Saturday May 6th and dinghy sailors begin to gather in the compound in anticipation of a breezy and bouncy weekend regatta. With the first race scheduled to start at 11am the mixed handicap fleet of Flying Fifteens, Lasers and a Streaker, along with some of the clubs younger members in Toppers and Optimists, set about launching. Edward and Olivia made it to end of the outer piers before both deciding the wind and waves were too much for their Opi’s and sensibly turned back to the shelter of the harbour for a play in calmer conditions. Well done for trying!
Out on the course most of the fleet was set for the first start, except for 2 Flying fifteens. Hard luck the countdown began without them and the first race was underway. The Lasers and Streaker were bunched up together for most of the first lap with Micky Early managing to keep his Laser just in front. The second lap Micky was able to pick up his pace and break away from the Streaker of Peter Kitchen. Vital if he was to stand a chance of beating the slightly slower boat on handicap. Phillip Hope and Geoff Baxter also in Lasers were in a similar position battling to break free from Peter. A capsize from Phil wasn’t going to aid his efforts. Micky took line honours and had just enough in front of Peter to take first place by 16 seconds.
The Flying Fifteens had made it out and joined in race 1 to register a result. In the stiff breezy and choppy conditions the Laser sailors had found it hard work and knew it wasn’t going to get any easier to be competitive against the keel boats. Out of the 2 Toppers Georgina had decided enough was enough and headed back to the safety of land whilst Henry decided to give race 2 a go after sailing the wrong way in race 1.
Race 2 saw the Lasers battling together through the first lap knowing that they also had to stay in touch with the lead Flying Fifteen of Ray Coates and Gary Cooper. With a triangle/sausage course there was always the possibility of a Laser capsize on the downwind leg in the gusty and wavy conditions. The first victim was Geoff who had battled hard to round the windward mark alongside Micky. This gave Micky a bit of breathing room, but not for long as Phil was hot on his heels. On the final run to the leeward mark Ray and Gary had a good lead and rounded on to the final beat with ease to be first boat across the line. Gary could be seen looking at his watch knowing it was going to be close with Micky who was now half way down the final run. Then potential disaster, a death role for Micky, swiftly followed by a very quick recovery and back on course to get to the finish line as quick as possible. It was tight but Micky had just done it again, this time by only 7 seconds! Phil was not far behind but unfortunately Geoff’s capsize cost him some time.
Going into the final race of the day and this time Henry had decided that was enough for him and sailed his Topper home. Seeing that everyone was looking a bit windswept and a bit wet and generally pretty shattered the race officers put a shorter race time on the board, much to everyone’s delight. Ray and Gary got away to a very quick start and immediately set about putting some water between them and the rest of the fleet. Once again Phil was piling the pressure on Micky and decided to take a different tack up the beat. Micky tacked to cover. Positions did not really change and the Fifteen was able to take advantage of the shorter race and get far enough ahead to take the win by 36 seconds from Micky.
A great days racing with some close competition and mental arithmetic happening on the water. Well done to the youngsters who came down and made sensible decisions on when it was too much for them.
Day 2, the crowd gather in the compound and there was some hesitation on rigging. Although the sea had flattened off over night, the breeze had increased and was forecast to build. After some chit chat the sailors decided not to go out. So all 3 of Saturday’s races were to count and Micky was crowned regatta winner on 4 points, ahead of Ray & Gary and Phil each on 9 points, with the Flying Fifteen taking 2nd place on count back.
Thanks go to Charles, Ged, the 2 Ian’s, Peter and Alan for volunteering to run the 2 days racing and man the safety boat.