, but honestly, it felt shorter. I must admit I'm not a huge fun of little legs with a transition from upwind to downwind to upwind like that: it just feels like so much work to reset the boat from upwind to downwind to upwind configuration again in such a short time, and if you do you lose time setting the boat up, not sailing, and if you don't you lose time again. Still, at least I'm not pulling a kite up and down! At my age and state of fitness one kite hoist and drop a lap is all I can cope with. It could be worse, I don't have adjustable rigging, which is definitely faster on the Canoe. Really the routine at the windward turn should be free off kicker, maybe free off downhaul, lift daggerboard, free off shroud, deploy jib stick, then drop daggerboard and release jib stick for the gybe, daggerboard up again and jibstick on again, then reset kicker downhaul and shroud tension at the leeward mark.  I suppose I need to get fitter and more committed! But I digress, and in any case all this is an integral part of the challenge of racing sailboats. No fun if its easy...

Oh yes, well there were few boats out for the first two starts, but a pretty hotly contested start for the fast boats. The line had a lot of bias for our start, and my plan of starting on port towards the committee boats taking the lift off the starboard boats didn't work as well as I'd hoped because they seemed to take so long to clear the line. Difficult to tell whether left or right was better, all seemed to arrive at the windward mark about the same time. 

Mike Curtis, sailing with not an excess of weight in his RS400, seemed to get away a bit fairly early, but the RS200s, mixed up with the leading Phantom, seemed to stay ominously close. The 200s - Clare/Lucy and Harry, with James Curtis as forward hand this evening, were having a good old battle with some place changing going on both between themselves and the Phantom. Did it get a bit vocal at times too?  The fast fleet seemed to catch the Lasers soon enough, but Rob Pettit in the leading Solo was a long way away, taking full advantage of clear air and a diminishing breeze - I have lap times for my boat, and they went 13,14,15,16 minutes!

Here are the results. A Solo evening again... I don't think there's been quite such a bias towards light airs for a while: it seems to be windy on Tuesdays, windy on Thursdays but never windy on Wednesdays this year. Still, even if Rob had the breaks, you still have to take your chances, and he certainly did. 2nd and third for the two RS200s was a very respectable result, especially with all those hoists and drops. Mike's 4th was probably a reflection of a shortage of weight upwind, whilst John Magrath's 5th was very respectable in the conditions. John Oldham rounded out the top 6 in his Phantom.

In the personal handicap another Phantom, Mike Said, won by quite a margin, which is a sign that he's making good progress with the boat. Harry pipped Clare for the personal handicap 2nd, with Rob 4th, John th, and Ian and Douglas 6th in their RS400.

Series wise Gareth is still a mile in front. So Solo friendly have been the conditions that he'd still be leading if you gave the Solo the same handicap as a Laser! Still you've got to get out there and perform every week and he's done that. Rob Pettit moves up to second and Paul Playle 3rd overall, Solo 1,2,3. Kevin Pearson is 4th with his Laser. Hard to see anything other than a Solo winning this year unless the weather really turns around.

Harry Phelps still leads the personal handicap by a very healthy margin, but after starting with 5 wins from the first 6 races he's not had a win in the last 4. Can he be caught? Still possible...