Spring Series Race 5 & 6 24th April - Patrick Palmer
Published 15:56 on 28 Apr 2022
Race Officer: Barry Peters/Debs Waters/Rod Winrow/Sarah Gee
Patrol Boat: Elizabeth Matthews/Tom Seaman
Tractor: Jerry Robinson
N/E f3-5 gusty/variable
Amazing to think that there had been some "shall we, shan't we?" mutterings on shore before what turned out to be a good day's racing in fairly exciting conditions there were certainly some very powerful gusts. Although in some minds there was no doubt that they would race, and how right they were
We had a committee boat start, which was nice, and Race Officer Barry set a not too long upwind/downwind course having to contend with a quite shifting wind which saw some 'big gains and losses' (© Cliche Department, WSC Editorial) and included some live-action-buoy-moving whilst we were underway certainly I was considering a very strong protest to the race committee when we finished the first windward leg to see one of the leeward gate marks being moved, when I realised that I couldn't even work out whether it was to my disadvantage, let alone could be arsed, as if it mattered, and anyway who am I to question the machinations of such as Barry and Rod, who know virtually everything.
The monos started after the cats, leading to a start line that was a little less cluttered although it was hardly a massive fleet, 8 D18s, 2 h/c cats, 2 monos. In fact they must have felt a little lonely, Noah/Josh, and James/Ewan in Feva/Topaz respectively, having to hang around whilst their multi-hull chums clattered away up the beat. James had to deliver Ewan unto the shore early doors so didn't get a result in r1, and then didn't have a clean/proper start for r2 which in any case saw a few on-shore adjustments midway through, but credit to James for seeing it out, and not going over, whilst at least Noah/Josh got a result for the first one if not r2.
Bob, Sprint15 (as the Dart 15 is now called, or always was called) was up against the Topaz CX16 (snappily named) which was person'd by the two towering edifices of Phil & Charlie Guimaraens, who barely had to lean-out even in the very strongest gusts. Bob, lithe creature that he is, could have done with a Charlie or Phil to keep him upright, capsizing on the start-line as he did. Very easy to do in these extreme unpredictable conditions and if anything it shows how hard he was trying no I'll go further and suggest that by not capsizing the other boats (those that didn't, ahem) were guilty of lack of effort as well as being morally deficient
Sprint beat the Topaz in the second race..
The D18's had quite a good battle with some eye-popping moments for your author and his last-minute pier-head jumping crew, Chris Burke. I do try to avoid too much personal-account stuff in these little reports, honestly, but the word 'incredulous' was invented for our state of mind on rounding mk1 after the first beat, when we'd taken the inshore route. Not only were we first by a long way, but whilst we zipped to first mark, all the other cats seemed to be performing some sort of elegant 'Ladies-Excuse-me' out to sea, or perhaps conducting a fleet review under the gaze of some imaginary reviewing luminary, perhaps Grand Admiral Turpitz, or Nelson himself? Who can tell but they certainly took their time getting to the mark. I was pretty convinced that we'd made some sort of blunder, hence our bafflement when we saw the gate mark being moved; but no, for once we'd actually gone the right way. Naturally, the dice fell quite differently later in the race with Caleb/Chloe (1st) and them Rawlings'ses (Tom/Colin) overhauling us on lap3 (although the latter came up with some unconvincing "loose forestay" nonsense which along with some '30° windshift' piffle, apparently was sufficient excuse to allow Chris and I to return to take 2nd place pushing them back to 3rd).
The second race started with a repeat of the first the inshore route was easily faster than going out to sea, at least for the first couple of laps and again the lead boat was Chris & I and again Caleb/Chloe hauled us back, not quite so easily as previously (well, everything is relative) after a couple of laps. Tom & Colin missed the start, having had to go back in between the races to empty the ashtrays, and so with C&C out of sight in the lead, the following d18 (Chris/Me) confidently approached the gate for the final time contemplating the rosy glow of a good day's racing (good? Astonishing more like) only for a terrific gust to nose-dive us into a capsizethe horror! Anyway, those cheeky buggers Martin Chapman/Simon Ash, and Gilbert (s/h) nipped past and finished in that order.
Jamie/Luca besmirched their good early season form with some indifferent results, Matt Cooper couldn't follow up his good first race result in the second, and it was nice to see Dan & Max England out in r1.
No report for the Easter series due to operational issues which saw Caleb/Chloe, Paul Craft, and James Jolly/Josh Rawlings triumph in the three fleets; whilst on foreign shores (well, the Wirral) Rob/Fi won the Dee Sailing Club D18 Open.
We have another bank holiday this weekend and another mini-series. Let's see a good turnout how many boats are in the compound if only a third went out we'd have great fleets etc etc ad nauseum.