After some torrential rain early in the day – when WS’s gallant volunteers were getting the boats in the water and rigging them (“Thank you!” Ed.) – the sun came out and a steady W / NW wind started to blow. So by mid-day 8 WS Racers and 2 volunteers were ready to race. There were 7 Access 303 and 3 Liberty milling around the Start Line and most of the 303s were over the line within a minute of the Start whistle sounding. Excellent work especially since the wind strength was fluctuating in the area of the Start Line (Buoy K to the Pontoon).
The fleet had a beat into the NW wind on the first leg to Buoy B and even though he wasn’t the first over the Start Line, Steve Farmer, sailed a great first leg and rounded the first Mark in the lead some distance in front of Kim Sparkes. Fay Watson, who had made a very good Start, gave up some water on the first leg and followed Kim round the first Mark in close quarters with Daniel, and his crew Mike C, and Brian Mac and Jim W – a volunteer new to sailing. The 3 minute delay for the Liberty Start had elapsed before the whole 303 fleet had rounded Buoy B and Peter W, Mike B and Di – a Volunteer – set off in pursuit of the back markers!
Steve was sailing very well and by concentrating hard to eliminate mistakes he increased his lead over the fleet, even though he knew that the whole fleet was trying its hardest to catch him! Steve, Kim and Fay were the only 303s who managed to hold out against the Liberty fleet up to the end of the second Lap which saw Mike Blatchford in 4th place and Peter W in 6th. Gradually Di, Mike and Peter overhauled Fay and set about trying to pass Kim. The wind was blowing hot and cold during the race and in different parts of the course, so all the Racers had opportunities to catch up or the frustrations of being caught up. A good example saw Mike B get right alongside Kim’s 303 during the third lap on the downwind leg from Buoy B to Buoy D, but he just didn’t have enough wind to pass her and she got around the downwind Mark and, with a fresh blow, escaped Mike’s clutches to sail an excellent last lap to finish 2nd. But this was Steve’s day and he even lapped some of the other WS Racers before finishing in 1st place ahead of the Series leader, Kim S!
Result: 1 Steve F; 2 Kim S; 3 Mike B (L); 4 Peter W (L); 5 Fay W; 6 Brian Mac; Bob F and Daniel = DNF