Well, was it last week I wrote about how its been quiet for Wednesdays all year? That was a hostage to fortune wasn't it? Soon after I arrived at the club I saw 27 knots on the anenometer... To be quite honest though it did calm down for the racing, although it was certainly challenging at times. I would say that it was probably F3-4 and some good F5 gusts in the end.
Course wise, well John and I jumped into the RO seat more or less at the last minute, but 5 -> 9 looked like a good fair beat at the time so we stuck that one up on the board. Bearing in mind what it was blowing at the time we didn't want too big an area of lake to patrol, so turn left at the top, a fast reach, a run and a shy reach back to the start seemed like a safe option. The shy reach turned into an interesting leg tactically for the kite boats, since it was not long at all, but you could go very fast indeed and also get blown a long way downhill if you copped a gust at the mark. Shy reach drops are always fun too, especially as it was a port (=wrong) side drop.
The weather was very cloud dominated, with direction changes and gusts under clouds, and rather less wind in between. When we set the line the pin was about two boat lengths to windward of the CB, but it sure wasn't like that at the starts. The Solo/slow boat start featured a battle at the pin end between Messrs Griffiths and Playle, and by the fast start it had gone round enough to make it marginal to cross the line on starboard. Later on it went back again. Getting up the beats was tricky by most accounts, and I heard it said afterwards that both sides of the beat seemed to be wrong. Paul found the better way on the first lap though, and had a handy lead on Gareth. From the Lasers that old fox Kevin Pearson got the best too, and in spite of having the radial rig finished lap one with a good lead over Paul Wright-Anderson.
Mike Curtis was sailing with Harry Phelps in the 400 tonight, and they pulled through fast to be ahead of all the Lasers at the end of Lap one. However the Solos were more trouble to catch, and they didn't get Gareth until lap 4 and Paul until lap 5. On the whole they were OK with the gusts on the shy reach, but somehow Ian and Douglas often copped a big one at the wrong moment and found themselves heading for the bank at high speed. Nastiest gust of the night - at least that I saw - was the one that was seen hitting Kirsty and Phil, leading to very rapid acceleration, a roll to windward and ultimately a hole in Phil's calf. There were surpringly few capsizes though, although nearly embarassing was a second one close to the bank whilst the main safety boat was engaged in ferrying Phil ashore while the crew helped Kirsty sail the boat back. We had a second boat tied to the committee boat but couldn't get the engine started. By the time the boat was ready Kyo had recovered from the capsize and was racing onso that was OK...
Among the Lasers it took Paul until lap three to get ahead of Kevin, and Ian Woods was in reasonable touch. In the fast fleet Preston Taylor seemed to be making reasonable progress in his Blaze, and Clare and Lucy, in spite of being, shall we say, unencumbered by excess righting moment, were going very fast at times, especially on the reaches.
Anyway here are the results. Solo 1:2 again. Its strange though, two or three years ago, no matter what course I set it always seemed to end up an RS200 course, now it always seem to be a Solo course... Paul Playle won, nearly a minute ahead of Gareth Griffiths, with Kevin Pearson (Radial) third, Paul W/A 4th, Mike and Harry 5th and Preston rounding off the top 6. Ian Woods took the win in the personal handicap, followed by Paul and Preston, with Kyo Wong 4th, Clare and Lucy 5th and Ian and Douglas 6th in the second RS400.
Series wise there's little change, with Gareth still leading from Paul and Rob, Kevin 4th and Mike 5th. In the personal handicap Harry still leads.
Finally here's a big thanks to Yin Wong, who, completely unprepared and without any notice of any kind whatsoever, stood up and volunteered to cook us a delicious and very welcome supper which was hot and waiting for us when we'd packed the boats away. Marvellous, thank you again...