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Penultimate Wednesday Race

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Later report than usual this one: apologies folks, just too tired to write last night or this morning so I'm grabbing a slot at lunchtime. I have to take the blame for the course on this one: because the race officer was going to be late I helped set things up. As usual it looked good when we set it... Come rigging time the sky was pretty ominous with a lot of cumulus about, but a nice, but light breeze, so with it being August and the night closing in I picked out a shortish course, taking a lot of trouble to get beats and runs square. We had an extra mark in the water already so the course was beat, good broad reach, run, shy "too close for spinnakers depending on the wind strength" reach using X as the top wing mark and one of the inflatables as a leeward mark. Honest, it really was... That was then...


Come about quarter past seven the wind came in, and of course it shifted. It came in very thoroughly and very variably f3-5, maybe gusting more and shifting all over the place with very harsh gust onslaught: I can only assume there was some kind of big cumulo-nimbus cell above us, but frankly I was too busy trying to stop the Canoe's bow from exploring the depths to look... My sources tell me that nothing spectacular happened at Queen Mary just a few miles away. Anyway I wasn't the only one: at least one Laser sailor commented that even his boat was attempting to go down the mine*. Quite where the wind had gone round to I really wasn't quite sure: I was having enough trouble hearing sound signals and working out when the start was... A limited slow boat fleet saw Mike and Alex Storey's National leaving: they at least appeared to have the situation under control. Kevin Pearson and Rob Sumner took an early lead amongst the Lasers with the start somewhat complicated by a particularly big gust blowing the committee boat off station! They were back in time for a somewhat straggly fast boat start as those of us who hadn't got the time right realised that we needed to be crossing the line. The late starters were joined by the Storeys, who must have hurtled round the first lap in something well under seven minutes... I really didn't expect to have to unlap myself on a Wednesday night race!


As for race incidents themselves: your correspondent was busily engaged in continual gear changing and attempting to keep the flappy bits upright: I hardly noticed what other folk were doing... I went up the first beat with most of the sail bladed out and only the bottom battens drawing... Others didn't keep the tin above the plastic from time to time, I did notice that much. I also noted that Kevin Pearson was an awful long way in front of me in his Laser, and that Carl Mayhew was easily leading the 200s, and, having started on time, took a bit of catching... The wind had gone round sufficiently that there was a one sided beat, two deep reaches and a semi fetch, which might seem a bit boring, but believe me, for the first three or four laps there was enough entertainment for everyone... On one lap, for instance, I approached the end of the fetch in a big gust and a few boat to lengths to windward of a Laser, who might well have wanted to tack for the mark. He got the unconventional-and-not-in-the-rule-book hail of "please don't tack, I don't know if I can respond!"


After that the wind dropped off considerably, so having spent the first two laps desperately dumping power the last two were spent desperately hunting for it... Isn't it strange how once you've set the boat up for max depower it never seems right when you power it up again, even if all the numbers on the strings look right? Or is it just me? Anyway the initial laps had scattered the fleets comprehensively as you can see from the finish times and especially the number of laps recorded in the results... The Twelve did us all comprehensively: they were about 30 seconds short of having a lower elapsed time than *all* the supposedly faster boats... Kevin was second on the water and on handicap, whilst Carl Mayhew picked up third, Rob Pettit 4th, July Harrison (in an RS200) 5th and your editor 6th with the Canoe. The personal handicap was a bit less close than normal too: Alisdair MacLean won, breaking Ian Hamilton's run of firsts in the Xenon, with the Storey's second, Canoe third, Ian H 4th, Kevin P 5th and Dave Baldwin (Laser) 6th.


Overall... Unless Gareth Griffiths can sail next week and win (and I don't believe he's available) then Carl wins the series as he has one more race win. Similarly Mike Curtis would have to sail next week and win to take second place from Gareth. Mike Storey has now slipped into 4th place, which is absolutely on the edge with Kevin Pearson: I believe whichever one of them beats the other next week takes 4th place, unless Mike is lower than 4th, in which case Kevin takes 4th. However if both of them have down the fleet results and Rob Pettit is in the top two or then he might just be able to grab 4th, but don't take my word for that doing your tactics folks: do the sums for yourself: this is just *my* mental arithmetic...


The Personal series, well its between Ian Hamilton and Alisdair Maclean. I *think* Alisdair can win the series with a win next week if Ian is 3rd or worse, but its very close and average points come well into play. Thereafter a whole bunch of people can do better or worse depending on results...


Anyway, full results here as ever... 


Jim Champ IC257


* Well, he didn't exactly say that: "Go down the mine" is Australian for nosediving come pitchpoling, and is often used amongst the classes with antipodean connections



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