The weekend started on Friday afternoon with a couple of early arrivals, wanting to show the hospitality that we can provide at Chew Valley, l forced myself behind the bar and commenced to entertain. My audience was small but we did our best and rolled off to our bunks at midnight.
An early start was on the cards for Saturday, the club gate was opened at 0800 and with the great help from Bristol Water allowing home club members to park on their premises, our car park team of Avon & Somerset Police Sailing Group proceeded to get the competitors parked up. We had permission to allow campervans, but not caravans or tents, disappointing a few competitors, including home club members.
There was a large mix of travellers and with 10 home boats we were able to have 65 boats on the water. With a slightly lower level than normal it was decided to start in Flights. There were 4 groups, purple, green, white and blue. Each to race against the other colours once each day, so 3 races per day.
Race officer, John Smalley, set up the course, and with the wind kindly blowing South by West down the length of the lake, the windward mark was set in the far distance, a spreader mark to keep the fleet apart as they rounded, and two leeward marks to give the choice and avoid the gybe at the bottom of the course.
With everything set, the forecast being 15 -18 kts with an expected increase later in the day, there was no time to lose. White & Green were first off, a clean start and 3 minutes later blue & purple were away. The idea being to avoid large numbers at markroundings and therefore lessening the possibility of damage or injuries. On lap 1, boat 1467( Chris Catt / Ally Martin) was getting away over 831 (Thomas Wright / Lottie Clay) in the first flight were leading and in the Second Flight 962 (Andrew Peters / Jill Peters ) were leading on 634 (Dave Jessop / Renata Sapazinskaite ) However by the end of the race it was 1467 taking the bullet over 1285 (John Teague / Naomi Pound) and the team of Peters maintained their lead but Dave Jessop was overtaken by Eddie Whitehead. Races were scheduled for 35 to 40 Minutes, back to back. R/O John Smalley was quick off the mark with race two, no delays and now it’s white against blue and green against purple. First lap leaders in their respective flights were 1467 Chris Catt over 1311 (Matt Mee / Emma Norris) and 962 (Andrew Peters) over 854 (Andy Shaw / Pippa Horne) at the end of race 2 though it was 1311 taking the bullet from the First flight and 962 maintaining his lead. Another quick turn round and it was green/blue and white/purple. The wind meanwhile had dropped a touch but this was only temporary as a squall came through which flattened a few of the fleet, time for a rest sitting on the hull while it passed, meanwhile the leaders shot into the distance with Matt Mee rounding ahead of 822 (Eddie Whitehead / Toby Lewis) and in the second flight it was 1508 (George Yeoman / Sophie Ormsby) over 1237 (Dicken McClean / Clint Eastwood) at the conclusion it was Matt Mee over Eddie Whitehead and George Yeoman over Chris Catt. So came the end of day 1.
The evening started for the Sailors with the AGM, fortunately l didn’t have to attend that, but ensured all was ready for the Buffet and Band. With the Band set up and the Buffet ready some weary people happily sat down to eat, just as we were finishing the Band started to play, and boy was it loud, l said, boy was it loud! Yes it was, l know l’m getting to be an old fart now but it was deafening, the band was brilliant but in a confined space it was maybe a little much, sorry Jo.
Day two dawned with a few sore heads, mine included, it had been my 60th the day before and l see no reason to grow up now. A nice day with a decent breeze. The race officer was rapidly out the starting blocks but with a general recall, a rejig and a new start it was blue/purple and white/green. After the first lap it was Matt Mee over Eddie Whitehead and George Yeoman over Chris Catt. At the end of the race the positions had reversed in both flights. However Whitehead had a flyer and was OCS gifting second place to George Yeoman. A quick start and we’re off again. The wind had shifted a bit to the west and a rejig made. By the end of lap 1 it was Daniel Lewis over Andrew Peters and Whitehead over Catt. However by the end it’s Peters over Jessop and still Whitehead over Catt. Things are tight at the front of the fleet and race 6 it’s all to play for. Again the R/O gets away a quick start and by the half way mark it’s McClean over Catt and Whitehead over 1276 (Maria Stanley / John Pinner) with the fleet tiring and the end of the weekend coming the finish saw no change in the front of the first fleet but in the second it’s whitehead over Matt Mee.
After a slight confusion over the OCS in race 4, which was easily rectified with the meticulous notes and use of Dictaphones the Final results were.
1st 1311 Matt Mee / Emma Norris
2nd 1467 Chris Catt / Ally Martin
3rd 1462 Andrew Peters / Jill Peters
1st Silver Fleet 667 Sam Thompson / Leanne Hibbard
1st Bronze Fleet 465 Orkun Soyer / Ismail Inan.
A fantastic weekend with a great atmosphere, many thanks to all who took part, see you next year. Photographs available shortly at http://www.pickstocks.co.uk/
Chew Valley Lake SC
All photos Copyright © Mark PIckthall 2013