You were a brave lot today! Whilst the weather conditions on paper were absolutely perfect, it was certainly a chilly one. The race box was cold enough so I can imagine that it was pretty nippy on the water. On the plus side, the wind was almost perfect. Even better was that so many of you turned out on a cold October day so late into the season. This is something we could have only dreamed of a few years ago.
The one area where, us in the race box, have seen the most improvement over the past year, is at the start. Last year, starts were not very competitive with most sailors a long way from the line. Today showed us, yet again, how much this has changed. Every sailor was up there jostling for position with almost all boats close to the line and at speed as the gun went. This is making for much closer and more exciting racing. The only thing we have to remember is the rules in these close quarter situations, the more competitive the racing is, the more of these situations we will see. Peter’s email this week showing us what can go wrong shows how important it is to avoid a collision at all costs!
Peter G was on fast form today and led from the start flying both upwind and downwind. Behind him though, the competition was fierce. With just one point separating the top 3 boats, it is all still very much to play for. The first beat was very tactical and close, leading to some close quarter sailing at the first mark. From what, we could see, everyone made it round without collision so well done. Malcolm Hill led the charge downwind behind Peter with Martin chasing his tail. Just a minute separated the next 5 boats at the end of the first lap.
Racing was also tight within the access fleet. Kim had a tricky start allowing Jake to march into a strong lead. He wasn’t having it all his own way though with Keith just 8 seconds behind him at the end of the first lap. Fay and Louise were fighting hard not far behind either.
The wind dropped a little on the 2nd lap leading to longer lap times from the entire fleet. The racing became closer and closer in both fleets giving Mike and I a busy time in the race box. Just 10 seconds separated boats 2-4! The battle in the access fleet became extremely close as Kim recovered from a technical mishap on lap 1. Jake covering her up the final beat to try and keep her behind him. We couldn’t call it in the race box but ultimately Jake timed the finish beautifully beating Kim by 3 seconds.
The bigger boats completed a 3rd lap, Martin was able to get away from Malcolm and David but still could not get the advantage over a minute. Peter W finished strongly on the final lap, as did Mike Blatchford. Despite sailing the slower boat, the bigger boats just couldn’t shake him off, leading to his overall victory in the race (on handicap). Only Peter G completed a 4th lap, a masterclass in how to sail the 2.4 in some breeze.
So that’s it from me, that was my last race report of the season! It is half term next week and I am away so I am gutted but I won’t be there to see you pick up your prizes. Thank you to all of you for making this season the fun that it has been. I have said this a number of times but when Peter, Bob and I sat down with the idea of getting some racing started, we could not have imagined what it could have become. Not only the on the water sailing, which improves race to race, but also the camaraderie that you have built up off the water. It really makes us want to keep doing it and keep making it better. Good Luck next week, I look forward to hearing all about it and seeing the photos.
So onto next season – please give us your feedback on how we can improve the racing, for the group overall or for you individually. Have a great winter and see you for Race 1 next year. Don’t forget to say your prayers to the wind gods in advance!
The Race Results were:-
- Mike Blatchford (Liberty)
- Martin Newman (Martin)
- Malcolm Hill (Martin)
- David Mason (2.4m)
- Jake Jones
- Kim Sparkes
- Peter Gregory
- Fay Watson
- Peter Wagner
- Keith Eeles
- Louise McSweeney