BRAVO to the WS Trustees who decided that the weather forecast: “Wind gusts of 35 knots at 0800 and 14 knots at 1100” would be accurate. The result was the fastest race of the season with the first two boats completing 6 laps in less than 6 minutes per lap. The early wind was strong but it was the gusts that would be the main threats to dinghies on the water. Which meant that the ten intrepid sailors who came to race were slightly held up getting on the water but they eventually did after the Session and Safety Managers had asked John Masters to go out and sample the conditions around the proposed race course (B -C-D- K) and then gave the All Clear at 10.40. It was great to welcome Samuel Cargill Thompson and his mum Rachel to our throng. Sam is a youngster who was keen to get on the water, despite the blowy conditions, since the Tuesday session had been cancelled due to awful weather. Peter Moore crewed for Samuel in his WS Racing debut.

Below can be seen John’s “test sail” with the safety rib watching and a shot of an ugly gust racing across the surface of the lake. The recent heavy rains had resulted in the lake’s water level being the highest it had been since the new pontoon was installed in 2019 and it could not be used today. So getting everybody on and off the water took a little longer than usual and required careful management by the Pontoon Manager and volunteers ashore to keep everyone safe.

Pontoon out of use

The fleet responded to a call at 1120 from the Race Hut to get ready and a group of helms could be seen positioning themselves to hit the start line (between the Race Hut and Buoy K) on starboard tack , at speed and just as the Start Gong sounded. (They must have been reading Bruce’s Starting Tips! Ed) The video of the Start starts a few seconds late and therefore we can have no record of which helm was first to the line 🙁 (The Racing Director – aka Chief Dogsbody – needs to grow some more arms so he can simultaneously “Start the race, give the All Clear AND make a video from before the start”! Ed)

The race was fast and furious with good sailing by Martin Norman (Liberty Sail White #23) who got to the windward mark first (Even after having to make two unnecessary tacks – clearly he hadn’t read that particular Tip from Bruce! Ed) and built his lead around the second mark Buoy C and downwind to the leeward mark, Buoy D. But Derek Preston (Liberty Sail White #24) was following and managed to pass Martin on the second lap…and then he never looked back, gradually building this lead to 2 1/2 minutes by the time he finished his sixth lap in 35 minutes.

Immediately behind the leaders was Kim Sparkes (303 Sail Blue #11) and Peter Wagner (Liberty Sail Blue #25) who were both watching and waiting to pounce if Martin or Derek made a mistake. After a slower start than in his recent races, Peter managed to overhaul Kim on the second lap and finished well ahead of her on the water after 5 laps. But after applying the PY handicap (1550 for Liberty vs 1630 for 303) Peter’s lead was just 15 seconds! (Living dangerously Peter! Ed). Imogen Fletcher (303 Sail Red #5), Steve Farmer (303 Sail Yellow #4) and Bob Fisher (303 Sail Ble #9) were close together as they approached the windward mark (Buoy B) but Steve and Bob were overtaken on lap 2 by our debutant Samuel Cargill Thompson (303 Sail Red #10) but Steve fought back on lap 3 to head Samuel on the water by 2 seconds a lap but after applying the PY handicap for the fact that Samuel was carrying additional (and substantial. Ed) weight in the form of his crew (1630 vs 1660), Samuel pipped Steve by 4 seconds a lap (Good to see that a decade of sailing is nearly worth something! Ed). Our recent arrival to the WS Racing community, Danny Wilson (Liberty Sail Yellow #22) had a difficult time getting to grips with his dinghy in the conditions and fought hard to recover from an horrendous 5 1/2 minute disdvantage to the first boat (Martin Norman) by the end of lap 1 to finish 8th. Overall a BRILLIANT day was had by all the racers. Here are a few photos of the runners and riders:

Result for Race 12 of Summer Series is:

  1. Derek Preston – Liberty Sail White #24
  2. Martin Norman – Liberty Sail White #23
  3. Peter Wagner – Liberty Sail Blue #25
  4. Kim Sparkes – 303 Sail Blue #11
  5. Imogen Fletcher and her crew Helen Fairfax – 303 Sail Red #5
  6. Samuel and his crew Peter Moore – 303 Sail Red #10
  7. Steve Farmer – 303 Sail Yellow #4
  8. Daniel Wilson – Liberty Sail Yellow #22
  9. Bob Fisher – 303 Sail Blue #9
  10. Tom Phillips – 303 Sail White #7 RTD
  11. Ann Frewer – 2.3S Sail Orange/White #279 RTD

Many thanks to all the volunteers who crewed and helped ashore to enable the Race to take place and to everybody else associated with WS. It is sad to think that the season only has one more week to go before the winter break. (Agh! Ed)

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