Wednesday Week 4 2015

It was sunny, it was warm, lightish but nice breeze. So sunny and warm, that your scribe thought he might risk it without a wetsuit. This turned out to be a dubious decision when I managed to get myself caught behind the boom and capsized the canoe still tied to the jetty... actually the water really wasn't that cold.

So the course. A long course, perhaps ambitiously long, and what seemed like a very short start line. The wind was to move about a lot, but we started down at 6 and took what was usually a beat up to mark 1. that was a starboard rounding , and a broad reach, first time anyway, down to 5, and then another upwind leg to mark 3. A long reach right across to mark F, and then down to 6. If you're not familiar with the club marks, sorry, but I was having trouble explaining this, and would have even further trouble later on if I didn't use the mark numbers.

A crowded and even vocal start for the first fleet, but for the second start your writer, currently watchless and making his run based on what the rest were doing, was horrified to hear the gun whilst all some way from the line, which as I was planning to take transoms and cross on port by the CB left me well short of the line. Don't know why everyone was so line shy...

However the slower boats must have had a light first couple of minutes, since the faster boats were well up into the back of the fleet by the windward mark. The two Curtises in a notably underhumanballasted RS400 were soon in the lead and clear air, with Mike Storey's National leading the slow boats. Gareth's Aero and Harry Phelps RS300 were noticeable towards the front in my Canoe, and very hard to keep ahead of on the lighter downwind legs.

Lap one seemed to go fairly normally, but by lap two the wind was swinging some. The last leg down to 6 had turned into a fetch come semi beat on that lap if my memory serves me correctly.  The leg up to 3 was very much to windward, and definite holes were forming under the influence of the trees upwind. The Curtises got through OK, and were gone. I was through next, but the wind faded dramatically, and where I was on the rhumb line it more or less turned off. A few more got past the mark and were similarly slowed, whilst behind I think a big bunch were stuck in the immediate vicinity of the mark. 

I think it was Mike Storey who first spotted that a stream of wind had appeared off to the left hand side of the course. All headed to it as well as they could, and under its influence the group behind vanished team Curtis considerably compressed. I think National, Aero and RS300 all got past me. The leg down to 6 was now a beat come fetch of sorts and we had a bit of wind for that, but on the leg back up to 3 it started to drop again.

By this time a huge orange sun was dipping toward the horizon, the leading RS400 was well past 3 and heading for mark 5. Also heading for mark 5 was the committee boat: had they lingered too long over the coffee watching the sun go down and suddnly realised the evening lull was upon us? Anyway they broke out the S flag and the sound signals on the way down, and just arrived in time to finish the Curtises. For the next group of us the leg down was initially a sort of reach, but turned into a beat for the last 100yards and went very light and nadgery indeed. For the last bunch it must have been pushing purgatorial... But there was a magnificent sunset, even by Wednesday series standards.

So, the results. That Mike and Harry won was of little surprise. They were minutes ahead. Gareth's Aero took 2nd, Kevin Pearson 3rd in his Laser, Mike Storey 4th in the National, Harry 5th in the 300 and Maggie Futcher 6th in her Byte. So in fact there was a good selection of boats from both starts in the top 6. With 2 races to count we have the very beginnings of a series, and Kevin Pearson is leading it.

The 400 took the personal handicap as well, 2nd was Harry, whilst Dave Baldwin took third in his RS100. Maggie got 4th, Gareth 5th, and Roy Poole 6th in his Solo.