As was stated by the Trustees on the website confirming that sailing would be on today, “Wind was going to be hard to find”. Nevertheless we had nine Racers eager to enjoy a beautiful, sunny morning on the water and ready to find whatever wind might appear. Certainly at 10:30 AM the expected 4 knots of breeze was looking optimistic with barely a ripple disturbing the glassy surface across most of the lake.
The course was set with the wind blowing from the SSW, from the normal Start Line (between Buoy K and a distance marker Flag in the middle of the lake) with an initial Beat up to the Windward Mark B, to be left to starboard, before running down towards Mark C and, after gybing around C, continuing the run to Mark D which was to be left to starboard before starting the beat back to the starting gate and Mark C. However, today was a day when the Racers would find it was not only going to be difficult to find the wind but also to work out how to react to the wind’s changes of direction.
The 5 minute gong sounded on time at 11:25 AM and despite the difficulties caused by having very little wind, all the Helms in the race managed to have a clean start. David Mason in his 2.4 quickly put two or three boat lengths between himself and the following group comprising Fay Watson in a 303, with her trusty crew James Thomas, Andy Wallace in a Martin, Peter Wagner in a 2.4 and John Masters in a Stratos. There wasn’t a lot of space between these Helms as they followed David Mason towards the first Mark.
A few boat lengths behind them came Ann Frewer in her 2.3, Bill Garry in a Martin, Brian Mac in a Liberty, Mark Cayzer in a 303, with his crew Andy, and Kelly in a 303, with her crew Mike McKenzie. The Helms in this second group benefited from the vagaries of the light breeze, as a gentle increase in strength seemed to bypass the first group and hence enable the second group to make up ground so that nearly the whole fleet was bunched up as it approached the Windward Mark B.
Meanwhile David Mason had rounded Mark B in the lead and was well on his way to the second Mark C by the time the first of the chasing boats reached and rounded Mark B.
At this stage the strength of the wind was close to the forecast 4 knots and all the Helms were probably quite happy since their boats were moving along nicely. The steadiness in the wind meant that David gybed around Mark C still with a sizeable lead over Andy Wallace in his Martin. But Andy was in hot pursuit as were Fay Watson in her 303 and the Stratos, with John Masters at the helm. A slightly stronger breeze had also helped Peter Wagner in his 2.4, Brian Mac in the Liberty and Bill Garry in the other Martin to make up some distance on the leader. However, as was expected today, the wind started to play tricks and whilst David Mason benefited from a short-lived gust, those just 200 yards behind found themselves stalled as the wind died. On approaching Mark C, the momentum and bigger sail of the Stratos managed to help John Masters sail past the boats that had stalled in front of him and, together with Peter Wagner, he started to chase after David Mason. Andy Wallace found the wind again and took up the pursuit closely behind Peter Wagner. Brian Mac and Bill Garry were also still very much in the hunt, although seeming to take a longer course than was necessary given the wind direction.
As the front of the fleet tacked around Mark D, there was sufficient wind to help them keep moving across the water and complete their first lap of the course.
However, the wind soon backed into SSE and the leg from Mark D to Mark B became a run rather than a beat. The Helms that recognised this were clearly at an advantage and let their sails out accordingly….but this situation did not last for very long, since the wind died completely, leaving the second half of the fleet (now on the leg between Marks D and B) in the doldrums. When it returned, it was blowing from the SSW. From the Race Hut, we could see how difficult it was for Helms to decide how best to set their sails. A number of boats started sailing involuntarily back to Mark D whilst others went round in circles, until the wind made its intentions clearer and settled down blowing gently from the South!!
For the remainder of the race, David Mason, John Masters and Peter Wagner managed to gain a sizeable advantage over Andy and Bill’s Martins, Brian’s Liberty, Ann’s 2.3 and Fay, Mark and Kelly’s 303s who all completed their second laps, seesawing up and down the order as the wind blew or disappeared. The two 2.4’s were asked to sail a third lap since they were well ahead of the rest of the fleet after 20/25 minutes. and at some point during their third lap, Peter managed to find some good wind whilst David sailed into the doldrums. Which enabled Peter Wagner to finish in front of David this week. (What a ding-dong tussle these two are having this series! Great stuff. Ed.)
Well done to everybody racing. It was another tricky and trying day for you all.
And many thanks to Fleur Bryant who was out on the water with her son Henry giving encouragement to and teaching those in need…
and to Chris Wagner for dog-sitting Gyp.
The Final Result is:
- 1 Peter Wagner
- 2 David Mason
- 3 Ann Frewer
- 4 Mark Cayzer and Andy
- 5 Andy Wallace
- 6 Brian Mac
- 7 Kelly and Mike McKenzie
- 8 Bill Garry
- 9 Fay Watson and James Thomas
These results have been added on to the Spring Series Race Summary where you can see that 11 racers have now qualified for the Series by sailing at least 5 races. Bravo!!