One of the things that makes our sport a lifetime activity, and not something that is all too easy to get bored with after a year or three, is its variety. And of course the weather and its variability is a big part of that.No two legs of the race course are ever quite the same simply because the wind is different every time. And sometimes you get what we call real champagne sailing, with bright sunshine, good breeze, everything sparkling. On the other hand every now and then you get what one could only call stale-flat-beer-of-a-kind-Eddie-would-never-let-near-his-bar sailing. It all helps you appreciate the good times even more.
So, as you might have guessed by now, last night failed to sparkle. If you could ignore the insidious faint drizzle and the glowering gray cloud cover then there did appear to be about enough of a breeze to start a race, and a race duly started. There were a few people in different boats... Paul Playle was desperate to get some sailing hours on his new Solo before it goes away to Salcombe, so as he was on duty entrusted her to Paul Nunn for her first race start, having missed the start on Sunday, which was launching day. Carl Mayhew was sailing with son Jamie in an RS200, so that was both of the regular 600s out of action. Course was a quadrilateral - in fact pretty much rectangular, which was intended to be beat, beam reach, run, beam reach.
The wind had dropped some by the start sequences, and the Solos were, I reckon, barely halfway up the beat by the time the fast class started 6 minutes later. The wind had been dropping, and continued to do so, so progress wasn't easy... The first bunch round the mark got clear of the rest, but the reach, which had broadened, was nothing put painful. Round the next mark the intended run was probably another beam reach, but it was dropping all the time. This leg was enlivened by a practical demonstration of some of the subtleties of naval architecture. The average dinghy has a fine bow and a broad stern, the stern providing much of the stability. If, for example, you send your crew to the bow to sort out a spinnaker snag, and then go forward yourself to assist then all the part of the boat that gives stability is out of the water, and the boat is liable to fall over. This demonstration of the fundamentals of naval architecture applies just as throughly to multiple Wednesday evening series winners as it does to the rawest beginner, and this was very adequately demonstrated.
The last leg turned out to be a beat of sorts, and a decision to terminate the race at the end of it was very welcome... Results here. With a light turnout and several of the leading parties missing I don't know that this one will have a major impact on the series. Dave Nunn took Paul's Solo to a win in its first race, which wasn't a huge suprise in the conditions. Paul Wright-Anderson's second in the Roostered Laser was very good in the dropping wind from the last start and helps him in the series, athough he really needs wins to catch Gareth... Graham Potter took 3rd in the Albacore, Tom Howard 4th, using a full rig Laser, Rob Pettit (Laser) 5th and Clare James and Lucy Gibson 6th as the best RS200. The conditions meant that handicaps were't making that much difference, and the places in the personal handicap were almost identical, except that Ian Hamilton took 5th and Rob Pettit dropped out of the top 6.