A satisfactory breeze for the first night of the 2010 Wednesday series, nothing spectacular, but enough to keep moving and racing. A southerly, and moderately shifty...
Graham Potter in the Albacore predictably took an early lead from the slow fleet start, followed by a gaggle of Solos, and Alistair Smith seeming well in touch in his Topper... Alistair was later heard bemoaning that his results over the last year have promoted him to band 3 in the personal handicap - this time last year he was band 5 - until he spotted that the new band puts him level with his father which seemed to be a considerable compensation:-)
Kevin Pearson and Rob Sumner were battling hard from the Laser start, and were overlapped at the end of the first lap. Also making progress was new member Ben Elvin, in a Radial but well up with the pack of full rig boats.
Carl Mayhew and Julie Harrison seemed to be having a bit of a rce of it at the front of the fast fleet.
As the race progressed Tom Wilson broke clear of the rest of the Solos, and looked rather too close to Graham's Albacore for Graham's peace of mind, whilst Kevin Pearson broke away from Rob Sumner and got well into the main group of Solos.
Come the finish there was an interesting subtlety that *everyone* missed. The finish line was set from the race box, and the angle from the last mark was such that technically competitors should have crossed the line with the F mark to starboard, whereas it had been left to port on previous laps. This particularly affected the RS200s, who, having taken the left hand side of the track, put in a quite unnecessary gybe to finish. Fortunately for them it didn't cost any places. The ISAF Case book (http://www.sailing.org/documents/case-book.php) which is well worth reading for examples of some of the trickier things that may come up in the rules, makes it quite clear that if there's any doubt then crossing the line in either direction is acceptable.
Rule 62.1(a), Redress
When a finishing line is laid so nearly in line with the last leg that it cannot be determined which is the correct way to cross it in order to finish according to the definition, a boat may cross the line in either direction and her finish is to be recorded accordingly.
My advice to race officers in this situation is to finish from the committee boat parked up on an appropriate jetty so the line unmistakeably matches previous laps...
Overall, well, Solos and RS200s did well in what was probably their conditions. Carl Mayhew took the win in an RS200, three corrected seconds ahead of Tom Wilson (Solo), Julie Harrison 3rd in an RS200 and Kevin Pearson 4th in his Laser. Paul Playle and Chris Smith (Solos) rounded up the top 6. The same 6, in a slightly varied order, also led the personal handicap results, Tom W getting the win. Full results are here.