Last Thursday (7th July) was a fabulous summer’s day and close to perfect for sailing at Chipstead. Lots of sun and reasonable 6 knot W / SW wind with some 10 knot gusts!! And it was great to be back at Chipstead after my five week absence to find 14 WS Racers eager to get on-the-water and be ready for the Start at 11.30. There were eight 303s – five of which had crews to assist, two Liberty’s, three 2.4s and a solitary Martin! What a turn out… with all the leaders of the Spring Series ready to do battle. Peter Gregory was present and he is now sailing just for the pleasure of the occasion, having grabbed the top step on the podium with 5 first places from his 6 races to-date! A great performance and building on his competing in his 2.4 elsewhere for a few weeks earlier in the season. It was good to meet Andy Wallace who has become a regular Racer in the last month and to welcome Hash, Kelly and Lisa to the Spring Series.
Mike Coleman offered his services before the race to answer Racers’ questions and demonstrate sailing techniques on-the-water. Since all the early arrivals wanted to get out and enjoy the conditions, he had a number of takers!! Some with more success than others….Bob Fisher followed Mike’s instruction to pull in his main sheet and …..had to return to the pontoon to have 250 litres of the lake removed from his 303! Well done for trying Bob since that is what training/learning is all about – but nasty Chipstead gusts can upset the best of sailors. Everyone who wanted to race was milling around the Start line in good time to listen out for the 5 Minute Whistle!
The course had been set and was up on the Race Board from 1000. With the prevailing wind coming from the West, the Start line was between the Race boat and Mark D, with the first leg requiring a lengthy beat upwind to round the windward Mark B to starboard, followed by a run downwind with a gybe around Mark C to starboard and another run on a starboard tack back to Mark D to complete the course.
Whilst some of the volunteer Crews appeared to be unclear about the 5-4-1-0 starting sequence (because they asked what EVERY whistle blast meant), all the Racers knew what was going on and showed that they have got to grips with the Start Procedure. Although it is difficult to keep your boat close to the Start Line in the final minutes before the Start, some helms did just that and were rewarded by getting across the Start Line straight after their respective Start Whistle. Congratulations to Hash and Mark for good starts in their Double-handed 303s, Bob for his flyer in his 303, Kim ditto in her Liberty and Andy in his Martin! Well done!
The schematic below shows how well Kim and the 303s held their own against the faster classes. By the end of the 35 minute race we see that Kim kept in front of Peter Gregory (by just a few metres) to win, with Mike making the most of his 2.4’s speed to overhaul Steve who was the first 303, just ahead of Hash/Helen in their 303 and Andy/Ann in their Martin. That was a sterling performance Steve – and no 360s this week!
All the Racers were challenged by a major wind-shift half way through race, as it moved from W to SW and then back to W. Those racers (particularly Peter G) who recognised the shift early were able to make the most of the nearly straight line tack from the downwind Mark D to the windward Mark B during the 2nd and 3rd laps.
Whilst I have been away, Racers’ finishing positions have been determined as they should be for a Pursuit Race – by the Race Boat being up with the winning boat and after blowing the final whistle (35/40 Minutes), moving back down the course to record the order that boats are in. This means that if another boat overtakes you AFTER the final whistle then point out to the other Helm that YOU were in front when the Race ENDED. And check your position with Race Officer if in doubt.
NB. The main reason for the change in the Finish Procedure is to help the Session Manager get enough volunteers and boats off the water in time to have some lunch and be ready to assist with the start of the afternoon session.
Final Result: 1. Kim; 2. Peter G; 3. Mike B; 4. Steve; 5. Has/helen; 6. Andy/Ann; 7. Ann F; 8. Lisa/Pippa; 9. Bob F; 10. Mark/Kat; 11. Peter W; 12. Kelly/John; 13. Fay/Rick; 14. Brian Mac