Race Report : Sunday 21 May 2017
Published 09:46 on 22 May 2017
A promising forecast, a good fleet, and a full race team, what could possibly go wrong?
The race had loose bungs, dirty bottoms, sore heads and wilful spinnakers to make life interesting.
The wind settled to a good 8 to 12 knots from the SSE just as the countdown for the Squib fleet started, excellent starts from Steve Warren-Smith and Aquabat and Scott Holdstock in Jess left the younger Warren-Smith (Fred) struggling from the beginning, his normally acute competitive edge dulled by a late night, and an early morning start, and a headache to remind him of both.
Next off were the fast handicaps, all were outshone by a beautifully restored International 14 sailed in an equally polished way by the Evans team. Gregor Arthur looked determined, the RS400 under him looked strangely squat in the water.
Finally away were the slow handicaps, and made the best display of starting of all the fleets. Noah, Iona and Freya, and Finn on the line at the gun and away sharply.
The drama was beginning to unfold in the Squib fleet as Martin Harrison played the shifts and popped up to 1st place, and the Gibson brothers recovered well from their poor start, putting in a hairy (due mostly to Ben) downwind leg to claim 3rd . Warren Smith the elder (the one without the hangover) coming in second. It was David Longford's dirty bottom that then got the fleets attention, and all the blame for his poor speed and early retirement – consoled by an early Southern and lemonade. This made way for Alice, loosely helmed by Rob Fraser and crewed by a perplexed James Humphries. The spinnaker was the main cause of confusion, being out of the boat almost as much as it was in. It was a relief to see them finish intact.
The RS400s produced a tight finish, Chris Andrews and The Commodore just pipped to the line by Neil Griffiths and Mark Turner, whilst Gregor and Graham's early low feeling, turned into a full on sinking feeling as they realised the hull was filling increasingly fast due to a misplaced bung. The race for shore was started and lost but a RIB ensured the boat was not.
What about the lasers? A great early battle with close racing, then a tactical error by Charlie White, and a broken tiller extension on Paddy Lord's left Harry White with the line honours.
The slow handicap finished within 4 minutes of each other, whether due to good racing, or polite sociability we are not sure – however Noah took the line honours, and then ensured that his fellow competitors were safely finished before all headed for home.
Our thanks to Howard Knowles, Mark Irons, Fred Dartigues and John Littleton for expertly manning the RIBs and providing the race box crew with plenty of opportunity to compare RIB driving styles with national and regional stereotypes.
Principal Race Officer
Last updated 10:21 on 11 January 2018