Firstly many thanks to Mike Storey for Wednesday evening writeups whilst I was elsewhere. If you enjoyed reading them - and I did - let him know. There's nothing exclusive about writing these reports - anyone can have a go and is welcome to. It would be especially good to hear from those a few decades younger than me...
Anyway, I was feeling kinda crook tonight and didn't go sailing, so this is a bit of a shoreside view. The course was mostly the far side of the lake, so a rather distant shoreside view at that. Come rigging time there was a substantial breeze, gusting into the upper reaches of F5, although it did tend to subside as the evening went on. There were enough shifts and gusts to make things interesting and more too. Also making things interesting was some glitches with rescue boats, and to make things even more complicated a coot has built her "nest" - a somewhat random pile of bits of natural and artificial debris - on the end of the clubhouse T pontoon, right on top of where the rescue boat chain terminates. Mrs Coot is most determined and is sticking to her nest no matter what's going on around her, so please try and have some consideration for the poor bird. We don't want to be called Hullabaloos do we?
Anyway. Course. Encouraged, I imagine, by the generous breeze, the race team set a longish course which was quite ambitious as we are still not far from the equinox and the evenings are not long. Especially with 10/10 cloud. There was a long beat, a shyish reach across the reservoir, a longish run, a second beat, which was up to mark 5, and a fast broad reach back to the start.
Once the team had the requisite number of engines running and staying running they set the racing off only to dicover a distinct lack of working hooters on the Committee Boat (always good to test on shore). Those who watched the flags were able to get a decent time check. There was a reasonable fleet from the first start, with a number of Solos, a Streaker and a damp RS Vision (that wasn't how I would rig one of those...). The Laser start was very quiet, but there was a good tussle for room on the start line with a respectable fleet of faster boats. Interestingly in general the slow fleet went left and the fast fleet went right.
Coming up the second beat the leading Solo (who had better remain anonymous but I bet you can guess!) had what one might call a bit of a mature moment. Nicely set up for his approach to mark 5 he spotted a couple of the asymmetric boats apparently rounding it. Assuming, for whatever reason, that this couldn't possibly be the correct mark, he continued upwind, with, never failing, a number of his colleagues following in his wake like ducklings following their mother. It wasn't for some time that he could clearly read the number on the next mark, at which point he had to gybe back for the correct mark. Unluckily for him his ducklings turned back at the same time, and a considerable reversal of the normal pecking order followed.
So at the end of the first lap the leaders were Mike and Harry Curtis in a Feva, and Kevin Pearson in a boat vaguely approximating to a Laser Radial. These two were well clear of the pack which had Paul Playle as the leading Solo, but Phantoms and EPSs and things in unwelcomely close attendance.
Lap two saw the wind - and the light - continue to diminish, with vaguely ominous grey clouds coming across. It wasn't going to rain today though: they only blocked the sun. By the finish the Phantom had taken the lead, but with the not-quite-a-radial-with-no-sail-number a lot closer than I think he wished.
The Top 6 in the standard handicap were Laser Radial Kevin Pearson, Phantom Richard Barker, Laser Eps Mike Storey, RS Feva XL Mike Curtis, Phantom John Oldham and RS 200 Harry Phelps. In the personal handicap they were RS 200 : Band 3 Harry Phelps, Laser Radial : Band 0 Kevin Pearson, Laser Eps : Band 1 Mike Storey, Blaze : Band 2 Preston Taylor, Phantom : Band 0 Richard Barker, RS 400 : Band 2 Ian Hamilton/Douglas Clow.
Overall results mean nothing at this stage with only one race counting, and I haven't yet combined results for people doing boat swaps, but Harry Phelps Band 3 is looking distinctly generous in the Personal Handicap. Sailing the other way round last year with Liz steering they were definitely band 2.