As I write, huge great squalls are rushing through the Southeast. Sounds pretty good!! However, at Datchet this morning we had Force 3 gusting 4 which gave us champagne sailing (says the VC – small bubble varieties of champagne in his house, obviously…!!!) and some pretty sparkling, 3 sail, close reaches.
The Club was hosting the Laser 4.7 European Qualifiers, so they had the far end of the lake to themselves and we had the middle. The PRO ran a mixed fleet start for better time management, but it was pretty possible to mow down a Laser in the process!!
Race 1 saw us hammer out of the gate with neither end being especially favoured. Pretty damned shifty though to put it mildly. The sort of day where it is so shifty, you don’t bother to criticise the race team !! I think in general it was a “go right” day though. Mark and Dave Freeman eased themselves away and were never seriously threatened. Behind them though simply tons was going on. Mervyn sailing with Cap’n John, the Admiral with the VC, and Howard/Richard constantly changing places. A right royal battle took place there – the VC, or his elastic anyway, couldn’t take the strain and just when they were being left for dead anyway (!!), Mike and Phil headed for the shore!! Well, well, well…. Mervyn/John and Howard/Richard had a right old tussle though – as we entered the last triangle Mervyn/John nipped around the top mark first. Howard/Richard were a boat length or two astern – then on the nice close reach, “magic hands Shawyer” took over rather dominating that little battle – a little bit of luffing and in a puff of spray, they were gone!! So that one was Mark/David, Howard/Richard, Mervyn/John – and our Council Members ate chips!!!
Race 2 saw some kind of agreement that the pin end had a little edge to it – so we all poured down there, along with the Lasers, Toppers, a Contender and …. well,…. the menagerie people. Bit busy it was. John and Mervyn hit the pin on schedule, Mark and David in close company – Howard and Richard sandwiching a Laser just behind. It was Howard and Richard who broke first and headed right. It really paid too – at the pin there was a handy little lead, ahead of John/Mervyn, Mark/David. There was a tad more pop in the breeze and the reach was pretty good. Shawyer’s hands did God’s work in the accepted manner and John and Mervyn were left tasting spray…. Things were not to last though…… come the second beat, Howard and Richard got entirely the wrong side of a megashift (we had several in the northerly) and tumbled to a poor third. I think momentarily Mark/Dave might have got ahead of John/Mervyn but that wasn’t to last either. As we started the last pair of reaches the breeze was up and all three fair tore down the close reach. Then calamity !!! Mark and Dave ran over their spinnaker – how you do this 3/4 of the way down a close reach, we don’t know!!!! Howard and Richard were really concerned as they sped by into second – ha ha ha ha ha !!!! So that’s the way we were at the finish too. I think Mark and Dave might have retired, but aside from 3888 taking an early non-shower (Club water heater broken!), we all had a great morning’s racing!!