Chipstead Lake looked resplendent when the volunteers arrived at 8.30 am to wash down the pontoons, launch and rig the dinghies and launch the lugger and longboat and safety boats. This was the beautiful scene when all this work had been done and the volunteers briefing had been completed and the first sailors and their carers were arriving….

A cloudless sky! The only thing lacking was…… yes, the limp sails give it away…..WIND!! The forecast was for 5 to 6 kn from the East (that is, blowing across the picture above from right to left) and therefore the course was set with the start line off the middle pontoon, the windward mark was buoy D followed by a downwind leg to Buoy B, then a reach across to buoy A, the leeward mark, before a long beat, up past the pontoons (through the start/finish gate) and back to buoy D.

Fortunately by the time the WS Racers were on the water milling around the start line, the forecast 6 knots of E wind had arrived and all the boats were able to manoeuvre freely, albeit rather slowly! Seven WS Racers and one WS volunteer entered the race which was able to start shortly after 11 AM. Here is a video of the start from which you can see Ann Frewer’s sailing knowledge working to her advantage from the start line but due to her Access 2.3 (Striped Sail #279) having a smaller sail area, she is overhauled by Bob Fisher in his Access 303 (Red Sail #10).

Bob was followed round the first Mark (D) by Ann and the WS volunteer, Nigel Raynes, in his 303 White Sail #8, who you will notice from the photo below leaves sufficient space for Ann between himself and the mark . Ann may have quite correctly called for “Water round the Mark” since her boat had an overlap on Nigel’s boat at 3 boat lengths away from the Mark. As with last week’s Race, the light wind made it difficult for the following boats to round the Mark and you can see eventual race winner Martin Norman in his Liberty White Sail #23 trailing behind the leading trio.

As the leaders reached the west end of the course, the wind started to pick up a bit and this benefitted Martin in his Liberty (#23). On the upwind leg from A to D, he overhauled Bob (303 #10) just before completing the first Lap – crossing 10 seconds ahead. From this stage on in the Race the wind filled in nicely and all the boats were moving more quickly. However, as is the case at Chipstead, the East wind backed and veered throughout and that provided opportunties for the sailors who recognised these small shifts either to harden up on the wind or to tack immediately as the lay line to the next Mark shifted.

Some sailors of note today were: Imogen completed her first Race solo (Access 303 Yellow Sail #6) and did very well considering she started well back from the fleet since she made a late decision to join the fray! (Brilliant job Imogen 🙂 Well done! Ed); Bob Fisher‘s immediate return to form after just 3 races. (Bravo Bob! Great to have you back. Ed); Derek Preston, as he acquaints himself with sailing at Chipstead – last week he bumped into the shallows and this week he found the dreaded weeds which managed to entangle themselves around the twin rudders of his Liberty (Blue Sail # 25) and as he said to me later “I just couldn’t get any boat speed” (I wonder what your next lesson will reveal Derek? Ed); and finally a duo, Martin Norman and Tom Phillips (Liberty White Sail #24) since it was Martin’s Samaritan act on his third lap towards Tom who was on his first lap. It is unclear exactly what happened but Martin ended up spending so much time with Tom – helping him (Really? Ed) – that Bob Fisher was able to catch Martin up and although he finished the Race 14 seconds after him on the water, after the PY handicap was applied Bob’s overall time placed him first. (Well done to both Bob for his perseverance and to Martin for his good intentions. Ed)

And many thanks to the volunteers on the Rib and Commando who were assisting sailors throughout the race and Tom especially on the beat to the finish line, which meant that everybody managed to complete at least one lap.

Here are a few more photos taken during the Race:

The full result of the Race is:

  1. Bob Fisher – 303 Sail Red #10
  2. Martin Norman – Liberty Sail White #23
  3. Ann Frewer – 2.3 Sail Red/White #279
  4. Steve Farmer – 303 Sail Yellow #4
  5. Derek Preston – Liberty Sail Blue #25
  6. Imogen Fletcher – 303 Sail Yellow #6
  7. Tom Phillips – Liberty Sail White #24
  8. Rachel Ibbott and her crew Colin Barnes – Sail Blue #2

A big thank you to all the sailors and volunteers on and off the water and to Angela Cartwright in the Race Hut. Ed.

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