Sunday’s racing started with seven Flying 15 hitting the start line with 12 knots of wind from the north. The first race saw many position changes up the first leg, with 4027 leading a closely bunched fleet around the top mark. More close racing ensured but 4027 covered the fleet and went on to win, followed by 3563 and then 3341.
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.
With four Datchet boats competing at the Hayling Bulwark, our numbers were down today – four teams on the slip….. in bright sunshine and a force 3 – lovely !!!
There was a bit of a pin end bias on the line, and Howard/Richard popped out of the line of the gun down there. No matter though – the beats were so shifty that Mark and Toby made the top mark first, followed closely by Howard/Richard, then Matt and Andrew. It was all pretty close, with Matt/Andrew closing in on the other two all the time.
Matt and Andrew tended to favour the left side of the beats, and Mark/Toby the right. Come the final beat, Howard/Richard went up the middle and nabbed the top mark first. The top reach was pretty tight for spinnakering – 4011 made it a two sail reach for the most of it and pulled away slightly from the other two. At the gun, it was pretty close but Howard/Richard got it from Mark/Toby then Matt and Andrew.
Race two saw a bit more breeze and Matt/Andrew did a pin end flyer and just crossed ahead of Howard/Richard and Mark/Toby. However, by the pin it was Howard/Richard out front by quite a handsome margin and were never really challenged. On the final leg, Mark/Toby fell into the doldrums and finished a full two minutes behind Howard and Richard.
It was ALL in the beats!!
Have you noticed, our Fleet has two boats in the Top 13….!!
Really rather a beautiful day – 8 teams on the slip this morning!! Very light breezes but racing was pretty tense, nonetheless!! Turned out to get more stunning as the day wore on, with 20 degrees showing on the car thermometer going home!
Plus… we had Vice Commodore Tinsley with us. Privilege or what !??!! You’d think a long break would have eroded his skills, but it didn’t show – see race one!
We got away pretty promptly for race one – hmmmm, it turned out that “some of us” did not know it was starboard handed course and went for the wrong mark!! First around the wrong mark sailing very quickly, were Dominic and David, with Howard and Richard in hot pursuit a boat length or two behind – once the mistake was realised they rounded the correct mark 7th and 8th !!!! First around the correct mark and in the lead were Ian and James Linder. They were strongly challenged by Mike Firth and VC Tinsley, who I think maybe took the lead on the second beat – Mike doing his light breeze, “Foxy Firth” thing !!
While those two were tussling it out, Mervyn sailed up into third, and ended up in a right old gybing duel with Howard and Richard who had made their way up from 8th. In the final lap, the Linders popped in ahead of Firth/Tinsley (who later retired to drink tea and talk about old times!). Poor Fleet Captain Mervyn, sailing with Sophie Singleton, got sliced out of third just near the end on a couple of gybes by Howard and Richard. Dominic and David were next in.
Race two was becalmed flat at the start and an altogether tense affair. Howard and Richard thought they might cross the line on Monday, while the rest of you bright things sailed off (relatively!!). Ian and James going right took to the front, and Mervyn/Sophie sailed blindingly well to round second. I think Mervyn and Sophie might have wrestled the lead in this race at some point, but coming up the second beat, with the shortened signal given, most of the fleet went right – into the flat bits. Howard and Richard went left and really, really thought they had it in the bag !! Not to be – after a great beat, straight into a hole they went about 5 boat lengths from the mark, just to watch Mervyn/Sophie, Ian/James waft by and around the top mark and get clean away!! Well, they were well gone, and those at the top mark completely stationary – needing some unseen tiller waggling (that’s everyone, you understand!) to get around…. Mervyn was about a quarter of a mile away but now also in flat calm. Yes – you guessed …. Ian and James secured the lead, and rounded just ahead at the last mark. Mervyn, ever patient, now found himself with Howard/Richard chomping right at his transom. For the last dogleg to the finish, the big question was to drop kites or not… Howard dropped, Sophie flew hers around on the inside berth. It wasn’t really a very kind day for Mervyn and Sophie….!! Howard and Richard inched away and pipped them narrowly right on the line for second place!!! Pleasantries and best wishes were exchanged !!!!
Numbers were depleted due to the Inlands – two teams there, minimum. The weather at Datchet though was sparkling!! Champagne sailing!!!
We had five boats on the slip including Hugh McNulty sailing in the Loan Boat… Race one got away smartly… Mark and Toby just shot away and were never seen again!! First by miles!! Second Howard and Richard, third Dom and David. Gaps all big, but nice sailing anyway !!
The breeze started to build for race two – and that was a sparkler!! We had long fizzing planing reaches in this race – totally super, it was. The fleet was much closer together this time – Howard and Richard leading out of the gate at the pin….Splitting tacks up the first beat, Dominic and David led the way at the top mark, followed by Howard and Richard , Trevor and Mike in third. This race managed to get pretty close on a number of occasions. On the final beat Howard and Richard nipped past Dominic and David – and then started a great spinnaker chase in some pretty interesting gusts. At the line though, Howard and Richard took it by around 20 seconds, Dominic and David second, Trevor and Mike third.
Match racing at Datchet
Bank holiday and light airs brought the smallest possible turnout for a race, with the big news being the arrival of a new face Hugo MacNulty and 2 long lost friends – Andrew Fairley and Andrew Lawson. Roger rigged his boat as well (for the first time this year). Mervyn and Hugo benefitted from going out early to practice because everybody else was put off by the dropping wind and only the Andrews launched (after the first race had started) resulting in a straightforward 1-2. The second race was far more fun with 2 boats starting at the same time! The wind bend up near the wall was instrumental in allowing Mervyn and Hugo to build a bit of a lead at the first mark but the Andrews clawed most of this back on the second beat and the boats were close for the rest of the race with Mervyn and Hugo just getting the gun.
It’s great to know that there will be 3 additional boats starting at Datchet over the next few months (with Hugo planning to take up one of the loan boats) and Roger’s return (well almost) to the water.
I’m off to Chew next week but hope to see you the week after
Today was the last Sunday of the 8 race Winter Warm Up Event. We had 9 boats enter the event, of which 6 took to racing today.
Gosh it was chilly !!!! We had a 10-12mph North Easterly (rare) but brought a heck of a windchill with it. It was dry though with just a few snow flurries to cheer us along. I can’t actually write much about the first race, as Howard was “slightly late out of changing room” – ha ha ha ha !!!! …..putting paid to our chances of winning the event! So we started about 2 minutes late and ran hard to catch up….. I have a feeling that across the line first were UK National Champions, Simon Kneller and Dave Lucas. They may have been denied a win for all sorts of rule reasons, and John and Helen are awarded first in this race.
Race two was excellent as we were given first in the sequence!! Stephen and Nigel just disappeared into the distance in this one – a superb show. John and Helen were second, and Howard/Richard third. Simon and Dave retired when in fourth – a new mast was causing challenges!!
So overall, the Regatta went to John and Helen. Howard and Richard were second, Charles and David were third.
To see the full results click here
Afterwards, Nigel King ( www.nigelkingyachting.com ) ran a superb FF workshop on the new Racing Rules. Learned a lot there !! Plus it was a great way to warm up…..
The fleet was greeted this morning by…. FOG!! Blimey, it was only tuesday that I had to shovel my drive clear of snow, then Friday was 12 degrees – and now this!!
So we hung out for around two hours waiting for the breeze, and finally a super little 12mph worth set in with bright sunshine. It turned into a brilliant sail!!
Much talk during the postponement of Midnight Rog’s new personal handicap system for Flying Fifteens. Currently top of the seeding table, ranked I think by “most improved rating”, are Trevor and Mike!! See the Club Noticeboard for details and full results.
The racing turned out to be really really close. Race one got out of the gate at the pin end which John and Helen making a very nice go of it. The beat didn’t seem especially favoured one side or the other though there were plenty of shifts. This race turned out to be a squeakily close set of shaves between John/Helen, and Howard/Richard. Generally John and Helen stayed ahead, often by a couple of feet, then half way up the second beat they crossed behind Howard/Richard, then next tack they were ahead again. It continued in this sort of fashion until the last wing mark. There was a wee bit of traffic and a gust, and Howard with his favourite big white spinnaker blasted through. It was exceptionally close up that final reach, edging higher and higher, but in the end Howard and Richard got the gun.
For race two, the fleet again went for the pin end. This time, with nice upwind speed it was Howard and Richard at the top mark from John and Helen, with Trevor and Mike in third. The gap was more comfortable this time, and traffic issues aside, Howard and Richard stayed just out of reach all the way to the gun.
By the time we came ashore, it was a fine sunny afternoon. We are six races done on the series of 8 now and things are starting to take shape. Click here for the results to date.