Well, it must be admitted that the weather was pretty disgusting today because of the rain!! It kept the Club very quiet – you could park easily (!) and the Flying Fifteens were about the only fleet out….!! Several Flying Fifteen regulars were probably at the Dinghy Show, but we still had seven boats on the slipway – six raced. As we pushed off, Belgian Champ, Andy Murphy looked slightly relieved I thought to be twiddling with his boat ashore – probably with a flask of tea hidden away!!
Setting the rain aside, along with the “medium risk” snow forecast (!!) the day was pretty good. The breeze started off at 10-12mph Southerly Southerly, and as we set off the Club announced we should be back ashore by 2pm as the forecast was set to be “dire”. They didn’t quite get the timing right 🙂 part way through Race 2 it swung right round to the North – and absolutely honked!!!! We had some simply fabulous sparkling three sail reaches – tremendous fun!
We had Simon Scullion on the Race Team today – and I must say he set a super course for FFs. Simply great reaches…!
In race one, I felt pretty sure we had a good pin end bias, but the fleet eventually came out of the middle of the line. Some good starts actually. Charles, racing with David Rickards today, just made it to to first mark ahead of the pack. First of the bunch to tear down the reach in hot pursuit were Howard and Richard, but in (very) close company with Simon and Ben, John and Helen. In general, newcomers Simon and Ben sailed a really strong day – wearing new Goachers, I noted !!!! They winkled past Howard/Richard on the second beat and look set fair to closely chase Charles and David – Howard and Richard slipping to fourth. Come the last pair of reaches though not much separated all three – and John/Helen were in the mix too. Howard/Richard got up from 4th into second and the chase was on. The finish line had a killer slant, and very, very narrowly Charles/David were pursued over by Howard/Richard, … then very , very closely by Simon/Ben and John/Helen in that order.
The breeze felt like it had a bit more depth in it as we jostled for the second race. We came more off the committee boat end this time – Howard and Richard broke away early and a the top mark again, not much separated the fleet. Simon and Ben were having a seriously good go at Charles and David. The order eventually settled as Charles/David, John/Helen, Howard/Richard and Simon/Ben – all pretty close. By the sausage, the run had turned into a great reach, getting ever closer, darker, gusts more vicious …. great !!! Then we suddenly noticed Charles and David going for the drop to more or less beat up to the leeward mark. A simply gigantic swing set in – 160-180 degrees probably. He who nipped around that next mark quickly would benefit massively. The next reach, (originally the beat) was a complete blast !! Huge great slabs of breeze were sweeping Datchet Water. Charles’ boat took off like a scalded cat while the rest of us were now beating to the “lee mark”. Charles popped that kite up, stayed bolt upright – unlike the rest of us – and just went for it!! Humbling or what !!!
It became a slightly survival gig for a while – and totally terrific! We finished as Charles/David, John/Helen, Howard/Richard – then a big gap to the rest of the fleet.
So a gloomy day became a great day !! Mervyn had a potential new fleet member with him today – Keith Tippell. Keith is an Etchells sailor of 8 years, and looking to try Flying Fifteens – a fantastic day for a first taste of FF’s….
Next weekend is the Datchet Spring Open Meeting racing for the Mercedes Benz Trophy – don’t forget and “See You There!!”