FF Race review “Winter Regatta” Sunday 21st December 2014
For the 3rd Sunday in a row Queen Mother Reservoir was a choppy wash. With a steady 20 knot wind and predicted 30 knot gusts the winter regatta promised to be an entertaining affair.
However a pleasant sight did greet everyone, in addition to the wind we had also had an early Xmas present from Thames Water with increased levels back in the reservoir, making the Fifteen’s slipway easier and a little less crowded than previous weeks.
With Mike Clapp as Race official the courses promised to be interesting and a trapezoid and P course were set for race one and two with a first past the post finish.
A single start was set so although the FF’s had got their slipway back they had to share the start line.
Richard and Howard in 4011 followed by Roger and Richard in 3642 put off on a starboard beat to the windward mark. Mervyn and Trevor in 3536 preferring a port and then starboard beat to the windward mark
The course then bore off towards two jybe marks with a broad reach to the leeward mark. After the first mark Mervyn and Trevor had nudged ahead of Richard and Howard. Roger and Richard slipped slightly off the pace after a good start due to some close racing with the lasers and asymmetric around the first mark!
Richard and Howard then unfortunately managed to broach on the second gybe mark before quickly recovering and getting back into the race.
The course then passed back through the gate at the committee boat before heading back up to the windward mark.
By this time the wind was approaching it strongest and all the boats battled hard on the beat up to the mark on the subsequent laps.
Mervyn and Trevor took the class win ahead of Richard and Howard who recovered well after their dip.
The course was reset for the second race with the second jybe mark being moved in to set more of a P course.
The race started unfortunately for Mervyn and Trevor as Trevor was caught with the boom and took quite a knock. Although no damage was sustained “to Trevor” Mervyn considering the conditions put in denying them the chance of a coveted overall race victory.
The Cat had also put in leaving 10 boats with 12 hardy sailors left out. After a slight calm in the wind just at the end of the first race it picked back up to peak during the second.
A single start was again set with all boats on a beat up to the windward mark. Roger and Richard now had the strange experience of only having one FF in front of them. By now the gusts had really climbed making the beat to the first mark quite difficult with all the boats healing constantly and crews and helms alike pulling hard to flatten the boats.
Both fifteens now made for starboard tack off to the windward mark. Richard and Howard forged ahead of a more tactically aware Roger and Richard who avoided any congestion at the mark.
A fantastic reach to the second gybe mark now saw Richard and Howard pull ahead. The wind was now taking its toll on the lasers who were been picked off one by one but it was a brave effort on their part considering the conditions.
Howard and Richard finished a fantastic second in the race and 3rd overall on the day. Roger and Richard also finishing both races.
Race results can be viewed at
The event was followed up by the Christmas lunch which was welcomingly received by those who had been out on the water and all others that attended.
Next up is the Bottle race Boxing Day, start of the winter series on Sunday 28th and the Pink Elephant race on New Year’s Day.