It was another quiet day at Chipstead Lake for the WS Racers who arrived eager to race. Fortunately there was just sufficient wind blowing – on and off – to enable a figure-of-eight race course to be set and at 11.30 the race began. Here are a few photos below that show how the fleet sorted itself out after the Start gong had sounded and they headed off towards Mark D and then Mark J (which had been switched on the lake from their normal positions) and with the wind blowing from the East, which meant the boats were beating up to these windward Marks. The first boats around D and then J were David Mason in his 2.4m Sail #109, followed by Alan Harris (a WS volunteer) in his Access 303 Sail #8 and Keith Eeles in his Liberty Sail #2162 and behind him the other Liberty Pink Lady Sail #188 with Bob Fisher at the helm. (Great to see you back on the water – Captain Bob – and no doubt calling for “Room at the Mark” as you approached the first two Marks with an overlap on the boats outside you! Ed.)
Here is a superb picture of concentration – as David Mason was making very good headway despite so little wind which gave him a good lead heading down towards the leeward Marks A and B.
David was being hotly pursued by the two Liberty’s and Martin Newman in his Martin Sail #126 so he had to keep his wits about him and try to react to a shifting wind. As in recent weeks the differing wind direction meant that helms were beating and running on different parts of the course simultaneously! Everybody continued to sail well and with the 30 minute target time for the race approaching and the wind fading, David was the first helm to reach the Finish line after 23 minutes – his first lap taking 11 minutes and the second 12 minutes – so he was gonged to finish. But as you WS Racers know only so well that would not necessarily mean that David would wind the race. In fact it was the fourth boat home on the water, after 27 mins 42 secs, that took first place once the PY handicaps had been applied – Keith Eeles in his Liberty. (Well done Keith on gaining your first 1st. Ed.). Keith will not be able to Race next week in the final race of the 2018 Spring Series and hence will not complete 5 Races to qualify for the Spring Series. Nevertheless, he has thrown down a gauntlet to all the other Racers for the approaching Summer Series.
There was mention around the lunch table of a bizarre occurrence during the Race when an interjection was made over the Loudspeakers asking the Racers to follow the course and then a moment later this admonishment was countermanded to say everybody was sailing just fine. A spokesman for the Race Control unit said that any suggestion of incorrect instructions being given by Race Control was fake news and although a foreign power might have been involved, in this instance the Race Controller had mis-stated what he really wanted to say and any sensible helm would have appreciated the true intention. Too many folk are susceptible to fake news nowadays because they want to believe in conspiracies. Reports that the party at fault had resigned was totally untrue. (Why would he , if nothing had happened? Ed.)
1. Keith Eeles (Liberty)
2. Fay Watson/James Thomas (303D)
3. David Mason (2.4m)
4. Bob Fisher (Liberty!!!!!!)
5. Peter Wagner (2.4m)
6. Martin Newman (Martin)
7. John Hancock/Don (303S)
8. Tom Phillips (303S)
Five volunteers raced: Helen Fairfax and David (with his brother Simon) in the Stratos #2; Alan, Colin and Paul were out in Access 303Ss.
Fortunately Kim Sparkes popped her nose into the Race Hut at an opportune moment and she kindly helped note the times of each of the finishers. And many thanks to everybody else involved in getting the race off the ground and round the course and then everyone safely back on the pontoons!!