WS Racers have been able to enjoy some great sailing days in recent weeks and the conditions for Race 12 were the best of the lot. A solid 15 knot wind from the West enabled the whole area of Chipstead lake you normally sail on to have good wind conditions and the fetch from the Windward Mark (Buoy A) to the Leeward Mark (Buoy D) meant that the downwind legs were full on fun whilst the beat back up into the wind was a tough challenge. Here are some photos of the list of 17 dinghies and 3 larger boats that had been prepared for WS Sailors’ use during the day and unlike last week when at 9.30 am the sails were totally limp, you can see every sail absolutely flattened by the wind… (Great sight! Ed)
Most of the WS Racers wishing to race today arrived at the club between 10am and 10.30am and at times there was a queue of eager sailors waiting to put on their buoyancy aids and be allocated the dinghy of their choice. By 11am the racing fleet was sailing up and down the start line working out where they wanted to cross the start line and how long it would take to reach the start line from say 50 yards away……10 secs or 20 secs? (Good to see some WS Racers are learning the crafty arts of good starting! Ed).
However, relying upon the fleet’s patience, there was a delay to the start of the Race as we waited for Steve Farmer to arrive and for his 303 to be made seaworthy! As Steve in his Access 303 (Sail Yellow #3) left the pontoon, the 3 minute gong was sounded and at the start gong there were a line of dinghies a few yards behind the start line ready to head for the first and windward Mark (Buoy A). As can be seen in the video most of the fleet were evenly matched for some time as they tacked up the lake but Peter Wagner had already made up hs mind how he wanted to get to the Mark and by the time he got there he had put plenty of clear water between himself and the Access 303 (Sail Blue #9) in second place sailed by a guest from Camp Mounthill, Andrew Vestrini, with his crew and teacher James Thomas. Martin Norman in his Liberty (Sail Blue #25) appeared to have arrived at the Mark in second place but, as can be seen in the video, Andrew and James are on Starboard Tack approaching the Mark which gives them the right to hold their course and Martin, on Port Tack could either tack to starboard himself or hope to be able to sail round their stern and still round the Mark. Martin chose the later option but as a result his boat bangs into the Mark resulting in a 360 penalty. However, Martin did not notice this infringement and waited until he was told by the Safety Boat of the need to do a 360 (tack and gybe) turn which he then did. (Sailing Rules are primarily there for safety but penalties for infringing Sailing Rules are quite clear and are meant to reduce advantage gained by a boat at fault. If in doubt, it is better to do a 360 or 720 turn than be disqualified after the race if a protest is made and upheld. Any entrant can make a protest if they think a rule has been broken. Due to the friendly nature of our racing, such protests are more useful for learning than to gain a place or have a boat disqualified. It is also helpful if each helm self-monitors themselves and perfoms penalties as soon as possible. Ed)
With the strength of the wind remaining constant, the bigger Libertys were at an advantage on the water over the Access 303s and both Peter Wagner and Martin Norman sailed 5 laps within the 40 minutes duration set for WS Races. (This was the only race in the season where 5 laps had been able to be sailed by the leaders on the water. Ed). Kim Sparkes had problems when the outhaul on her Access 303 came unattached and suddenly she lost all power and control of her boat and then spent valuable time trying to rectify the problem. (The outhaul keeps the mainsail tight to the end of the boom which is essential for sailing quickly in a strong wind. Apologies Kim. Ed). Nevertheless, Kim was the only Access 303 to sail 4 laps and would have had time to sail 5 laps if the outhaul had not proved to be a problem. There were good tussles right down the fleet and the to’s and fro’s were being discussed long after the race, during lunch. Although not officially recorded, our guest Andrew and his crew James came in squeezed between Steve Farmer and Geoff Taylor (Just 4 seconds a lap behind and ahead of…! Ed). Here are a few more photos of the action during this race…
This was the final race of the WS Spring Series so those WS Racers who haven’t yet been able to come down to the lake on a Thursday who but are now ready, can start afresh next week when we will have the first of 12 Races in our Summer Series.
The full result of Race 12 is:
- Peter Wagner – Liberty Sail White #23
- Kim Sparkes – Access 303 Sail White #8
- Martin Norman – Liberty Sail White #25
- Derek Preston – Liberty Sail Blue #24
- Steve Farmer – 303 Sail Yellow #3
- Geoff Taylor – 303 Sail White #7
- Trevor Monk – 303 Sail Blue #11
- Kelly Tripp and her crew Colin Barnes – 303 Sail Red #10
A big thank you to all the sailors and volunteers on and off the water and to Chris Wagner for assisting me record the lap times in the Race Hut. Ed.