After two weeks when racing was not possible and with just three races remaining in the 2019 season, seventeen of you Racers came to Chipstead to race. That is a record number of entrants and nearly a maximum since it only left a few dinghies in the WS fleet unused. The weather forecast was for an overcast sky and a 14/18 knot WSW wind to be blowing by 11am with gusts up to 25 knots. But at 8am, when the volunteers started to rig and launch the fleet, the lake was covered by a nearly clear blue sky and ruffled by a steady 7 knot breeze from the West. By 10 am most of the racers had arrived and were able to get out on the lake to practise in the gradually strengthening wind which was backing towards the South, especially in the SW corner of the lake near Mark A. A few more clouds were gathering but it was still perfect sailing conditions. From the shore, one could see wind gusts buffeting the dinghies on the water and thus reminding the helms and crews to keep a viligant eye open for advancing pressure shown by the darker patches of water often called “cats paws”.

Between 11.20 and 11.30 am the lake had all the Racers sailing up and down the Start Line, tacking and gybing to ensure they were able to position themselves exacty where they felt they would have the best initial tack towards the first, upwind starboard mark (Mark A). Here is a video of the Start and first few minutes of the race (Apologies for the off-camera noise – someone clipping a hedge? And well done to Mike Blatchford for doing a 360 degree penalty – but why? Ed). The course continued with a very broad reach across to Mark B followed by a downwind leg to Mark D, a short reach across to the windward mark (Mark J) before tacking up back up the lake, crossing the start/finish line so the race Hut could record the times, and heading off on another lap.

As so often has been the case in this and previous years, Peter Gregory sailed his 2.4m, oft referred to as the Red Torpedo (and often used as the WS Poster Boat! Just look at the welcome page of the WS website. Ed), through the mass of boats on the Start line to his preferred position on the lake and an near-immediate lead – which he never relinquished until the Race Results were declared (see blow). The Martins and Liberties, as would be expected on handicap, started off well but were caught out by PG who sailed across them, being on starboard tack, and on the video you see them give way to him. Even on the first leg, they were tracking Peter Gregory, albeit quite some distance behind by the second Mark. Nevertheless three 303s, especially Imogen Fletcher, Fay Watson and Mark Cayzer, were battling away, with assistance from their crews to keep them out of trouble in the gusty and tough conditions, and were rewarded with good places in the final line up. The whole fleet managed to complete the course over some 30 minutes duration before getting together on the benches outside the clubhouse for a very convivial lunch and the declaration of the result. Well done to you all.

Result of the race

  1. David Mason in Liberty Sail #22
  2. Martin Norman and his crew Sebastian in Martin Sail #126
  3. Derek Preston in Liberty Sail #21
  4. Mike Blatchford in Liberty Sail #23
  5. Imogen Fletcher and her crew Anne Burrell in 303 Sail #2
  6. Peter Gregory in 2.4 Sail #148
  7. Fay Watson and her crew James Thomas in 303 Sail #10
  8. Mark Cayzer and his crew Helen Fairfax in 303 Sail #8
  9. Keith Eeles in Liberty Sail #25
  10. Peter Wagner in Liberty Sail #24
  11. Malcolm Hill and his crew Mike Mckenzie in Martin Sail #125
  12. Louise McSweeney in 303 Sail #7
  13. Geoff Taylor in 303 Sail #11
  14. Steve Farmer in 303 Sail #4
  15. Ben Gubb and his crew Don in 303 Sail #9
  16. Claudine Stone and her crew Ralph Brandenhorst in 303 Sail #5
  17. Tom Phillips in 303 Sail #6

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