What a fantastic day! The second Thursday in a row of lovely weather meant that everyone who gathered at Chipstead Lake had another SUPERB sailing day with good – reasonably steady – wind and warm sun!
The volunteers had rigged and launched most of the fleet by 0930 and were then briefed by the Session Manager and told about the Race course for the day (Start/Finish line – K to Flag : beat/upwind toD : reach/downwind to J : run/downwind to B : reach/downwind to A and then a long beat through the Starting Gate back to D). After this around 1000, the early arrivals amongst you were able to get out on the water to test the wind and explore the course. At 1115 Fleur and Peter were in the Race Hut making a note of all the Race entrants – dinghy class, sail number/colour and helm and crew – but the Session Manager asked for a short delay to the commencement of the 3=2=1 countdown at 1125 whilst a few late entrants were helped into their dinghies and dispatched by the volunteers working on the pontoons. The race fleet were told about the delayed Start and they patiently waited on the water until the 3 minute Gong sounded and then their sinews stiffened and the jockeying began for the best position on the Start Line!!
But once the START Gong sounded it was another 8 seconds before the first boat crossed the Start Line – that was David Mason in his 2.4m #109 on starboard tack. He was closely followed across the Line by Peter Wagner in 2.4m #108 and Mike Blatchford in Liberty # 188 aka Pink Lady and Kim Sparkes, aka Lady of the Reeds, in her 303 #1 , but this trio had chosen to sail initially on the port tack which proved to be a very good choice , especially for Peter Wagner since it enabled him to establish a lead of 100 metres over David Wagner by the time Peter rounded the windward Mark D before the broad reach down towards Mark J. And Peter had increased his lead to 200 metres by midway of the run westward along the lake towards Mark B. Whilst Keith Eeles in his Liberty #2162 set out on a starboard tack from the Start line, most of the rest of the fleet – the other eight 303s and the two Martins (#125 sailed by Martin/ Sebastian and #126 by Don/Reece) – chose to head up to Mark D on a port tack initially. Here are some photos that show how the fleet sorted itself out after the Start and sailed around Marks D and J.
Unlike last week, the wind stayed mainly blowing from NE at a reasonably constant pace for the first two laps before falling off a bit around the middle of the course which allowed those in the fleet running down to Marks B and A and beating back to the Start gate, to catch up those boats in front of them on the beat to Mark D. The two 2.4ms kept up their combat for the whole race; after Peter’s initial breakaway, the lead changed hands with David overhauling Peter as they beat up wind to complete the first lap and he held his advantage until the final lap when Peter managed to get a great lift from a momentary wind shift and sailed past David to create a good lead which he held until crossing the finish line nearly 1 minute ahead of David. Athough Keith managed to lead his rival Liberty, sailed by Mike Blatchford, around the second Mark J, from then on Mike gradually built up his advantage until he was nearly 2 minutes ahead of Keith at the end of the second lap. The 303 fleet was led by Kim Sparkes who showed time and again her ability to read the wind and tack at the moment which gave her maximum advantage. Imogen Fletcher and her crew Helen Fairfax were the second 303 home but – to show Kim’s exceptional talent – some 7 minutes behind KIm . Imogen/Helen were followed home, just 15 seconds behind, by Fay Watson and her crew Alan Harris. At times during the race the wind did pick up and helms had to be watchful for these gusts and take advantage of them whichever point of sailing they were on at the moment of impact. There were lots of mid-fleet battles throughout the race and some of the close sailing can be seen in the photos below.
A brilliant victory for Peter on-the-water but as we all know the 2.4m’s PY gives away quite a lot to the Liberty’s and even more to the 303s. This meant that Kim was first after application of the PY Handicap just 3 seconds a lap ahead of Mike Blatchford who was 27 seconds a lap ahead of Keith Eeles. The post handicap per lap time difference between each finisher have been added to results below to show you just how close the racing is and how every second out there on-the-water makes all the difference.
Well done to everyone who raced and many thanks to the volunteers who acted as crew and helped get everyone on and off the water which enabled the race to take place.
Here are Race #9’s results and don’t forget to check how your season is going by looking at the summary of the whole Spring Series’ results on the website:
1. Kim Sparkes (303)
2. Mike Blatchford (Liberty) +3 secs per lap
3. Keith Eeles (Liberty) +27 secs
4. Peter Wagner (2.4m) +6 secs
5. Imogen Fletcher/Helen Fairfax (303) +15 secs
6. David Mason (2.4m) +3 secs
7. Fay Watson/Alan Harris(303) +1 sec
8. Louise McSweeney (303) +2 secs
9. Martin Newman/Sebastian (Martin) +7 secs
10. Rowan Nicholls/Colin (303) +11 secs
11. Steve Farmer (303) +8 secs
12. Reece/Don (Martin) +26 secs
13. Tom Phillips (303) +12 secs
Retired. Rachel Ibbots/Peta (303)