A Datchet Blast – Racing on Sunday 30th December ….!!

Did you miss today??  Cracking racing we had…!!

Half a dozen fifteens turned up the day before New Year’s Eve in an otherwise pretty empty Club!!  We had 18-32mph showing on the wind indicator – it was very breezy as we rigged, then dropped a tad for launching then pepped up again – perfect really!!

Race Officer, Julien Shawyer (winner of the FF Richard Hughes Regatta 2009!) set a cracking course using the full size of the reservoir – beats the full length of the reservoir and the laying of the reaches was just superbly judged ….and the run was dead true.

The fleet got out of the square line in prompt order for race one. The committee boat end seemed pretty popular but first to leap up the beat were Steve and Simon off the pin end.  They just squeezed ahead at the top mark from Mark and Toby, Howard and Richard, Ian and James – and I think Andrew and Tom were right in there too.  Well, we all hoisted and shot off down that reach in great clouds of spray – fabulous, it was!  At the wing mark, Steve and Simon had spinnaker problems in the gybe, letting through the gang led by Mark and Toby.  Well, that next reach left us all pretty speechless and seemed unending!!  Hugely fast, with a big gap opening up between the front two and the rest.  At the start of the second beat, Mark and Toby broke something vital and popped ashore for a cuppa. (They are not shown in the results -…..”did you sign on?!!” – ha ha ha ha !!!!!!)    The Linders went left and Howard and Richard up the middle.  It was one of those days where left or right seemed to pay but the middle was bad!!  Ian and James built out a super lead….

Up the next beat, Howard and Richard’s rig tension let go, popping a shroud pin and brought them to a halt for a minute or so sorting that out (nice weather for it!) – and allowing the fleet to catch right up!!!  However, positions held with Ian and James miles ahead, then Howard and Richard and Mervyn and Mike chomping at their transom in third.

Pretty exhilarating, exhausting stuff – so then we had another one!!!   Again Steve and Simon played a belter off the pin and picked a lovely arc of wind up the first leg.  I think Andrew and Tom rounded second, then Howard/Richard, Ian/James.  Once more the reaching leg was a corker with plenty of high speed action  – Steve/Simon scooted round the wing mark just ahead….. and immediately got snarled again!! Ho ho !!! Heaven help us if that boat ever gets sorted !!!….. ha ha ha ha !! (Simon was very unhappy – let me tell you!!)  Ian and James grabbed a late overlap on Howard and Richard and basically the three boats tumbled round the wing mark in close proximity.   At this point, I think Ian and James promptly broached in a gust letting Howard/Richard scream through to the front. What a reach that was!!  Anyway the top 3 built out a lead of Howard/Richard, Ian/James, Mervyn/Mike (going very quickly upwind I thought – get some beef on the rail in those conditions and it really helps!!!)  Ian and James grabbed the lead and we did hurtle round the top mark – going down the run Ian and James went left… however, windex-less Howard/Richard went right and blasted into great slabs of breeze –  building a decisive and exciting/exhausting lead causing them to miss the “Shorten” signal and go for the drop at the bottom – Argghhhh!!   Ian and James doing about double speed closed in really fast in the push for the line….  But at the last minute a gust hit in and saved the day’s bacon – Howard/Richard took it under two sails by just a few seconds and for a moment it looked like Ian/James were going to roll it on the line!!  Mervyn and Mike brought up third again!!

Full results are posted – click the “Last Sunday Results” button to the right of this page.


Postscript – In a decade or so, I’ve only ever known Howard switch on the spinnaker sheet ratchets twice… And today was the second time! Says it all about those three sail reaches!!

More days like that would do….