Datchet Winter Warm Up Race Report, Sunday 19th Feb….

A brilliant day at Datchet today!!  It was around 5 degrees by mid morning, and amongst intermittent bursts of sunshine we had 12-15 knot breezes with some stonking gusts – fabulous stuff!!

After a sleepy couple of Sundays where snow and ice won over turnouts, we had ten teams racing today – Brett didn’t sign on – tut tut !!!!!!  So a great fleet, and a pretty good course actually.  The wind was smack on to the new jetty and northerly, and they set about as long a beat as they could for that direction.

The start of race one saw us all a bit conservative on the line, I’d say. Ian Linder, this week with Kevin Sweetman, made a corker of a port hand flyer at the pin and popped into a useful lead not to be challenged. Second up were Howard and Richard in 3934 and these two teams finished way ahead (1 minute) of the pack – led by Charles Apthorp and Mark Firth who came in third. The beats were shifty as can be, and got more challenging as the morning progressed (see below!!) , and the reaches were just sparkling, fizzing, rides. Super stuff!!

Race two’s start was an altogether more aggressive occasion – back to our normal fleet standard. Ian and Kevin again did a port pin flyer – this time with just a few feet to spare over The Stensons and Richard/Howard.  The fleet generally went right… going left had served Howard/Richard well in Race one so they set off in about third looking for the wind-curves to ride. Well – ha!!! Ian Linder nipped around first I think, Howard and Richard turned in last !!! So much for that then!!!  The beats aboard our boat were difficult to read, but the reaches a great chance to make places – well, when it all worked!!   Charles/Mark won this one around 7 seconds ahead of Ian/Kevin… pretty close… with Dom and Non-Dom an excellent third.  Hilariously Howard/Richard were all over the place, then shot up the third beat passing John/Helen and Nigel/Stephen in the process – only to pop the kite up and instantly fall over – for reasons unknown… a bit like the reasons for doing so well on beat three….  Anyway, that penultimate reach proved to be a corker. Following on from scooping up 1,000 gallons of water 3934 was a little slow over the surf and John/Helen were taking huge chunks out of them. The last reach was a real thriller and although Charles and Ian were rested up we had great racing down the back of the fleet!!! Spray everywhere and great gusts of breeze falling on us like huge slabs of rock!! Whooshing stuff!!!

Unfortunately one half the fleet (our half) were unaware that the PRO was going to set a third race today and headed for chips.  We were on the new jetty before we clocked that we were missing some fun. Brett joined in, sailing with Mike Clapp, and this one was one by John/Helen over Ian/Kevin by just six seconds – that’s a win by a head basically. The breeze was sparkling by this time and the lasagne was pretty excellent too.

One bit of disappointing news was that we had a spot of theft in February – The Stensons had their top swivel pinched. A pretty pricey bit of kit actually.  It is ages since we had problems like this.  It’s not quite in the same league as stolen trailer ropes is it? Obviously a fellow DWSC sailor helped themselves and not a member of Joe Public on a stealing spree. It leaves you with a queazy feeling, doesn’t it??  Apparently someone had enquired after a new swivel at the Chandlery a couple of weeks ago – hmm…. you’d forgive The Stensons for thinking it might have been him….