Today was a beautiful summer’s day and after a very quiet start to the day, sufficient wind filled the lake at 1045 which enabled the fifth race of the summer series to be confirmed and 14 entrants began milling around the start line ready for the off at 1130! It was great to welcome some new WS Racers: Andy Masters, who went out for his first sail at Chipstead in many years, with Patrick as crew; Phil from the Cheshire Home day centre who generally does not race but today he did and was accompanied by Stephen as crew; and Brendan who had a new volunteer but very experienced big boat sailor, Terry, as his crew.
Our Knight of the Lake has offered me his observations on the day to share with the WS world and by doing so I hope that readers will gain insights from the fecundity of his fancy and choice of language!
Once again I was confronted by a sea of glass upon my arrival at Chipstead. The only breeze I could see was that caused by some butterflies’ wings. Following last week’s disaster with the Kalashnikov, I had managed to procure a higher-powered water gun but it was quickly pounced upon by a rogue trustee. And several poor innocents were subjected to a severe soaking from Rambo Mckee (oops… gave the name away again).
It was obvious that racing would not take place in these conditions. A number of us stood around making pleasantries when our good friend Fay decided to berate me for my recent blogging commentaries. Fay’s form has been improving over recent weeks and when we do finally get a dope dog, as opposed to a dopey dog, I think she will be on the list of the racers to be tested. However, I do have another theory. I am pretty sure I could hear Fay communicating with someone via a concealed microphone. I may be wrong but I think Fay may be passing information to her sister, Karen, to enable some form of off-course betting scam. Message to Fay and Karen, “Watch out we are watching you!!”
Having made my way down to the pontoon, something very strange occurred (As if this occurrence was something strange? Ed.) Sitting waiting for me was a pristine looking Kermit, complete with hidden oar and wet sponge. This was a little too good to be true and of course I realised those sneaky helpers were just having fun at my expense, given the lack of wind. So I sat there in the spearmint wonder machine and sunbathed, when suddenly a miracle occurred. A small puff of wind grew and grew and suddenly Kermit leapt into action and began to hustle across the lake. Fay and Bob Marsh were swept aside as the mean green flying machine swept up through its powerful automatic gearbox. Ahah, I was feeling pretty cocky as I swept across the lake enjoying the look of horror on the volunteers’ faces, who up till now had been laughing at my expense. The main danger appeared to be Mike Blatchford in his trusty Martin, but given his recent record of poor sportsmanship (Can we please forget the alleged paddle and outboard engine? Ed), I was confident I could find a way to get him disqualified. With the arrival of this good wind, the race was back on and I was sitting in the bookies’ favourite. Bligh was somewhere (But not at Chipstead. Ed), no doubt giving one of her crew 50 lashes. The two evil 2.4’s were still firmly in dock. The red torpedo was no doubt elsewhere winning another trophy and Kim who we had banned for one week still hadn’t resurfaced and as far as I could see Brian and Eileen hadn’t arrived. With the greatest respect to my other 303 colleagues, I felt positive that today was my day. Oh boy was I going to have fun today.
But, as I glanced over to the pontoon, I saw two the 2.4’s being unleashed into the lake. Suddenly I felt like a small duckling sitting on a pond watching crocodiles sliding into the water. (This is the wild imagination we readers love! Ed.) Standing by the clubhouse was Pippa with a huge hound (actually her new and very cute Labrador pup, called Jimmy), but wait for it……..there was Kim. As usual Kim’s leftover 303 came sliding out from the reeds with 2 minutes to go (How does she do that?). I tried to smile and ask her how she was? “Not feeling too good today,” she replied. Oh boy when she says that I sense trouble. I think I could hear Fay relaying information to the off-course bookies and a flurry of activity amongst the volunteers onshore. Fay had told me earlier that the new £5 note will be made of plastic. My theory is, that is because they will be able to float amongst the bookies on Chipstead lake.
With a decent wind the course was set between Marks D and A and the double handed 303’s made good starts tacking upwind towards Mark A. Kim and her crew, Mandy, and Fay and her crew, Bob Marsh, had elected to take a wide starboard tack and were making good progress down the lake. This seemed like a good course, away from the majority of the traffic, so Kermit and I followed them. However, given Kermit’s racing pedigree, I was able to point her slightly closer to the wind and as a result I shot past both Kim and Fay by the time we reached Mark A. As we rounded the Mark, leaving it to starboard, several 303’s were neck and neck
…and then the wind subsided. Each helm was trying different tactics to try to gain an advantage but the fleet travelled down the lake very slowly, reaching the D Mark ‘en masse’ (French written here? Ed). Note to Editor: you have asked about training requirements. I have decided I need anger management training. As we began tacking back to Mark A, I decided to be polite and give way to everyone. “After you etc. etc.” Hence my requirement to learn how to become ANGRY. Suddenly the housewives’ favourite was halfway down the pack and the crocodiles were snapping. Suffice to say, the majority of the boats left Kermit in their wakes and when the Final whistle blew (if only it had blown 20 minutes earlier), Kermit and its helm were looking at a chance lost. However, for the first time ever, I was first back to the jetty and was first up the victory steps (but no one asked if I had won?. I had no idea of the final finishing order, although I later heard that Kim upheld the honour of the 303 fleet by staying (just) ahead of David Mason on his crocodile! How does she do that? (That is exactly what David Mason asked me afterwards! Ed)
In summary another beautiful day, the bookies were happy that Kim is back and, with Pippa’s permission, we will begin training Jimmy as our dope dog.
Thank you Bob……and to finish this week’s chat, the order of helms across the start line, completing each of the two laps raced and at their position at the end of 35 minutes is shown on the schematic below together with some more pictures of the day. And, as always, a big thanks to our volunteer crews (Bob, Patrick, John, Charles, Steve and Terry) who assisted our Racers to enjoy the day.