Really quite a good day at Datchet!! Dry, ten degrees, and 7-8mph Northerly. We had 8 boats on the slip this morning despite a couple of obvious absentees.
Vice Commodore Tinsley put in an appearance (hurrah!!) for a stunning first race, where from the race results it looks like they forgot to sign on (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !!!) As they are both Council members you can bet they beat the office staff mercilessly until they are reinstated !!! …. They retired to the bar after race one though for Phil to see to his tea addiction! Pity.
The Commodore was hosting the Dart Inlands, so the fee paying members were crammed on to a tiny course at the north end of the lake. In the very shifty breeze, the PRO laid a reasonable course geometry but its minuscule size meant we finished race one by 11.10hrs – half an hour’s racing. Suggestions to the race team from the FFs that we sail 2 extra laps were politely declined, but for the second race the fleet decided to do 5 anyway – just so that we spent more time actually racing than getting the boats out and putting them away.
Race one nipped out of the rather short gate with just enough breeze to hang out. It got a bit busy down at the pin – FC Hanson made a good one, Mervyn I think missed the pin (hee hee!!) and the Humes shot out of the middle – all looking rather good I thought. However, on stage right Mike “The Wisp” Firth, sailing with VC Tinsley quietly sniffed those shifts and went right. Did it pay or what !!! Anyway, great shift picking and rather polished looking spinnaker handling put them into a really good lead. Behind them though we were changing places at a huge rate. Last time at the windward mark, Howard and Richard plopped themselves in Mervyn’s water (sorry – it sounds just horrible… I mean “tacked in his water”, but it’s not a lot better, is it? ….) and a bit of a penalty was to be had. Howard was great on the last two reaches and pulled some of the mess back. Mark Firth, second of the dynasty, did not seem to get a result…. Over the line maybe? You know how aggressive he can be. Anyway, Firth senior with P Tinsley took it by half a minute – John and Helen did a really great job coming in second.
For race two the fleet declared UDI and went for 5 laps. Just to make it feel like we’d been sailing. The fleet was smack on the line more or less in a neat line astern, Howard and Richard in the control position. They tacked right early to emulate Ol’ Wispy and wow, it worked again. The windward mark was actually a pain to get round from any angle (shifts), but no matter how wobbly it got over at the wall, seven times out of eight today it seemed to pay. Unbelievable frankly, but Howard and Richard nipped around the top mark first and never seriously looked back. Well… it was quite hard to see what was going on at that distance!!! Each time we got the telescope out though there looked to be a close old battle going for second, third and fourth. Eventually emerging from the melee came the Linders in pretty hot pursuit. However, Howard and Richard still had half a minute in the bag by the end, Ian and James next, then John and Helen ahead of Dominic and David.
Everyone agreed it was a pretty good morning…. we got our timing right as the breeze promptly died as we came ashore. DON’T FORGET everyone, next week is Sunday 13th Cup!!!!!!
The question on everyone’s lips today??? “Where are the Stensons?”