Race Report – Easter Sunday !!

There was a great weather forecast – strong breezes!!… but that was for Monday ¬† ūüė¶

Instead at Datchet we had a nice gentle westerly probably around 6-10mph – but cracking good racing! ¬†Ten flying fifteens on the slip, including John Watson’s fabulous woody. Brett decided to “do” wheel bearings, so that was him out of play. A net nine boats faced some pretty serious racing.

The PRO had set a handy sized course, using the bulk of the lake. The wing mark wasn’t well placed, but we still knew we’d been out for a good sail. ¬†After one false start from the committee boat, the FF’s went out of the gate on the third sequence. ¬†Race one kicked off with the bulk of the fleet fancying the pin end very strongly. Steve and Simon executed a very good pin end flyer and pretty much crossed the whole fleet on port. The rest of us charged out of the bottom half of the line – all with a bit of an urge to go right. Did it occur to you that Mark and MattFirth ought have the family name “Walker” as between them they weigh the same as a box of crisps…. anyway, they steamed away up the left and had fabulous boat speed in the light airs. Carved out a huge lead which they held till the finish. There was stacks going on behind them though. The battle for 2nd and 3rd was a constant tussle between The Admiral and the VC, and Howard and Richard. I can’t count the number of times places were changed – then John and Helen went sharply right on the second beat and leapt straight from fourth into second. John says it was their “DFL Strategy”…. ¬†when asked , the ‘L’ stands for last, and you can work the rest out yourself!! ¬†Anyway, John and Helen consolidated that, but the battle for third was just superb. At the last wing mark, Mike and Phil rounded third, with Howard and Richard really hard on their heels – and it was a fine spinnaker reach to the finish. Generous blasts of air were sweeping across the reach and 3934 was inching up to windward – there was nothing in it and only a few feet abeam. Then one super little puff, a tweak and a pull aboard 3934 and Howard/Richard were through into third – in the nick of time too – just five seconds in it at the finish line….

For race two, there was quite a bit going on at the start. I think maybe the Millars had been over, but in the results John/Helen were given OCS. (might be wrong!) Bit of aggressive push-over was at the heart of that – tut tut!!! ¬†The PRO had announced for two laps only, so we were off. Blow me down, Mike and Phil ran a superb first beat and slipped around in the lead. ¬†Plenty of chasers though including John/Helen and Howard/Richard. These three boats pulled away from the pack and I must say that Mike/Phil were sailing really well given that Phil was still rumbling about the Boat Race fiasco on Saturday. The beats were quite tricky and once again there was a fair bit of shift picking place changing going on. It seemed that the right hand side was the way to go, but it seemed awfully hard when you got over there. Anyway, popping up the last beat, Howard/Richard picked the inside of the curve and found themselves just ahead of John/Helen and Mike/Phil. ¬†It was really horribly, nail bitingly close though. Super aggressive John, pushed Richard and Howard up the left of the leg – leaving Mike/Phil to choose their own course. Very dangerous stuff!!! ¬†Maybe there was more breeze out left though, and Mike/Phil slipped back a bit – seemed to be an awful lot of noise coming from the boat – not about the rowing umpire I don’t think. The odd double gybe seemed to feature in there somewhere. Phil just doesn’t realise how hard it is at the back of the boat – said Mike in the bar afterwards!!

Anyway, John/Helen set about closing that gap. It was a tense leg the full length of the lake.  Both teams ended up way to the left of the mark, and suddenly Howard called the gybe, slung in another quickie at the mark Рand they were gone for first. (Nothing tough about double gybes, Phil!!?!)  There was about 8 seconds in it, but John/Helen had to face an OCS ruling Рboo!!  So Mike/Phil came in second after all, the Wrights came third and the Millars fourth.

Hot stuff…. and Great boat-on-boat Racing.


Race Report – Sunday 25th March……

Super Duper Day today. Bright blue skies, warm and even some breeze!!  It might have been due to the start of daylight saving, but the Club was incredibly quiet. Not end of term, is it?

Firstly, just to let you know that Mike Firth and I have both had unwanted visitors in our boats during last week. Nothing taken it seems, but in both cases the covers left off and Mike’s mainsail had blown out in the breeze. It’s not obvious what was being sought, but my kicker had been tampered with for some reason. ¬†Even if it was a flying fifteen fanatic wanting to compare fit-out, it was incredibly rude not to leave the boats in perfect condition as they were found. So keep your eyes peeled…..

Now to the racing ! ¬†The PRO set enormous courses the length of the lake – sensibly shortened to two rounds in each race. ¬†It was good though! ¬†Race one had an incredibly biased line and Cap’n Hanson made a good job of squeezing out the Humes and Howard/Richard at the Committee boat!! ¬†We nipped quite smartly up the beat – Simon and Ben who started down the line a way, sailed straight up and really did rather well out of it. ¬†The reaches needed lots of skill from the bowman and John/Helen, Dominic/David, Howard/Richard took off for the wing mark at times dead equal. Dom and Non-Dom took the outside of the curve and it worked really well – and they sneaked out into the lead. ¬†There was a fair bit of scrapping going on behind, but at the finish it was the Humes wot got it, from Howard and Richard, and then pretty close battle between John/Helen and Simon/Ben – which I think resolved in favour of John and Helen.

Race two – well, there might have been a bit more breeze for this. ¬†The pin had become very favoured and Steve and Simon did a corker of a pin end flyer, crossing I think the entire fleet. ¬†They had a wee incident with a 505 later in the race which probably did it for them…..!! ¬†The right hand side was generally favoured, but it wasn’t an open and shut case. John and Helen sailed really well up the second beat and wriggled free of Howard/Richard. ¬†The Humes had a right royal tussle with Steve and Simon – I don’t honestly know which way that one went – we’ll have to await the Club Results service…..Simon and Ben were next in.

For those of you who stayed in bed, we missed you all !!!!

Race Report – Mothering Sunday, March 18th ….!!

Blue sky’s 5 to 9 mph winds and 6 flying fifteens due to mothering Sunday.

To all the Flying Fifteen fleet that had to cook Sunday lunch for mothering Sunday you missed a lovely day on the water.  Six boats turned up today and all seemed to have smiles on their faces. (Hume’s PRO today)

Race one was a starboard handed Olympic course,  with a square line the fleet lined up on starboard and all were bang on the line except the Millars who had their watch set 5 seconds early and had to go back and try again.  The wind looked like the right would pay and most of the fleet peeled off to head for the breeze line.  Mike Firth and John Hanson headed left through the Cat open meeting fleet start line!!  Stupid or brave I am not sure but it paid off and John & Helen lead round the 1st mark followed by Mike & Phil, Mervyn and James, Mark Firth and Simon & Ben next going very quickly just finding the holes up the beat.

The fleet opened out as the wind moved 40 degrees and back however John and Helen kept their cool to finish 1st Mark Firth Second and I think Mike Firth 3rd.

Second race started with a big wind shift which made it a fetch to the 1st mark. John and Helen and the Millars had a great start, and Simon 3904 lost his outhaul so had to stop and re rig the main!! (Thanks guys!).  The best start of the race went to Mervyn who reported being on the line at speed when the gun went, however it took them 20 seconds to realise they had started on the wrong side of the committee boat!!  Whoops!!!

The race due to the wind shift was follow the leader.  John and Helen got the 1st mark first and so took the win Mark Firth 2nd   Simon & Ben 3rd   Millars 4th Mervyn and James 5th

See you all next week

Datchet Winter Warm Up Race Report, Sunday 19th Feb….

A brilliant day at Datchet today!!  It was around 5 degrees by mid morning, and amongst intermittent bursts of sunshine we had 12-15 knot breezes with some stonking gusts Рfabulous stuff!!

After a sleepy couple of Sundays where snow and ice won over turnouts, we had ten teams racing today – Brett didn’t sign on – tut tut !!!!!! ¬†So a great fleet, and a pretty good course actually. ¬†The wind was smack on to the new jetty and northerly, and they set about as long a beat as they could for that direction.

The start of race one saw us all a bit conservative on the line, I’d say. Ian Linder, this week with Kevin Sweetman, made a corker of a port hand flyer at the pin and popped into a useful lead not to be challenged. Second up were Howard and Richard in 3934 and these two teams finished way ahead (1 minute) of the pack – led by Charles Apthorp and Mark Firth who came in third. The beats were shifty as can be, and got more challenging as the morning progressed (see below!!) , and the reaches were just sparkling, fizzing, rides. Super stuff!!

Race two’s start was an altogether more aggressive occasion – back to our normal fleet standard. Ian and Kevin again did a port pin flyer – this time with just a few feet to spare over The Stensons and Richard/Howard. ¬†The fleet generally went right… going left had served Howard/Richard well in Race one so they set off in about third looking for the wind-curves to ride. Well – ha!!! Ian Linder nipped around first I think, Howard and Richard turned in last !!! So much for that then!!! ¬†The beats aboard our boat were difficult to read, but the reaches a great chance to make places – well, when it all worked!! ¬† Charles/Mark won this one around 7 seconds ahead of Ian/Kevin… pretty close… with Dom and Non-Dom an excellent third. ¬†Hilariously Howard/Richard were all over the place, then shot up the third beat passing John/Helen and Nigel/Stephen in the process – only to pop the kite up and instantly fall over – for reasons unknown… a bit like the reasons for doing so well on beat three…. ¬†Anyway, that penultimate reach proved to be a corker. Following on from scooping up 1,000 gallons of water 3934 was a little slow over the surf and John/Helen were taking huge chunks out of them. The last reach was a real thriller and although Charles and Ian were rested up we had great racing down the back of the fleet!!! Spray everywhere and great gusts of breeze falling on us like huge slabs of rock!! Whooshing stuff!!!

Unfortunately one half the fleet (our half) were unaware that the PRO was going to set a third race today and headed for chips. ¬†We were on the new jetty before we clocked that we were missing some fun. Brett joined in, sailing with Mike Clapp, and this one was one by John/Helen over Ian/Kevin by just six seconds – that’s a win by a head basically. The breeze was sparkling by this time and the lasagne was pretty excellent too.

One bit of disappointing news was that we had a spot of theft in February – The Stensons had their top swivel pinched. A pretty pricey bit of kit actually. ¬†It is ages since we had problems like this. ¬†It’s not quite in the same league as stolen trailer ropes is it? Obviously a fellow DWSC sailor helped themselves and not a member of Joe Public on a stealing spree. It leaves you with a queazy feeling, doesn’t it?? ¬†Apparently someone had enquired after a new swivel at the Chandlery a couple of weeks ago – hmm…. you’d forgive The Stensons for thinking it might have been him….

Race Report – Sunday 15th January … Brilliant Sailing !!!

What a smashing day’s racing we just had. ¬†Seven teams turned up, stunning blue skies, 10mph of breeze gently increasing – and water up to the brim!!

I suppose we had a concern that it might have been cold, but on our boat at least we were absolutely roasting … H was threatening to strip off!! (a layer)… As soon as you got in the sun it was frankly magic.

Dom and Non-Dom took their boat back down to the parking Рnot sure why, but I can say that the other six teams had a treat of a day.  For once, the PRO managed to lay a splendid course Рthe beat was about as long as you could get for an Easterly. And the wing mark was set at right angles and we even had moments of three sail planing today Рwhite, white spray Рhow brilliant is that!!

The line though had a pretty stiff bias at the committee boat end. In race one, Mervyn and James did an excellent job (!) of stuffing Howard and Richard out of the box. ¬†Like the Forsyte’s, this becoming a long running saga between them stretching over many years…!! ¬†Ian and James Linder got away nice and cleanly – while Mervyn and James tacked off for breeze in the middle, The Linders found a nice curve, with many of the fleet up to the left. ¬†3851 rounded first and it was all the rest could do to keep up. ¬†Howard and Richard of course were last out of the gate…. so had a whole heap to do. They rounded about fourth, and managed to roll Mervyn/James on leg 2 and then Steve/Simon on leg 3. So at the line, it was easily The Linders, followed by Howard/Richard (celebrating their first result with 120 years in the boat – crikey !!), then I think Steve and Simon racing excellently today. ¬†After this we had a pretty close result between Mervyn/James and The Stensons and very closely followed by Simon and Ben sailing 3904 for their second weekend – keeping up scarily well considering they have just started. I ¬†understand Mervyn/James and The Stensons had a wee altercation causing Mervyn to declare a graceful retirement in the bar!! So all the results click up a notch in the final listings.

So race two kicked off with the same skewed line. This time, 120 years of experience decided they would do a timed run from the wall. ¬†Result ? Hopeless – last over the line again, and leaving it all to do “again”. However, there was another lovely curve in the breeze again going left. The Linders maybe did not reach the top mark first, because right up there sailing superbly, in command driving position, were Simon and Ben in 3904. ¬†Ian/James popped round just behind them, then Mervyn/James. ¬†Howard and Richard just squeezed inside The Stensons at the turn and off we all went. ¬†The Mervyn/James and Howard/Richard Show was a rerun of race one – a bit of ultra aggressive luffing (really, these Merlin Rocket people don’t half go at it..!!), but Magic-Hands Shawyer pulled 3934 through to windward and it was over – Howard/Richard slipped into third.

I think it was half way up beat two, when there was a bloody loud “bang”. ¬†“Ooohh Nooo” we thought. Simon and Ben, in their brand new pride and joy, managed to get a port-starboard T-bone with a University Laser 2. Off to Doctor Dingwall immediately. ¬†I think Ian and James had already grabbed the lead by this time, but ever grateful to Laser 2 sailors, Howard and Richard nipped up into second. The last reach to the finish was a bute, too. ¬†Howard eventually called for the drop as it was all a bit much (120 years etc!!) but Mervyn/James and The Stensons (very close I think) scorched all the way down there with 3 sails up.

The breeze had pepped up a lot – the Club fielded about 24 various boats in addition to the Fifteens, and there were 35 teams in RS Fevas also slugging it out on the reservoir. A stunning spectacle, all round…. If you stayed under the duvet, you missed a treat !! ¬†See you next week !

Race Report – Sunday 20th November…

The Race Report today is…. Fogged Off !!!

Yes – we had a big blanket of the white misty stuff this morning – couldn’t see the water from the Clubhouse! ¬†The bar seemed pretty packed – mostly with the jovial FF Fleet!! ¬†We would have had a big turnout today….So there was mush joshing and competitive tea drinking – 3 mugs for me!! ¬†Outside it was pretty ghastly…

We were all anxious to try our new jetty mooring arrangements – have you taken look at them – the far end is now anchored and the old “L” section is now ashore. ¬†I don’t know where this leaves us launching into a North Easterly come to think of it – popping around the end there was very useful. Maybe we just do the same and not fall off…… Of our 300 pontoon cubes, 150 are punctured in some way and the Club is looking at renewal now. Not bad wear and tear really – for two decades….

Chairman of the Handicap and Seeding Committee, Bob Millar, ¬†convened a meeting about our personal handicaps pending the prize giving. The assembled view was that as Mark and Tony weren’t there buying tea, they would be PY’d at about 885. And even then they might win….!!

VC (Sailing) Tinsley rearranged the noticeboard (new start sequence coming – the Lasers and general menagerie fleets are being combined and given start number one. We stay as start two, I think), and then select students went upstairs to learn about sail measuring – the tutorial given by VC Tinsley.

Mervyn had a genoa he wanted measured in by the fleet measurer. So we assembled our knowledge and old wives tales about sail design and went and had a look. Very interesting actually…..

Racing was finally abandoned by the fleet at around 1115hrs.