It was a dreich day, as they say in the Highlands of Scotland, when the first flurry of volunteers arrived to get everything ready for the day. Mist covered the north Downs and mizzle threatened. The session manager made his decisions on how many of each class of dinghy should be rigged and launched and the volunteers set to work. Soon a smaller than usual number of dinghies were ready so the volunteers could catch their beath and have a cuppa and biscuit whilst listening to the safety and day’s briefing.

Despite this relatively unappealing view of the lake and nearly zero wind, 11 WS Racers arived around 1000 to 1030 at Chipstead for a day of fun and to consolidate their positions in the Summer Series in the race starting at 1100.

After three re-starts due to our wish to accomodate as many Racers as possible, the fleet eventually gathered in the middle of the lake ready to start. The start/finish line was between the Buoy K and an Outer Distance Marker. And this line also had to be crossed by the racers on every lap. The course was a beat/reach to the windward Mark, Buoy A, which was left to starboard and then two down wind legs. Firstly from A to C which was also left to starboard as the fleet gybed to start the next leg from C to D, the leeward mark.

The pukka 3 minute Gong sounded at 1108 and the fleet moved away serenely at 1111. (Auspicious for some. Ed). The video of the start (below this paragraph) shows three boats right on the northern end of the start line but nearly stationery – Kelly Tripp and James Thomas in 303 Red #5; Mark Rainbow in Liberty Yellow #22; and Kim Sparkes in 303 White #8. Then 25 metres back from the line were Imogen Fletcher and her crew Paul Chilvers in 303 Yellow #3 towards the north of the line and Peter Wagner in Liberty White #23 in the middle of the line together with Steve Farmer in 303 White #7. Then 50 metres from the southern end of the start line (and sailing away from the line) was Derek Preston in Liberty White #24, Chris Green and his crew Jof Buttery in 303 Yellow #4, Tom Phillips in 303 Red #10 and some distance further back at the south of the line, Danny Wilson in Liberty Blue 25.

The video goes on to show the various routes that the helms steered to get to the windward mark. Initially it appeared that Peter Wagner had stolen a march on the whole fleet but ….he turned his boat around and decided to restart the race (but by then he was in the midst of the fleet and trailing Derek). This manoeuvre left the way clear for Kelly, Mark and Kim to take the lead, sailing on starbord tack. Chris was independently sailing above the fleet on port tack and Derek (now he had decided to point in the right direction) seemed to be picking up good breeze on port tack just behind the leading trio. But then Mark noticed this nice breeze and tacked right in front of Derek with Peter Wagner trying to catch them both up on the same tack. Mark led the fleet across the lake, followed by Derek, Kim and Kelly. Derek decided to tack first and now on starboard forced Kim to sail around his stern whilst Mark tacked a few seconds later. Derek’s angle on what was now looking to be better wind helped him to take the lead from Mark and round Bouy A just ahead of Mark. (The video is too big to be uploaded to the website. If it can be reduced in size it will be posted. Ed)

The wind was blowing between 7 and 9 knots which was enough to keep everybody moving but, as always is the case at Chipstead, it blew from different directions and gusts appeared from even more unexpected directions. This made for some close racing with Mark nearly overhauling Derek immediately on the leg from Buoy A to C and was then snapping at Derek’s transom all the way from C to D. Kim and Peter were 50/100 metres behind at the start of that leg but had caught up significantly when one looks at the four of them starting the beat on their way up from D to A to complete the first lap. This close racing went on down through the fleet and that can be seen in the photos below.

Danny Wilson in his much larger Liberty managed to beat Ann Frewer in her 2.3 Red/White sailed #279 quite handsomely on the water but by just 10 seconds a lap after the handicapping was applied. But Danny was asked to sail 3 laps and would have done so if he had not been told by an unnamed competitor that the “race had finished”. Then he sailed back to the pontoon only to be told that he was still racing! (Some things folk will do to get an edge! But his total race time was calculated on his first 2 laps so he was not disdavataged. Ed). But it is by the slimest of margins that places are won or lost and Ann Frewer beat Imogen Fletcher by just 1.3 seconds over two laps!!

Our winner came in well ahead of his main challenger today and seemed to take every opportnity to explain how he achieved his success….even over a final cuppa and the vanquished had nodded off!

Result for Race 10 of Summer Series is:

  1. Derek Preston – Liberty Sail White #24
  2. Mark Rainbow – Liberty Sail Yellow #22
  3. Kim Sparkes – 303 Sail White #8
  4. Peter Wagner – Liberty Sail White #23
  5. Kelly Tripp and her crew James Thomas – 303 Sail Red #5
  6. Danny Wilson – Liberty Sail Blue #25
  7. Ann Frewer – 2.3S Sail Red/White #279
  8. Imogen Fletcher and her crew Paul Chilvers – 303 Sail Yellow #3
  9. Chris Green and his crew Jof Buttery – 303 Sail Yellow #4
  10. Steve Farmer – 303 Sail White #7
  11. Tom Phillips – 303 Sail Red #10

Well done to all the racers and thanks to the volunteers who crewed and helped on the foreshore, the pontoons, the safety boats and in the galley. Until next week’s race – only 3 more to go before the Summer Series ends.

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