A forecast of a fresh 14 knot, gusting 20 knot, W / SW wind had drawn an eager throng to the lakeside on Thursday. The earlier light sprinkling of rain, which had threatened when the volunteers were rigging and launching the fleet, had passed and by 10 AM the sun was trying, sometimes successfully, to find its way through the light grey cloud cover. By 11 AM the lake was busy with the race fleet, the pirate lugger, the venture and all three Stratos out on the water, plus, of course, the safety RIB and Commandos. The wind had freshened from the earlier gentle breeze to a respectable 10 to 12 knots which enabled the 14 Helms, signed-on for the race, to cross the Start line soon after the final Gong of the starting sequence had sounded.
Here’s the start……clear evidence that everybody was away quickly…
The early leaders above were Rachel Ibbott and her crew Sophie Poston in their 303, Mike Blatchford in a Liberty, Ann Frewer in her mighty 2.3, Fay Watson and her crew James Thomas in their 303 and Malcolm Hill with his crew Mike McKenzie in the first of the two Martins. Also on the race course to were Stratos 2 and Stratos 3 and the Venture but they were not in the race, just taking clients out for a sail. However, with their much larger sails (even when reefed or in cut down format) they comprised obstacles for the much smaller 2.3 and 303’s – but not for the 2.4m’s which had escaped from their wind shadow quickly.
But hang on where are Peter Gregory and David Mason in their 2.4m’s? Didn’t they start at the same time as everybody else…? Ah! Here they are….. way out in front. But how do they do that? (Good question! Ed)
Peter Gregory having managed to get a good start found clean air and tacked most effectively to be the first boat around the Windward Mark B. David Mason and the non-racing Venture and Mike Blatchford’s Liberty followed Peter around Mark B by which time Peter already had a lead of 50 yards.
The wind remained blowing mainly from the West but, in typical Chipstead manner, varied in strength and direction. However that didn’t stop The Red Torpedo from charging downwind, gybing around Mark C and continuing downwind towards Mark D, and by the time he rounded this Leeward Mark, he had a 400 yard lead over the next group of boats in the pursuing fleet.
By the end of the first lap, the fleet had settled down into an order which an observer would have expected, if they had known the boats’ various handicaps. Namely, the second 2.4m, the Martins, the Liberty’s and then the 303s and 2.3. But as we know looking at a boat’s position on the water doesn’t mean a lot when the results are calculated AFTER the Portsmouth Yardstick handicap is applied.
What is important is how fast each boat is being sailed and whether the helm can maintain their best speed consistently. Look here: On the second lap Peter Gregory maintained his first lap time of 8 min and 1 sec, but his pursuers were generally faster over their second laps. See how you did:
- Ann Frewer faster by 3 min 53 sec
- Andy Wallace – 2 min 56 sec
- Martin Newman – 1 min 18 sec
- Malcolm Hill -1 min 7 sec
- Rachel Ibbott – 1 min 5 sec
- Fay Watson – 1 min 2 sec
- Mike Blatchford – 42 sec
- David Mason – 18 sec.
Of course this could be down to having better wind during the second lap but if that was the reason then why didn’t Peter Gregory also go faster? I think it may be down to how quickly you settle into sailing in race mode rather than cruising mode. In the next race try to focus on getting in the groove in lap 1 – don’t leave it until later to show your real speed. (I think that there may be a lesson to be learned from that data. May be use the 20 to 30 minutes BEFORE the race to get tuned up. Ed). But everyone sailed well and we all had a great day on the water. Well done to all you WS Racers.
Here is the Race Result:
- Mike Blatchford – Liberty
- David Mason – 2.4m
- Martin Newman – Liberty
- Fay Watson – 303D
- Andy Wallace – Martin
- Rachel Ibbott – 303D
- Mark Cayzer – 303D
- Peter Gregory – 2.4m
- Malcolm Hill – Martin
- Ann Frewer – 2.3S
- Lisa Holland – 303D
- Bill Garry – 303S
(DNF) Brian Mac – 303
And then after the Race, the sun came out and we all had Lunch outside the clubhouse…