First: remember, no Wednesday race next week (and no series sailing this weekend either). Access to the club is going to be very problematic because of the Olympic cycle events. Access to home and work will be a pain in the neck too. Here are some references. http://www.gosurrey.info/olympic-road-cycling/ and http://www.kingston.gov.uk/olympic_events_kingston.htm.
Anyway this week. Well, summer turned up again, hot and sunny, and even a certain amount of wind. The wind was northerly at rigging time, so we all ran down to the other side of the lake for a planned P course. When we got there, well, a race officer's nightmare. The engine wasn't starting on the committee boat, so difficult to move, and the wind went round 45 degrees. Making the best of the situation the team set a triangular course based on where everyone was.
Coming off a reasonably true startline on starboard I was pleased to be lifted. I shouldn't have been. This wasn't a shift, instead it was a permanent wind change, round another 45 degrees or so. Those from the first start who'd spotted it was a permanent change and had taken the pain and tacked off early did pretty well. Those who were waiting for a shift back saw Lasers climbing way up to windward, and by the time the fast boats started they were pretty much fetching the "windward" mark. The wind then elected to settle there, turning the course into fetch, shy kite reach, long fairly shy kite reach. Ouch.
Truth is, although such courses make it difficult to overtake within classes they provide plenty of scope for racing against the clock against the handicap, but even so a lap consisting of a bear away, a gybe and then a tack does lack excitement. Some excitement comes from radically different speed boats meeting of course. You may have heard the phrase "gentleman pass to leeward", which suggests that people in fast boats with large sails should overtake people in slower boats with small sails to leeward. By the time the third RS200 elected to pass close to windward of me I was a bit bored, and decided to invoke the spirit of Voltaire: "Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres". I guess I've never quite got over sailing with Stuart Costigan for a few years. The sacrificial victim found themselves sailing towards Imber Court …
Before the race Kevin Pearson was seen rigging a borrowed Phantom. "Hmm, Light airs, light crew weight, large sail area, very competent helm: well, that's first place sorted out" I thought, and so it proved.
Thereafter, unsurprisingly, its was a bit of an RS parade, with Mike Curtis/Julie Harrison (RS400) second, interrupted by Gareth "Cross when you can" Griffiths' Solo (and never was the advice in Sunday's Solo notes truer) then Clare James/Lucy Gibson and Ian Cleaver/Claire Overstall in 200s and Ian Hamilton/Douglas Clow in their 400 rounding out the top 6.
The personal handicap went to Ian and Claire again. I think realistically there are now only the slightest of mathematical chances of overtaking them for first place in the series. Kevin P was second in the Phantom, followed by a (different) procession of RS boats, Nick Marley, Clare James, Ian Hamilton, Kirstie Johnson.
So series wise. Its unfortunate that the cycling has interrupted the series, and at this stage Championships and family holidays also interfere. I fear Richard Barker's late run has come too late as I don't think he can race again. I think Mike Storey has a chance if he can do both remaining races in the 12, but thereafter I suspect it would take something like a DNF or DSQ to damage Gareth's average points enough for him to be caught. The series usually goes to the person with most race wins, and Gareth has four, both Mike and Sophie and Richard Barker three and Kevin Pearson two. Second place in the series is wide open. The lower podium places in the Personal Handicap series are also wide open.
Lastly, remember, no racing next week.