Last Thursday was forecast to be near perfect conditions for Race #2 of the Summer Series. And that expectation was probably why there were 16 boats on the water at 1125, ready to race. But the forecast was not quite borne out by the conditions that greeted us when we all assembled at the Lake at 0830. Rather than a North-Westerly we found ourselves with wind coming from the East backing to the North-East and rather than a steady 14 knots, the wind was struggling to get to 10 knots – however there were some reasonable gusts which would keep everybody on their toes (Or their gunwales? Ed)
For the first time in many races, Helms were faced with an anti clockwise course running from the Start Line between an Inner Distance Marker and Mark K, then beating down the lake to Mark D, tacking around D, leaving the Mark to Port, before starting downwind leg to gybe around Mark C and continuing the run to Mark B which was also left to Port, before starting the long leg, beating back up to Mark D (going through the start gate each lap).
After a short delay to enable everybody who wanted to race to be helped into a boat (Many thanks to Andy Wallace for agreeing to a late change from his favoured Martin to an alien Stratos! Ed), the Race was underway. There is no doubt that WS Racers‘ starts are getting better, with everybody within a few boat lengths of the Start Line once the one minute Gong had sounded – as is evidence from the photograph below!
Within a few seconds of the Start Gong sounding, the first boats were across the Start Line and tacking up to Mark D – led by Abe in the Commando! The first to show were Mike Blatchford in Martin 2290, Peter Gregory in 2.4m 148 (AKA The Red Torpedo. Ed), David Mason in his 2.4m 109 and Fay Watson and her crew James Thomas in their 303 with yellow sail #4. (The Pirate Lugger in the pic below was not in the race but may have been eyeing up any laggards as booty! Ed).
The race also had two Stratos in the fleet; one helmed by Helen Fairfax – a volunteer – with Andy Wallace as crew and the other helmed by Bruce Hebbert – a Trustee. The sole Venture in the fleet was helmed by Paul Hagan with Allan Griffiths as crew (Paul – don’t get Allan to sign-on for the Race. The Race Controller didn’t know you were racing but fortunately the timekeeper recorded your lap times – thank you Bob Marsh!! Ed).
The North-Easterly wind was blowing around 10 knots as these front runners began their beat up towards Mark D. The two 2.4m’s were best able to point high into the breeze and after a couple of tacks they were first around Mark D and building up a lead of some 200 metres over the third-place boat, by the time that boat rounded D. Perhaps not surprisingly in this breeze, the two Martins and the third 2.4m were the next group of boats to round Mark D to commence the downwind chase of Peter Gregory and David Mason in their 2.4m’s.
LESSON OF THE DAY – With the wind blowing from the NE and Mark D positioned close to the shore (to avoid the encroachment of water weed in Donald King Reach), all the Helms had to contend with quite a large wind shadow caused by the tall trees on the shore of the lake north of the Mark and extending westward. The Chipstead Lake savvy Helms (e.g. Bruce Hebbert) were seen to steer back into the middle of the lake after rounding Mark D, run downwind and then gybe and Run or Reach across to Mark C rather than head straight downwind towards Mark C. And from the race hut, we could see the boats using the middle of the lake overhaul other boats stationary in the doldrums – caused by the wind shadow. (So next time everyone can do the same as Bruce!! Ed)
With the wind as tricky as ever, the fleet became quite strung out and gradually the leading boats started to catch up and overtake those at the back of the fleet. However, as can be seen from the Final Result, this situation does not always mean that the boat being overtaken is actually behind the overtaking boat because of the handicapping system. So don’t worry or be downcast, if every helm keeps sailing as well and as quickly as they possibly can, irrespective of how many boats they think may be catching and passing them, then wonders can happen! (That’s right – best foot forward at all times. So this week, all three 2.4m’s, the two Martins, the two Stratos and the Venture all managed to complete three laps whilst everyone else did two laps but just look at the Result! Ed)
Well done to everybody. Below you will see where you came at the end of all your efforts during the race:
- David Mason
- Fay Watson
- Paul Hagan
- Steve Farmer
- Peter Gregory
- Peter Wagner
- Martin Norman
- Ann Frewer
- Mike Blatchford
- Malcolm Hill
- Brian Mac
- Bill Garry
- Andy Wallace