Well, at arrival time there was a light northerly with a huge calm patch under the windward bank. The light part was fortunate because the duty team was also very light - on numbers at least - so Kevin Pearson and I had to rig a mast on a rescue boat and get over to the other side of the reservoir.
Incidentally, a diversion, this is how I rigged the flags mast on one of the orange boats with the committee boat absent. I think we'll have to do this for a few weeks, and this approach seemed OK, so I'l offer it up for consideration. The first thing is the choice of boat - I reckon this job is better done with one of the otherwise reprehensible Whaley boats, because the plastic removable bulkheads provide a good base. Leave one frame in the forwardmost position, and lash the mast base to the central web. Now you want a pair of shrouds and a forestay. There are extraordinarily long lines attached to the mast, so there's plenty of string. I think its a mistake to run the stays from the end of the horizontal arm - better to run them back to the mast and secure them there because with all three running to the same point the mast must be more stable. They can then be run down to the rope handhold, looped round it each side of one of the anchor points, and tied off. I actually ran them up and down a couple of times to use all the rope length up rather than have it lying in the bottom of the boat. The line for the forestay should run down to the bow and be secured, and then run back up to the end of the horizontal arm to stabilise it.
Ok, yes, digression over. So we did all this, wandered out on the water, and decided that a simple rectangular course was going to be best because the wind showed signs of dropping. We also decided to use movable marks at the upwind side tostay clear of the very calm windward bank. At this point the wind dropped almost completely. This was a worry, not just because of the effect on the actual sailing, but also because at least one forecast suggested a westerly, so maybe this heralded a major change. Trouble is its evening, you can't just put up an AP and wait for it to settle, even though (grief is it already?) last night was one of the latest sunsets of the year. So with the clock ticking away we shifted the windward mark a bit to the east and went to set up a start line.
At 20 past there was next to no wind, but what there was looked to be pretty good for beat and startline. Sure enough it didn't last, and the wind went round... On the other hand it came in a bit, and we did get to race in a good Force 1, and sometimes a bit more. Dave Nunn was even seen stretched out on the trapeze of his RS600 from time to time. We delayed a couple of minutes as people were having trouble getting down to the start line, but couldn't really wait for everyone - sorry Maggie! As it worked out the course ended up as one sided beat, deep reach, semi run, semi fetch back to the start, which is not very satisfactory, and apologies for that. On the other hand it was a nice warm evening, pleasant just to be sitting in a boat, so it could have been worse.
Most folks did four laps in around 40-50 minutes racing - it seemed unwise to go on much longer because of the risk of the wind dropping at sunset, although Mike Curtis and Julie Harrison were flying round and we could almost have sent them round for a fifth all by themselves. They had a stunning first lap, and were in the top 3 by the end of it. Also going very well were Ian and Clare in their RS200, and Maggie Futcher seemed to be making up time hand over fist after her late start. Crucial areas in the racing seemed to be (as ever in lighter conditions) the approach to the windward mark, and negotiating various snakes and ladders with gusts and lighter patches on the runs. The semi fetch back to the start also put a considerable premium on getting a clean mark rounding and clean air: being caught on the outside of a bunch of boats at the mark rounding and ending up astern and downwind was an especially unhappy place to be.
So results. Mike and Julie's substantial win came as a suprise to no-one who had paid any attention to their progress on the water. I think Ian and Clare's second may be their best result so far in the 200: its great to see people improving so well. Consequently Gareth Griffiths could do no better than third on what I would have thought ought to have been fairly decent Solo conditions. Mike Storey's 4th in the EPS was a good result for that boat in the conditions (which his Twelve would doubtless have loved) and John Magrath was top Laser at 5th, whilst Maggie's Byte took 6th in spite of starting after the Lasers. The personal handicap results were not unlike the standard handicap, but Roy Poole (Merlin) and Kirstie Johnson (RS200) made it to 5th and 6th.
Supper was chilli and rice prepared by Mike Curtis, with a choice of cheese or sourcream on top and served with garlic bread. Yum.