At 9 O’clock on Saturday morning the sun was breaking through but we were shy on breeze. By 9:30 there was a small glimmer of hope as the wind decided to come out to play, however, the wind Gods hadn’t read the script and sent it in from the SSW. A quick word to the big fella upstairs and round to the NNE it went, not a lot of it but enough to encourage everyone to launch. Fortunately with a 1200 start we didn’t have long to wait. With an entry of 56, the largest since 2010 there was a mass exodus off the beach.)
18 Youngsters (Under 50)
29 Veterans (50 – 59)
6 Grand Masters
1 Great Grand Masters
11 Entries from Chew, 3 travelled from Scotland a terrific endorsement for the class.
Our Race Officer, John Smalley, set up the standard Triangle, Sausage course, set the line and it was into the sequence. With the wind from the NNE we were treated to some good sized shifts, needless to say, as we waited eagerly on the line (or in my case some way behind it the wind shifted for the start and it was a general recall. The R/O, not a man to waste time, quickly reset the line and was soon back into the sequence, but NO, another swing and another general recall. Another quick reset, flags, hooter, whistles & black flag at the ready we were off. I won’t say it was a flying start as it was only Force 2, with many holes. David Redpath (4572) was on a flyer though and suffered the consequences of his excitement.
Full sails, flat sails, Cunningham on, or was it off? A large variety of settings throughout the fleet. With no planing conditions it was all down to pure skill & experience with no great advantage looking like Twiggy. Dave Mitchell provided this in abundance, taking the 1st bullet of the day. The wiley old Veteran was a happy bunny. Kevan Gibb was 2nd and Andy Davis 3rd. A good start for the Vets. Brenda Hoult made a good showing for the ladies with a 7th, John Webster was 1st Grandmaster with a 14th.
With the wind playing games it was again a line adjustment and the black flag staying out the locker and on the halyard. The gun sounds and this time it’s Paul Playle and Will Loy who were the resulting miscreants. Certainly no Chance of Will hiding in his bright red Thresher! Not much wind and still very shifty, those that chose go left on the second beat suffered badly, it was interesting that the local Chew sailors didn’t really benefit as the NNE’ly wind is a rarity, fortunately. The bullet was taken by Veteran Stuart Hyden (5504), 2nd place was Andy Davis with Pete Mitchell in 3rd. After Race 2 Andy surges into the overall lead, Chris Brown in 2nd with a 4th & 5th. Dave Mitchell holding on to 1st Vets position and John Webster still 1st Grand Master. Brenda Hoult makes another good showing with a 9th.
Being the joker that he is the R/O set up the last race for a windward / leeward confrontation. I wondered if the leaders would notice the change, maybe not, would they leave the way clear for me to sneak round the windward mark and head off downwind while they reached to a non-existent wing mark. NO, they didn’t, oh well next time. Time was getting on and a few hardy souls had a long way to travel, the wind slackened off and with it the enthusiasm of some of the sailors, 11 of whom elected for the early bath, myself among them. The enthusiasm and fitness of youth was now to play a big part and Pete Mitchell was first past the post and with this win took 1st place overall, on countback over Andy Davis, who had finished in 2nd. Oli Wells finished in 3rd place and 3rd overall.
Brenda was among those who had gone in early, so didn’t better her score, still finishing 1st Lady.
Kevan Gibb took 7th place and with that 1st veteran, putting Dave Mitchell down to 2nd overall and Stuart Hyden 3rd overall.
John Webster maintained his position as 1st Grandmaster despite being beaten by Bob Taylor in the last race, the earlier 14th place took it on countback. Leaving Bob as the bridesmaid again. Graham Don was 3rd GM.
Great Grandmaster was taken by Steve Turner competing in his 1st Solo Championships, first of many we hope Steve.
Many thanks to the team on the day, particularly the Race Officer John Smalley and the co-ordinator Helen Martin who has recently taken on the Vice Commodores role.
Here’s the link to the photos on YouTube:
See you at the springs