“What an absolutely, fantastically beautiful day!” was the main refrain heard yesterday around the club house and across the lake. It really was – summer had arrived on cue and although the early sign (at 0830 hours) was a total absence of wind, by 1000 the forecast EAST (Ed. Many thanks to hawk-eyed David Mason!!) wind of 8 to 9 knots was filling in nicely. Not surprisingly therefore there were a lot of sailors with big smiles on their faces starting to gather in the clubhouse and down by the water. As the wind improved from 1000, many of the Racers were out on the water and enjoying themselves along with many other clients. By 1100 the lake was very busy with most of the fleet out, beating, reaching, running, tacking and gybing! (Ed. How many more sailing words are there that describe how a sailboat moves?) But at 1120 the wind seemed to decide it had blown enough and took a rest, and the view from the Race Hut saw many Racers in the doldrums at the west end of the lake. Would they be able to get back to the start line in time to hear the 5 minute Gong? Fortunately all was well and the wind filled in again and 12 racers were on the water, milling up and down the Start Line, ready to do battle.
The Race Controller advised the competitors that the 5-4-1 countdown was to start imminently – but “Not so fast!” radioed the Pontoon Manager to the race Hut, “There are two late arrivals whom we are helping to get on the water, please delay the start.” So after a 5 minute delay the (now customary) countdown began and the hustling along the Start Line began in earnest. The braver souls were right there in the thick of it – using their knowledge of the racing rules (Ed. Is that mainly, Starboard Boat and Windward Boat?) to keep other boats at bay and prepare a clear line for the “Off”! The final Gong sounded and the Race was on….but what is that I hear. “Boats 108 and 126 must restart!” Oh dear – two helms had been a little too eager to get a blinder and strayed over the start line before the Gong. Back they came to restart their races – getting the all clear from the Race Controller.
As is often the case when Peter Gregory is in the Race, his Red Torpedo (Sail # 148) hit the Start Line at speed on Starboard Tack which quickly enabled him to find clear air and use the E wind coming straight down the lake from Dover and the Windward Mark – D. But there were many others chasing him up to D and after rounding D to Port running downwind towards the Gybe Mark – C – and onward to the Leeward Mark – B – before beating back up the lake, through the Start Gate, to D. In view of the clear warnings previously given to WS Racers about the need to sail through the Start Gate EVERY lap , the Race Hut had to remind a few Helms that they were in danger of “forgetting” to do this. So thank you all for full compliance in this race!
From the timings recorded for every boat racing, as they complete each Lap, it was evident that the wind had strengthened during the second Lap – since most competitors at the front of the fleet sailed a faster second than first lap. This is important to note as a REMINDER to Racers that they need to take advantage of every scrap of wind on every Lap since that will REDUCE their overall Average Lap Time.
In the final stages of the Race, Peter Gregory was left to sail his fourth Lap and then the boats on the water behind him were given a FINISHING GONG as they passed over the Finish Line. With Emma and James, in a 303D Sail # 1, being the first boat to complete its second lap, one minute after Peter Gregory had started his fourth Lap. I should also report that there were three other boats on the water and racing around the course – a Martin, helmed by Fleur Bryant who was giving sailing tips and hints to WS Racers, and a Stratos and a Venture with multi occupancy. Well done to you all!!!
I show the race result below but I would like to stress that after taking the PY handicap into the consideration, there was very little between some of the boats.
The (provisional – awaiting scrutineering) positions were: 1. Peter Gregory (2.4m); 2. Kim Sparkes (Liberty); 3. Emma/James (303D); 4. Steve Farmer (303S); 5. Ann Frewer (2.3); 6. David Mason (2.4m); 7. Bob Fisher (303S); 8. Peter Wagner (2.4m); 9. Andy Wallace/Di (Martin); 10. Mike Mathews (Liberty); 11. Mark Cayzer/????? (303D); 12. Paula Penn/Sophie (303D); 13. Fay Watson/Rick (303D); 14. John/Jemma (303D).