Last Thursday (28th April 2016) was a lovely sunny day with a keen wind blowing mainly along the length of the lake, initially from the NW and then backing through W to SW by the afternoon. The wind was forecast to increase in strength during the morning but although there was a gusty 10 – 12 knot wind blowing as the eight Racers jockeyed for position on the Start line, it had dropped to just 4 or 5 knots by the end of the race . The PY Handicapping system is used by WS Racing and this means that 303 Double Handed boats (Mark Cayzer and Fay Watson plus their crews) get a one minute advantage over the 303 Single Handed boats, and the get a two minute advantage over Liberty (Brian Mac) and he got a seven minute advantage over the 2.4s (Peter Gregory and Peter Wagner).
A key learning point is to USE YOUR BOAT’S PY ADVANTAGE to the maximum by getting across the Start Line as soon as your Class is given the green light. Fay Watson was the first helm to cross the Start Line and she managed to gain over 200 yards over Mark Cayzer before he crossed the Start Line. (Ed. I later heard that many helms and crews could not hear the Whistle or the Loudhailer – on the shore – over the flapping of sails, the slapping of waves on hulls., and the general hullabaloo.)
Once racing, the 303 fleet made good use of the stiff breeze at the beginning of the race to get away promptly from the Start Line and make good progress around the first lap. This resulted in four 303s completing their first lap before the 2.4s had started! Nevertheless, as soon as the two Peters finally got the green light in their 2.4s they set to overhauling the slower Liberty and 303 fleets. Peter Gregory’s experience and sailing competence was quickly apparent as he carved this way through the 303 fleet not just once, to unwind their “lapping” him but twice as he eventually caught up the back markers and it was only on the last leg of the fourth lap that he finally vanquished Kim Sparkes in her 303 just before rounding Mark D and finishing. Peter Wagner has only sailed a 2.4 a few times and therefore it wasn’t surprising that he was not able to make as much use of the 2.4’s superior speed as Peter G had done. This meant that Kim and Steve held him off during the last lap forcing him into a hard fought 4th place. The other 303s and Brian all finished within a few minutes of the winner.
In summary, Race 1 was a great start to the season and allowed eight very eager and competent helms/crews to shake themselves down. The wind’s decrease in strength and variation of direction challenged all helms to ensure they were heading in the right direction between the Marks and to set their sails most effectively – and differently on every lap! All-in-all, an excellent performance by all involved.
The final result was: 1 Peter G; 2 Kim; 3 Steve; 4 Peter W; 5 Fay ; 6 Mark; 7 Bob; 8 Brian