A lightish wind evening, northerly with a big looking quiet patch at the windward bank. It didin't seem to me to be the shiftiest of winds (apart from at the end (see later)) but it was certainly varying a lot in strength. We decided to set a course a bit down the reservoir using two movable marks, grabbing one of the open meeting inflatables out of store because we wanted a shortish course and to avoid the lull under the windward bank. A quadrilateral seemed most practical bearing in mind the chance of the wind dying and limited time, but we attempted to set the reaches very shy. The movable mark also meant we could tune the run to make it as square as the wind would let us... Was this was a good idea? What did you think folks?
A rather sparse slow fleet start saw Gareth opting for a port flyer and Paul Playle a conventional committee boat start... First blood went to Gareth, who crossed Paul I guess by about a couple of boat lengths, but I'm not at all sure Paul wasn't heading for the better side of the beat... Kevin Pearson was bang on the pin for the Laser start, but on starboard, and that certainly looked like the right choice for how the wind was at the time. At the other end rather more action was going on - John Leheup squeezed John Magrath off on the committee boat, and JM had no choice but to tack off, loop round and be late. But not as late as some [grin]. The fast handicap start was maybe less dynamic, with rather a lot of port bias and some jockying to be on the pin on starboard...
Kevin in the Laser seemed to fly up to the Solos and so on, and also build up a good lead over the other Lasers, but a calm patch and a gust from behind rescued them all again... Compression gusts about a third of the way down the run seemed to be something of a feature of the evening: Kevin might wish to use an alternate word to "feature" as they mostly seemed to have his name on, although I don't think anyone escaped all of them. On this lap Carl Mayhew managed to get well clear of the other RS200s, who were having a ding dong battle.
Lap 2 looked good for Graham Potter's Albacore: by contrast Carl Mayhew had a dreadful run in which he seemed to ne almost stationary for a while. Rob Pettit had caught up well with Kevin Pearson in the Lasers, and they both looked pretty good, but then at the end of the lap Kevin got clear again and managed to build up a bit of a lead (again). The spinnaker boats were all flying kites on the shy reach across the bottom back to the start finish, but on the committee boat we didn't think they were paying: it seemed to us that those - most notably Clare James - who dropped the kite well short of the mark were actually picking up speed as well as enjoying a smoother and more efficient mark rounding.
Lap three: well there was a big park up partway down the run, with most affected to a greater or lesser extent: one exception being Mike Curtis and Julie Harrison in the one 400 out, who found a good way round the calm and gained a lot of time. Interestingly on this lap, Gareth's Solo, which had been overtaken by the first couple of Lasers, found a way back again and even overtook Rob Pettit on the last Lap. That can't have gone down well! Further back the main body of Solos and Lasers seemed to be having a race and a half, overlapped round marks, all that sort of thing. As finishing on that lap would have been before 20:10 for the leaders we sent them all round again: maybe a tad late with the sky so overcast, but it looked like a good race to us and worth continuing. I think the first time for a while that we've got 4 laps in this early in a Wednesday series.
In the last lap folks more or less sorted themselves out, other than right at the finish the wind finally decided to shift round in a big way: Mike, who was leading on the water, still flew the kite on the last leg, Kevin in the Laser found it to be a fetch, and the later finishers found themselves actually having to beat to the finish! On the whole I think the dominating factor in the results was the light patches and holes on the square run. Everyone seemed to get stuck from time to time, but some more than others
Results wise - in the end Mike Curtis got the win from Gareth, with Carl very close in third place and Kevin 4th. Rob Pettit took 5th and Graham Potter 6th. The personal handicap results were substantially similar, but Paul Playle took 5th. Full results here.