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27th July Wednesday Evening

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Well, overcast, dull, dropping wind as we got there: it didn't look over promising... Race team set a quadilateral with a good length beat, a broadish reach, a run, and a shy reach back to the start. It wasn't always like that on the water as the wind was anything but steady, but you get the general idea... The breeze perked up a bit once we'd got out there and I guess it was top of Force 1/bottom of Force 2: certainly enough wind to race in without it becoming a lottery.

The wind was swinging a fair bit though: I lined at the pin end just before the Solo warning, and it was very heavily port biased until halfway through my test run when it went square... The slow fleet had a fairly square line with a bit of starboard for their start, the Lasers - lots of Lasers this time - started on a line with massive starboard bias, and the fast boats started on a squarish line. There were shenanigans at the Laser start and even suggestions that one sailor should have sailed a 720 rather than doing a 360 back round the commitee boat to restart, but I guess it was felt that the net effect was much the same and noone felt particularly aggrieved... I managed to be OCS on the fast boat start... realising I was going to be over with about 5 secs to go and no room to do much else I dumped the main in order fall out of the back of the line and go back... then there was one gun on the start... after about 5 secs there was no second gun so I grabbed the main again - and then the second gun went.  Oh well...

The race... Graham Potter led off the slow fleet boats in his Albacore, and seemed to get a good bit of a lead at times. Gareth Griffiths and Paul Playle were never far behind in their Solos, and on the last lap Gareth managed to get ahead... The Lasers were having a good old battle, and at times it felt as if there was a solid wall of them in front of you preventing any chance of clear air. This was especially the case at the windward mark where the port side of the course generally seemed to be favoured at the top of the beat, leaving the choice of no wind because of lasers or no wind and in the wrong direction on the clearer side of the track...

Rob Pettit managed to find a way out of the road block his colleagues were creating, and was first Laser, whilst both Mike Curtis (RS400) and slightly later Carl Mayhew (RS600) managed to get through, Mike taking the lead on the water during the last lap. I guess an idea of the concentration of Lasers is given when you consider that 6 Lasers and three boats fron other classes finished within about two and a half minutes from the second Laser, and in those conditions that was not a huge distance on the water.

So results... Who's suprised to hear there was a Solo 1,2 from Gareth and Paul? Not many I suspect. Mike Curtis 3rd place was pretty good in the circumstances. Rob Pettit took 4th after getting ahead of his colleagues, whilst Paul Wright Anderson took 5th in his Rooster 8.1. The extra sail area hadn't got him through the proper Lasers, but it had got him into them and the 4 minute later start did the rest. Kevin Pearson (Laser) took 6th, the first of the pack...

The Personal handicap went to Tom Swithinbank (RS Feva) , whose normal steady progress probably doesn't get the attention it deserves... Harry Phelps took 2nd in a Feva XL, Paul Playle 3rd, James Curtis, making a rare Wednesday appearance in a club Laser 4th, Uncle Mike C 5th, and Mark Phillip 6th in a Solo.

Series... well Mr Griffiths can, unless I'm mistaken, start clearing a space on the mantlepiece already because unless he has a brainstorm and starts accumulating DNDs or something I very much doubt anyone can catch him. Paul Wright Anderson is well placed for second, but is very catchable. In the personal handicap, in spite of scoring a discard, John Smith has slipped ahead of Ian Hamilton.  I can't remember the last time Ian wasn't leading the personal handicap on Wednesday evening - June 2010 or something... Anyone's game yet - wise not to discount Alistair Smith, who despite plummetiing down the series this week after having to count a DNC still has the best average points of anyone. So who's away when?