It certainly wasn’t the weather – overcast, low cloud, dull and zilch wind – but as volunteers and clients arrived at the lake there was an end-of-term feel in the air. The realisation that we wouldn’t be meeting again until the Spring put a tinge of sadness to the proceedings but mainly folk were reflecting on the successful culmination of another brilliant year for Wealden Sailability and (on Thursdays) for the WS Racers! A happy band that this year numbered 27 competitors. There was quite a throng assembled for the briefing who were happy to chat before sailing started, as can be seen here, and to hear David Mckee read out an lovely Letter of  Thanks from Fay Watson in which she expressed her heartfelt appreciation for all the efforts made by the volunteers …

There was just a ruffle of wind at 9am and we were all hoping for at least the promised 2 to 4 knots to arrive before the Race. So rigging and launching the boats was done it near still conditions…

Fortunately, the wind did gradually fill in and the final race of the 2017 season was started as scheduled at 11.30. Watching a sailing race for the uninitiated can be confusing since there are boats of various sizes and they seem to be heading in different directions, most of the time. And as often is the case,  and can be seen from this week’s photos, those leading the race had different ideas of where and how best to find the wind  to help them get to Mark A first! The resultant competitive beat up to to the first Mark A was amongst the 2.4s, Venture and Martins which managed to put a bit of clear water between themselves and the following Access 303s and Liberties.

The close quarter competition between the leaders and down through the fleet continued around the windward Mark A and on the downwind leg to Mark C where the fleet had to gybe and head for the Leeward Mark D, before tacking and heading back to the Start/Finish line.

Gradually Peter Gregory got the better of David Mason and the Red Torpedo set off in pursuit of the back markers ahead…and indeed devoured them as it somehow made light of the light wind and slipped by one, two, three and many boats. David Mason, newcomers Jessica and Leonard sharing the helm of a Stratos (under Douglas’ very experienced and watchful eye) and Martin Norman and his nephew in their Martin followed suit. But appearances can be deceiving especially when you have to factor handicapping into a sailing race. Kim Sparkes and Lisa Holland (with her trusty crew Steve Thomas) in their 303s may have appeared to be some distance off the pace but, by maintaining their concentration and sailing well, Kim finished just ahead of Peter Gregory and Lisa was third, just behind Peter. A special mention must go to the WS Racing Trustee, Mike Coleman, who was sailing  Ann Frewer’s 2.4 (by far the smallest dinghy in the fleet). Mike came in ahead of a Martin, a Liberty, a Stratos, a Venture and many 303s!! Bravo.  But all good things eventually come to an end and Race # 13 was brought to a close as each helm crossed the Finish Line for the last time in 2017. After the race, the WS Racers’ achievements were recognised at an informal Awards Ceremony in the clubhouse.

As we sign off, here is a big thank you to all the Racers and their supporters and the volunteers who have been racing crews throughout the year and to all the volunteers who have ensured the races have run smoothly.

We look forward to seeing you all in 2018!!

Final Result of Summer Series Race #13

  1. Kim Sparkes – in Access 303 Single handed
  2. Peter Gregory – 2.4m
  3. Lisa Holland (and her crew Steve Thomas) – 303D
  4. Fay Watson (James Thomas) – 303D
  5. David Mason – 2.4m
  6. Martin Norman (with his nephew) – Martin
  7. Peter Wagner – 2.4m
  8. Mike Blatchford – Martin
  9. Derek Green – 303S
  10. Tom Phillips (Di) – 303D
  11. Louise Fisher – 303S
  12. Brian Mac (Bruce Hebbert) – Venture
  13. Katie (Claire Pearson) – 303D
  14. Chris (Colin) – 303D
  15. Kelly Tripp (Sue Raynes) – 303D
  16. Keith Eeles – Liberty

What a great season you have all had. Two closely fought series, totaling 26 Races sailed (out of 28 scheduled) with 27 entrants who entered 316 times over the year. Brilliant!! Great effort all round.

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