At 8:30 am the volunteers who were busily working to get the WS fleet of dinghies ready for the day’s sailing, were drenched by a ferocious downpour that lasted just a few minutes. They might well have wondered whether their efforts were to be in vain and the whole day was going to be a cold washout. But by 10am – as forecast – the sun came out and what a fantastic day to be a sailor it became, especially if you were a WS Racer.
As can be seen from the above photograph, there was plenty of blue sky and lots of wind to fill the sails of the 13 boats that entered the tenth race of the 13 scheduled for the WS Racing Summer Series.
With the squally conditions, the pontoon manager was taking great care in ensuring both racing and non-racing clients were being sent out onto the water in an appropriate dinghy. This resulted in a small backlog on the pontoons and whilst most of the Racers were sailing up and down the start line at 1120, ready for the off, they were asked to hang on to allow the volunteers to get all the racers on the water. This meant there was a delay of some 10 minutes before the “3 minutes – 2 – 1 – Go” start sequence was commenced.
The usual suspects helming 2.4m’s, Martins and Liberty’s started to forge ahead immediately, however, notably Fay Watson in a 303 (sail # 9) could be seen mixing it from the start with the big boys. This leading pack were hotly pursued across the Start Line and up to the windward Mark B by Mark Cayzer (and Rick Atkinson) (303 #6), Steve Farmer (303 # 3), Louise Fisher (303 #1), Keith Eeles (Liberty #2290), Bill Garry (303 #2), Peter Wagner (#188 – Pink Lady) and Andrew Aldridge (with Mark Skipper) (303 #8).
As has so often been the case this year, in light winds or heavy weather, Peter Gregory in his Red Torpedo has majestically swept to the front of the fleet and then set about tracking down any tailenders. On Thursday, he overhauled his first back marker on his 2nd Lap as he gybed around Mark C and found Louise Fisher struggling to set the sails of her 303 on this downwind leg. And as Peter was rounding the Windward Mark B on his 3rd Lap, David Mason was at the other end of the course, tacking round the Leeward Mark D before beating up to complete his 2nd Lap. The (post-PY handicap) results show that as long as each helm manages to sail to the maximum of their ability they stand a chance of finishing high up the order. This was notably the case for Fay Watson and Mark Cayzer. (Bravo to both Fay and Mark. I just hope that the Race Controller won’t change the results again!! Ed.) A strong recovery on Thursday was made by Peter Wagner who struggled initially to get Pink Lady going but quickly made up ground in the strong winds and was sufficiently close at the end of his 3rd lap to David Mason and Mike Blatchford in their 2.4m and Martin respectively as they headed off for a 4th lap, to just pip them into 3rd place. Keith Eeles, a newcomer to WS Racing, showed his versatility by taking out a Liberty for the first time in very tricky conditions and bringing it home mid-fleet.
The next group of photos show the result of such competitive racing means that there are very small margins when it comes to placing the helms in their final position. For example, there was an average of just 16 seconds per lap difference between 1st and 4th place this week. Then 22 sec between 6th and 8th and 36 secs between 9th and 12th. And what is so great is that it is not just good sailing that is happening but from comments made after the race, a lot of fun is being had!
And just as we all thought we could relax, Mike Cartwright popped up to present Wealden Sailability with a (BIG) cheque for £3,000 raised by the Holmesdale Lodge where Mike chose WS as his charity for his year in office. What a fantastically generous gift!! THANK YOU TO ALL DONORS. And only then did we settle down to our packed lunches in lovely warm sunshine. A really superb day that extended the Summer for another week.
The Result of Race 10 was:
- Fay Watson (and her crew James Thomas) in an Access 303
- Mark Cayzer (and Rick Atkinson) – 303
- Peter Wagner – Liberty
- David Mason – 2.4m
- Mike Blatchford – Martin
- Keith Eeles – Liberty
- Andrew Aldridge (and Mark Skipper) – 303
- Peter Gregory – 2.4m
- Steve Farmer – 303
- Brian Mac – Liberty
- Bill Garry – 303
- Martin Norman – Martin
- Louise Fisher – 303