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Anniversary Handicap May

  • A great turnout of 30 boats on a fairly windy day - not so much wind it put people off but towards the top of many people's comfort zone - in other words a great sailing wind. The wind was North West-ish - the ish was the problem everyone faced. The first leg was a beat from 3 to 9 which with the northwesterly got more and more shifty the closer you got to 9 with the clubhouse and bank giving some very odd wind lanes. Everyone I spoke to (me included) found that beat really hard to read. If anyone got it right every lap I didn't find them.   Over heard in the clubhouse "I couldn't figure it out so I went up the middle and got overtaken by boats going left and boats going right." It was however a leg on which large gains could be made as the shifts and bends were large.


    The fleet should have split into 17 for the 'fast' start and 13 for the 'slow' start which suggests we have the split about right with the lasers in the fast group. Unfortunately despite there being a whiteboard reminder several lasers did not start with the fast group, most realising after a while but I think some not going until the slow start.


    From the fast start the Richard Barker in his Phantom showed the way up the first leg arriving at the windward mark in the lead and ending up second on handicap. After a while the usual suspects in the fast fleet pulled away from the pack, Peter Curtis in the RS300, Richard in the Phantom and Charlotte Savage in an RS200. Meawhile back at the slow end Gareth forged away from the from the start quickly catching the Xenon and the back of the lasers but then got bogged down trying to work through the mid laser fleet, while James Curtis showed that with some wind the Feva is a lot quicker than you might think finishing only one second behind the second Solo.


    We keep debating the relative handicaps of different classes but with the first six boats coming from different classes I think things can't be too far wrong. (RS300, Phantom, Solo, RS200, Feva and Laser). In the personal handicaps though it was more of a laser day with the top three of the top four places going to the lasers of Brian Greenaway(2) , Roger Stafford(3), and John Smith(4) but the winner and star of the day was James in the Feva - fifth overall from band three looks like someone heading for promotion.


    Full results are here. Thanks very much to Gareth Griffiths for this first report, and now a bonus second report from Peter Curtis.


    The May Anniversary series race saw a bumper turnout of boats on a pleasantly breezy typically spring day. Race officer Mike Storey set a longish course for the WNW breeze that was more shifty in reality than it seemed from the shore. With 30 or so boats squeezed into two starts there was a premium on getting into the front rank at the line. Tom and Abi Winskell (RS200) arrived after the 2 minute gun, and without any knowledge of the time chose to sit just underneath your correspondent and trust his positioning. In doing so they gently pushed me over the line and got the perfect start themselves! Charlotte Savage and Mike (RS200), in their first race at IBRSC since the winter series, also got an excellent start, and Graham Potter/Helen Gerald (Albacore) appeared to be bang on the line. Unfortunately he was just a trifle over, and was informed of this half way up the first beat.


    Early front runners up the beat were Charlotte Savage and Richard Barker in his Phantom. Having been able to swiftly return over the line I managed to make up ground in my RS300 and round the first mark third. The course then gave a good spinnaker reach followed by a shortish beat, a long run and fine reach. A good overall workout, albeit with one slightly awkward crossing point. In the slow fleet Gareth Griffiths (Solo) was leading the way, but James Curtis/Harry Phelps (RS Feva) were showing that the practice they had put in over the winter was starting to pay dividends. They finally finished just a second behind the second Solo and beat seven of them on the water despite being 47 points slower on handicap.


    Back in the fast fleet the Phantom and RS300 managed to inch past the RS200 on the second long beat and then started a big battle for the overall lead. The RS300 finally got past on a port/starboard crossing on a beat having tried to go past both to windward and leeward on the reach.


    A slight easing of the wind with a bit of veer to the North seemed to favour the single handers, and certainly allowed me to rapidly build a lead over Richard in the Phantom and Charlotte in the RS200. Having a long course, the race officer was able to shorten a number of the slower boats to two laps just as they were about to be lapped, which showed remarkable judgement on his part (although he might have just got lucky).


    Overall scratch fleet results showed me getting the win, despite taking a lap and a half to get past Richard Barker, who took second. Gareth took third, Charlotte and Mike fourth and James and Harry fifth.


    The two back to back races were also well attended, with the wind slightly stronger if anything. In the first Charlotte again demonstrated excellent starting technique and great upwind speed to be first at the first mark. Gareth obviously had a tremendous start as he was third at the first mark, ahead of Tom and Abi and a number of others who would normally expect not to be behind a Solo. The wind developed a number of holes which certainly affected me after I had managed to get into the lead and had the sensation of everybody rushing up from behind in a big gust two laps running (grumble, grumble). Charlotte took full advantage, with Simon Bean having an excellent race to get second only one second ahead of Tom and Abi, who were only 11s ahead of James and Harry, with Gareth nine seconds further back and me four seconds further adrift. In other words, some really tight racing.


    The third race had a surprise in that I finally had a good start and got to the top mark first, and Tom and Abi were usefully ahead of Charlotte and Mike. She then got another of those big gusts (grumble, grumble) and the two 200s proceeded to have an exciting gybing duel in good wind down the run. Charlotte eventually came out on top and then hunted me down for the next two laps. The 200 was faster on the beat and broad reach and the 300 was faster on the run and the fine reach. Having my hands full with my own race I'm afraid I was a bit preoccupied to see what else was happening on the course, although I did notice that three of us at the front had to do a lap of honour, so we were last to finish!


    Overall a great day's racing. Many thanks to Mike Storey and team for the courses and keeping track of what was happening on a busy race course.