We arrived at Chipstead wondering if there would even be a ripple on the water this week. At 8.45, there was hardly enough breeze to move a sail as we started to launch and rig the fleet.  What a contrast to the whirlwind conditions of last Thursday! The Trustees were confident that the forecast wind would arrive in time for the Race at 11.30 but , based on the evidence thus far, there was some discussion about the direction from which it would blow.  The forecast was SW so we agreed to set up the course from the normal Start Line of Buoy K to a  Distance Marker Flag, then upwind to Mark A,  a reach across to Mark B, downwind to Mark D and then back upwind to cross the Start Line.

We had a 15 entrants milling around on the start line and staying clear of each other. The 3 minute gong sounded at 11.27 and Race 9 of the Summer Series started at 11.30 as can be seen in the video below. Check out how the different tactics worked out for those helms that started close to the right hand end of the Start Line on starboard tack, those in the middle of the Line (mainly on port tack), and those close to the left hand end of the Line on port tack. The danger of starting out on port tack is that if you fail to get away strongly and so do not have enough space to sail  across the bows of competitors , you must tack or sail around the back of the boats on starboard…

As can be seen in the video, Mike Blatchford’s (Liberty #22) decision to steal a march on his opponents by starting very close to the left end of the Line was thwarted by a drop and a shift in the wind just as he was on his final approach. At the other end of the Line, Peter Gregory (2.4m #148) swept in on a starboard tack which saw him arrive first at the windward Mark A…but he had to make his final approach on a port hand tack which meant that Martin Newman’s Martin # 126 had the right of way as it approached Mark A on starboard tack. So Martin got round Mark A first and he led Peter Gregory as they headed across to Mark B. Peter was the windward boat so he had to ensure that he didn’t drop down on Martin. They rounded Mark B together but then Peter Gregory started to pull away on the downwind leg and round Mark D with a healthy lead as can be seen here:

The wind remained blowing mainly form the SW and gradually gained in strength as the Race progressed. This enabled lots of duels to take place right through the fleet both on the beat from Mark D to Mark A, as well as the run from Mark B to Mark D. Once Peter Gregory had broken away during the first lap, the leading pack comprised the two Martins of Martin Norman (#126) and Malcolm Hill (#125) and the 2.4m’s helmed by Peter Wagner (#108) and David Mason (#109). Kim Sparkes in her Access 303 #6 Yellow Sail was mixing it with Mike Blatchford in the faster Liberty #22. Here are some more pictures showing the various little duels going on during the Race during a beautifully sunny autumnal day….

Just as the clock moved towards 30 minutes, the Race Hut started gonging finishers as they completed their second laps and asking 6 boats to complete 3 laps and Peter Gregory staying out there for 4 laps! (How does he do that? Ed)

Here are the two 2.4m’s of David Mason(#109) and Peter Wagner (#108) finishing their Races…just 13 seconds apart!

Any here are two final photos…one shows what happens when you don’t tie a good knot to secure the Commando and the other shows a very content group of WS sailors and volunteers enjoying each other’s company having lunch on the patio outside the clubhouse (What a great scene! Ed)

The final Result was:
1. Kim Sparkes (303S)
2. Martin Norman (Martin)
3. David Mason (2.4m)
4. Malcolm Hill (crew Tony Merrick) (Martin)
5. Peter Wagner (2.4m)
6. Peter Gregory (2.4m)
7. Imogen Fletcher (crew Di) (303D)
8. Mike Blatchford (Liberty)
9. Fay Watson (crew James Thomas) (303D)
10. Mark Cayzer (crew Peter) (303D)
11. Louise McSweeney (303S)
12. Ann Frewer (2.3)
13. Sophie Absolom (crew Don) (303D)
14. Rowan Nichols (crew Brigette) (303D)

and Jake Jones (303S) and Tom Phillips (303S) DNF

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